By Emma Bailey
editor's note: Chronicles of the Hydraulic Brotherhood is now accepting articles from anyone with something important to say about California Water issues.
On November 8, 2014, Lake Oroville, the second largest man-made lake in California, plunged to a record low: 26 percent of capacity. Boaters were forced to rappel from dock parking lots to their listing motorboats far below. Just 46 more feet lost and the lake would be rendered impotent, unable to produce power. If all the remaining water in the similarly starved reservoirs of Lake Shasta, Trinity Lake, and Folsom Lake was to be poured into Oroville Lake, it would still only be 80 percent full.
Prior to 2011, California drew 18 percent of its in-state electricity generation from 287 hydropower plants, from impoundments, run-of river and pumped storage facilities. A small fraction of its hydropower was (and is) imported from the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest's Hoover Dam. This energy source (learn more here) would have been a great alternative to traditional sources, such as coal or natural gas. READ MORE »
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – It will take about 11 trillion gallons of water (42 cubic kilometers) — around 1.5 times the maximum volume of the largest U.S. reservoir — to recover from California’s continuing drought, according to a new analysis of NASA satellite data. The finding was part of a sobering update on the state’s drought made possible by space and airborne measurements and presented by NASA scientists Dec. 16 at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. Such data are giving scientists an unprecedented ability to identify key features of droughts, data that can be used to inform water management decisions. A team of scientists led by Jay Famiglietti of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California used data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites to develop the first-ever calculation of this kind — the volume of water required to end an episode of drought. Earlier this year, at the peak of California’s current three-year drought, the team found that water storage in the state’s Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins was 11 trillion gallons below normal seasonal levels. Data collected since the launch of GRACE in 2002 shows this deficit has increased steadily. READ MORE »
A new study by Cornell University, the University of Arizona, and the US Geological Survey researchers looked at the deep historical record (tree rings, etc.) and the latest climate change models to estimate the likelihood of major droughts in the Southwest over the next century. The results are as soothing as a thick wool sweater on a midsummer desert hike, according to Mother Jones Magazine.
The researchers concluded that odds of a decadelong drought are "at least 80 percent." The chances of a "megadrought" one lasting 35 or more years, stands at somewhere between 20 percent and 50 percent, depending on how severe climate change turns out to be. And the prospects for an "unprecedented 50-year megadrought" — one "worse than anything seen during the last 2000 years" — checks in at a nontrivial 5 to 10 percent.
To learn more, go to this link: http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/09/southwest-megadrought
"The problem in California is not that we don't have enough reservoirs. It's that we don't have enough water in them. It wouldn't help to build any more (reservoirs.)"
Dr. John Holdren, White House science adviser
January 17, 2014
NOTICE OF SURFACE WATER SHORTAGE AND POTENTIAL FOR CURTAILMENT OF WATER RIGHT DIVERSIONS
With California facing water shortfalls in the driest year in recorded state history, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has proclaimed a State of Emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for these drought conditions.
The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) administers California’s water rights system and is closely monitoring water availability. The water rights system is designed to provide for the orderly allocation of water supplies in the event that there is not enough water to satisfy everyone’s needs. In the coming weeks and months, if dry weather conditions persist, the State Water Board will notify water right holders in critically dry watersheds of the requirement to limit or stop diversions of water under their water right, based on their priority. READ MORE »
California Department of Water Resources quietly backs away from asserting that the BDCP will increase water supply reliabilitySubmitted by Lloyd Carter on Wed, 04/10/2013 - 19:59.
By Deirdre Des Jardins
California Water Research
In August, 2012, California Water Research released a report, Incorporating Drought Risk Into California Water Resources Planning. Since that time we have been waging a quiet campaign for the Department of Water Resources to recognize that their climate modelling for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan has significant limitations and inconsistencies. READ MORE »
Lloyd G. Carter: Much of California is a desert, we should live in it as such[/b]
By Lloyd G. Carter - Special to The Bee
Published 12:00 am PDT Sunday, June 15, 2008
Story appeared in FORUM section, Page E1
[img_assist|nid=118|title=|desc=|link=node|align=right|width=100|height=54]That dreaded word drought has again intruded into the California public consciousness following Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's June 4 declaration that a drought is officially under way. READ MORE »
The California Water Impact Network (C-WIN) and the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance have filed comments on a proposal by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to alter the way DWR distributes State Water Project water in times of plenty and in times of drought. Is it another big giveaway of a publicly-owned resource? Judge for yourself. CLICK HERE
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