A Look Back at the Year in Water Policy

PPIC – A year of extreme events—from heavy rains that strained dams to high heat and massive wildfires—revealed the many ways California’s variable climate can impact water management. In 2017 the PPIC Water Policy Center explored how the state is managing such extremes and suggested improvements to help us prepare for an even more volatile future climate. Here are a few Read More…

UC Merced Scientists Explain Mechanisms Affecting Sierra Nevada…

Sierra Sun Times – Scientists at UC Merced’s Sierra Nevada Research Institute (SNRI), UC Irvine, UC Davis and the USDA Forest Service have enumerated the mechanisms that serve as master regulators of streamflow and drought intensity by studying California’s 2012-15 drought. Their findings are detailed in a new paper published in Scientific Reports. Researchers used measurements Read More…

Snowpack Near Record Lows Spells Trouble for Western Water Supplies

Inside Climate News – Months of exceptionally warm weather and an early winter snow drought across big swaths of the West have left the snowpack at record-low levels in parts of the Central and Southern Rockies, raising concerns about water shortages and economic damage. Drought spread across large parts of the Western United States this month, and storms that moved across the region in Read More…

New Online Tool Tailors Weather Forecasts to Watersheds

News Deeply – Anyone who tracks the weather closely soon becomes aware of a surprising fact: it’s not easy to get a forecast tailored to your local watershed – perhaps the most important natural terrain feature that determines water supply, water quality and flood risk. In the United States, most weather forecasts pay no attention to watersheds. Instead, predictions are made within Read More…

Study Shows How Dams Affect Ecology of Colorado Rivers

News Deeply – The San Miguel and Dolores rivers are both southwestern Colorado waterways that begin high in the San Juan Mountains. Both carve through narrow, red sandstone canyons. Eventually, the two rivers become one when the San Miguel merges into the Dolores and the Dolores with the Colorado River in eastern Utah. But there is one major difference: The Dolores is dammed at Read More…

‘Atmospheric rivers’ aid the West — and imperil it

High Country News – When a rainstorm slammed California’s Russian River watershed in December 2012, water rushed into Lake Mendocino, a reservoir north of San Francisco. The cause? An atmospheric river, a ribbon of moisture-laden air that can ferry water thousands of miles across the sky. When the tempest hit, the state was on the brink of an exceptional drought. But instead of storing the Read More…

Corvallis dumps 37 million gallons of sewage into the Willamette River

Statesman Journal – The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has fined the city of Corvallis $25,800 for discharging untreated sewage into the Willamette River. Twice last year, heavy rains overwhelmed the city’s sewage treatment system, located about 40 miles upstream from Salem. For about 7.5 hours on March 14, 2017, the city sent about 33 million gallons of untreated Read More…

La Nina peaks; NW snowpack on the line

Capital Press – A weak to moderate La Nina in the tropical Pacific has probably peaked, though it may have enough punch left to swell Northwest snowpacks, climatologists reported Thursday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that the cooler-than-normal ocean likely will begin warming, but won’t reach average temperatures until the spring. Climatologists estimated Read More…

The nation’s rivers and streams are getting dangerously saltier

The Washington Post – Nearly everywhere you turn during this frigid stretch of winter, much of the world seems covered in a layer of salt aimed at keeping our roads drivable and sidewalks free of ice. All that salt is one reason — although not the only one — that many of the nation’s rivers and streams are becoming saltier, according to new research published Monday in the Proceedings Read More…

Is There Radium In Your Tap Water? New Map Can Show You

Live Science – Does your tap water contain the radioactive element radium? You might be surprised to hear that tap water for more than 170 million Americans contains the compound, and a new interactive map shows the water systems where this potentially hazardous element was found. The map was made by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit advocacy organization in Washington Read More…