NOAA launches ‘atmospheric river’ project in San Francisco Bay area
Atmospheric rivers are a double-edged sword for California. Just a few atmospheric river events can deliver half of a year’s precipitation, which can be a relief for anxious water managers in a drought-prone region. But that much water, when it arrives like a firehose from the sky, can cause flooding that endangers lives and property.
Starting this summer, NOAA and the Sonoma County Water Agency will kick off a four-year, $19-million project to build a new regional radar and advanced rainfall forecast system. Once in place it will give water agencies in the nine-county San Francisco Bay area better warning about potential flooding and water quality impacts from heavy rainfall events.
“Because of the terrain in this area, precipitation often forms in very low levels of the atmosphere, below the level at which existing NEXRAD Doppler radar can see it well,” said scientist Rob Cifelli, NOAA’s project lead. “Our goal is not just predicting how much water will be falling, it’s also forecasting what happens when that water hits the ground and runs off into the bay.”
321 East Porterville Households Now Connected To Reliable Water Supply
From the Department of Water Resources:
One year after a new distribution system began delivering safe drinking water to families in the drought-stricken community of East Porterville, 321 homes are now receiving water from the system and an additional 446 homes are expected to be connected by the end of 2017.
“This project has been a huge success,” said Steve Doe, Department of Water Resources (DWR) project manager. “We’re pleased to see that by the end of the year, more than 750 families will have a permanent solution to the local water crisis. A lot of people have worked hard and quickly to make this project happen. We thank the residents for participating, the local agencies and non-profits for their on-the-ground guidance, and our State partners for their leadership and involvement.”
Tomas Garcia’s family started enjoying running water again in April, three years after their home lost it. “My time for hauling water is over,” Garcia said. “It’s a 100-percent relief for me and my family, and our lives are so much better. We still have to save water, so we don’t water our grass every day.”
Three State agencies – the Department of Water Resources (DWR), State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services – partnered with the City of Porterville, other Tulare County agencies, and local non-government organizations to deliver a permanent solution to the water woes of East Porterville, where many wells had gone dry or become contaminated as a result of the historic drought from 2012 to 2016. The new water system, which connected unincorporated East Porterville with the City of Porterville’s water supply, relieves the southern San Joaquin Valley community of its dependency on bottled water and emergency water storage tanks, which many families had relied upon for years. Water connections were provided to residents free of charge, paid for by the State.
Arthur Hinojosa, DWR’s drought manager, noted that although California’s emergency drought declaration was officially lifted in April, drought impacts continue in several counties. Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s proclamation retained prohibitions on the wasteful use of water and advanced measures to make water conservation an ongoing success.
“California’s heavy precipitation last winter and spring took the spotlight off projects like East Porterville that were designed to end a real crisis,” Hinojosa said. “The project continues and so does the importance of water conservation.”
Californians are proving their acceptance of water conservation as a California way of life. The SWRCB reported earlier this month that urban Californians reduced their water use by 17.4 percent in June 2017 compared to June 2013 – a reduction of 113,759 acre-feet or 37.1 billion gallons.
To learn ways to conserve, visit Save Our Water.
Sign up for daily emails and get all the Notebook’s aggregated and original water news content delivered to your email box by 9AM. Breaking news alerts, too. Sign me up!
About News Worth Noting: News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations. News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms. If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.