April surprise: warm and wet late-season atmospheric river to soak…

The California Weather Blog – The last blog post was about another incoming warm, wet Pineapple Express-style atmospheric river storm. That one did indeed end up packing a punch, but that punch landed a fair bit farther to the north than had initially been anticipated. Rain totals were substantial near the Thomas Fire burn area, but rain rates stayed just low enough to avoid major flood and Read More…

CA Water Commission: A primer on water rights permitting and change…

Maven's Notebook – At the March meeting of the California Water Commission, Amanda Montgomery, Chief of the Permitting Section for the Division of Water Rights at the State Water Resources Control Board was on hand to discuss the complex issue of water rights permitting and change petitions.  Ms. Montgomery’s presentation focused on post-1914 appropriative water rights which the Board Read More…

Coming storm could force first test of Oroville Dam’s partly…

The Sacramento Bee – With a powerful storm barreling toward California's coast, state officials warned they may have to use the largely rebuilt flood control spillway at troubled Oroville Dam as early as next week. The California Department of Water Resources announced Tuesday that water levels at Lake Oroville could quickly rise to the "trigger elevation" of 830 feet, the point at which Read More…

What do shrinking snowpack, warmer winters spell for western US water…

AccuWeather – The majority of the western United States relies on snowpack, which produces snowmelt, for its water supply. Snowpack is the snow that falls and remains on the ground, not melting until temperatures rise. During the colder months, the snowpack accumulates and stores water, which is later released when weather conditions are drier and warmer. In addition to supplying Read More…

Deep Water in Deep Trouble: Can We Save California’s Drying…

California Magazine – It may not be a true meteorological “March Miracle,” but it’s close enough for government work, as government workers are wont to say.  The series of storms that have battered California in recent weeks have pumped up the snowpack in the Sierra and swelled streams at lower elevations. And it looks like we could be in for a last wet gasp from the Pacific, with a Read More…

The Colorado River-Sacramento Delta Connection

Ink Stain – With an 85 percent allocation of northern California water from California’s State Water Project last year, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California was able to cut back on its use of Colorado River water, leaving more than 300,000 acre feet in Lake Mead. That water has provided a sufficient buffer than Mead will end this year at an elevation of 1,077 feet above Read More…

Sierra Snowpack Still Skimpy After March Storms

KQED – The fifth most productive March on record for snow wasn't enough to make up for disappointing precipitation throughout the key months of December, January and February. Heading into the April measurement of the Sierra Nevada snowpack, water content stood at more than 40 percent below normal. It's just 57 percent of the long-term average. A system lining up in the Pacific could Read More…

Brown is the new gold: Water strategy is starting to pay dividends

California Water Blog – Governor Brown has unveiled a sweeping new strategy, “Brown is the New Gold,” to simultaneously make California more robust to drought, secure private water rights, buffer California’s growers against disastrous losses from a looming national trade war, and facilitate a market for environmental water. “Leadership has not been clever enough, or strong Read More…

Californians are back to using about as much water as before the…

KPCC – Since Gov. Jerry Brown called off California's drought emergency a year ago, we Californians seem to have gotten a little lazy when it comes to water conservation. We've started watering our lawns more often. We're not putting buckets in our showers as much. (In fact, we're taking longer showers.) And we don’t let yellow mellow — meaning, we flush our pee instead of just Read More…

Report: Half of the West’s Rivers Altered by Development, Diversions

News Deeply – Many Americans May not realize it, but rivers throughout the West are increasingly under siege. The threats are not as apparent as they once were in the era of big dam building, which makes them that much more troubling. Climate change, land development and catastrophic forest fires are the big concerns today. These are relatively slow-moving threats, but no Read More…