California drought

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California's Water Tunnel Grows More Controversial

It's set to cost an estimated $20B, though city officials say benefits will be worth double

(Newser) - The tunnel is designed to capture and store more rainwater in California in anticipation of long periods of drought and the dangerously low water levels drought brings. The cost, however, is hard to swallow. Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration said Thursday that the proposed tunnel beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin River...

California OKs Drinking Recycled Wastewater

Wastewater to be treated for all pathogens and viruses before reaching tap

(Newser) - When a toilet is flushed in California, the water can end up in a lot of places: An ice skating rink near Disneyland, ski slopes around Lake Tahoe, farmland in the Central Valley. And—coming soon—kitchen faucets. California regulators on Tuesday approved new rules to let water agencies recycle...

In Parched California, This Plant Offers Hope

More people are growing drought-resistant agave for use in alcoholic drinks

(Newser) - Leo Ortega started growing spiky blue agave plants on the arid hillsides around his Southern California home because his wife liked the way they looked. A decade later, his property is now dotted with thousands of what he and others hope is a promising new crop for the state following...

Higher Prices Are Ahead, With Drought Cutting Tomato Supply

Agriculture Department cuts production forecast

(Newser) - California farmers who grow tomatoes are being squeezed by the drought and other factors, which means prices at grocery stores are only going up. In the central part of the state, low levels of rain and snow are being felt, and the limits on water from the Colorado River are...

'Unprecedented Measures' Brought In Amid Calif. Drought

LA residents can only water outdoors for 8 minutes a time, 2 days a week

(Newser) - California is taking tough steps to ration water amid a megadrought so severe that even ancient trees haven't experienced anything as bad before. On Wednesday, more than 6 million people in Southern California were placed under unprecedented restrictions cutting outdoor watering days to one or two a week, the...

West's Water Crisis May Be Worse Than You Think

'We are looking down the barrel of a loaded gun,' says one expert

(Newser) - The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains, which provides 30% of California's fresh water, is at its lowest level in seven years—a devastating sign of drought conditions to come. The end-of-winter snowpack measurement—which comes from measurements at more than 265 sites across the state, taken annually on...

US Megadrought Is Worst We've Seen in 12 Centuries
On Parched American West,
a Dire 'Wake-Up Call'

On Parched American West, a Dire 'Wake-Up Call'

Study says megadrought is worst in 1.2K years, a 'worst-case scenario' due to climate change

(Newser) - The American West's megadrought deepened so much last year that it's now the driest in at least 1,200 years and is a worst-case climate change scenario playing out live, a new study finds. A dramatic drying in 2021—about as dry as 2002 and one of the...

California Snow Forecast Alarms Researchers
California Snow Forecast
Alarms Researchers
new study

California Snow Forecast Alarms Researchers

Melting of snowpack, which imperils the water system, is 'already happening now,' they say

(Newser) - Every spring and summer, the snowpack in the mountains melts slowly, delivering a flow to Californians about the time when rainfall is decreasing and demand for water is rising. The state has "built an entire water supply system around the reliable appearance of snowpack in our mountains," said...

Wriggling Surprise Lurked Under California Home

Reptile rescuer pulled nearly 100 rattlesnakes out of house's foundation

(Newser) - The number of snakes under a California house was a surprise to everyone, even the snake wrangler hired to deal with them. “I found a total of 92 rattlesnakes under that house—I was tickled pink,” Al Wolf, also the director of Sonoma County Reptile Rescue, told KGO...

California Has More Than One Almond Problem

Almond orchards are thirsty, and the crops that soak up water are largely exported

(Newser) - A historic drought across the US West is taking a heavy toll on California’s $6 billion almond industry, which produces roughly 80% of the world’s almonds. More growers are expected to abandon their orchards as water becomes scarce and expensive. It’s a sharp reversal for the almond’...

With Water Level Falling, Power Plant Has to Shut

California blames drought, driven by climate change

(Newser) - Californians could face more rolling power blackouts after a major source of electricity had to shut down. Water levels at Lake Oroville fell to close to the minimum to keep the Hyatt Power Plant operating, CNBC reports, reaching the lowest point since the plant opened in 1967. The plant, which...

Californians Asked to Reduce Water Use

Newsom's request anticipates reservoirs being low at the first of the year

(Newser) - Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday asked California's people and businesses to voluntarily cut how much water they use by 15%, as the western US weathers a drought that is rapidly emptying reservoirs relied on for agriculture, drinking water, and fish habitat. Newsom's request is not an order, the...

Drought Brings 'Earthy' Taste to California Water

Sacramento suggests adding lemon

(Newser) - Some people like their wines to have earthy notes. Their drinking water, not so much. With much of California in extreme drought, Sacramento residents have been complaining that their water smells strange and tastes like dirt, CBS Sacramento reports. Authorities say it is the result of harmless organic compounds found...

State Has to Truck Salmon to Ocean
State Has to Truck
Salmon to Ocean

State Has to Truck Salmon to Ocean

California river levels are too low for the fish to travel the usual way

(Newser) - Because of the drought, California officials will again truck millions of young salmon raised at fish hatcheries in the state's Central Valley agricultural region to the Pacific Ocean. Projected river conditions show that the waterways the fish usually use to travel downstream will be historically low and warm. Officials...

After 7 Years, California Has Some Good News

Drought is gone from all parts of the state

(Newser) - Thanks to a very wet winter, California is finally drought-free. A map released Thursday by the US Drought Monitor shows "almost entirely normal conditions" across the state for the first time since December 2011, reports the Los Angeles Times . "It's been so wet … that we've...

Historic Calif. Drought Wreaked Irreversible, Bizarre Damage

Central Valley sank 3 feet—and won't be rebounding

(Newser) - Snowmelt and rain are in abundance for the first time in years in Central Valley, Calif., which boasts so much farmland it helps feed much of the world. But the state's five-year drought was so bad that all those farms sucked up enough groundwater to sink a solid three...

California Governor Declares End to Drought Emergency

But some conservation rules will remain in place

(Newser) - Gov. Jerry Brown declared an end to California's historic drought Friday, lifting emergency orders that had forced residents to stop running sprinklers as often and encouraged them to rip out thirsty lawns during the state's driest four-year period on record. The AP reports the governor's order that...

California's Biggest Reservoir Just Hit a Happy Milestone

Gates of Shasta Dam opened for first time in nearly 20 years

(Newser) - For the first in almost two decades, water spilled from the top of Shasta Dam in California this week—another sign that the state's long drought is all but over. With Lake Shasta, California's largest reservoir, at 93% capacity, officials opened Shasta Dam's topmost gates one at...

An End to California's 5-Year Drought? It's on Mother Nature

If storms keep raining precipitation down, Cali could be sitting pretty

(Newser) - Sorry, Lena Horne, but stormy weather may be just what California's been looking for. The Golden State has been getting bombarded with precipitation—rain, snow, hail, sleet—making even Los Angeles feel "more like London than Southern California," the Los Angeles Times notes. But for a parched...

This State's 102M Dead Trees 'Should Be Concerning for Everyone'

California's wildfires are getting more common and more dangerous

(Newser) - In drought-stricken California, 36 million trees have died since May, the Los Angeles Times reports. They're part of 62 million trees that have died in the state since 2016 and 102 million trees that have died over the past six years. "It's not beyond the pale to...

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