Jan 13, 2015
By Liz Bowen
California State Attorney General Kamala Harris is not a friend to the rural agricultural areas or small business. She has specifically agreed to lawsuits that affect water and the environment in Siskiyou County. Personally, I believe she will make a worse Senator that Barbara Boxer did! This is bad, sad news for the North State.
Dec 26, 2014
The federal Climate Prediction Center now foresees a wet winter throughout California, particularly in areas south of Sacramento, as a result of a weak El Nino combining with the state’s normal wet season. The updated prognosis comes as the U.S. Drought Monitor shows drought conditions are slowly improving as a result of recent rains.
Published: December 19, 2014 4:42PM
SACRAMENTO — Federal forecasters are going bullish on California’s winter prospects, predicting higher-than-average precipitation for the drought-parched state through March.
The anticipated southern storms from a weak El Nino are combining with the storm activity that California normally gets this time of year to produce the rosy outlook, observes Michelle Mead, the National Weather Service’s warning coordinator here.
The federal Climate Prediction Center’s updated three-month outlook map shows a wet pattern extending throughout the Southwest and into Texas, while northern areas of the Pacific Northwest appear to be headed for drier-than-normal weather.
“The probabilities are increasing that we’ll stay in a progressive pattern,” Mead said. “Seasonally California is entering its wet season. It started out well, and the long-range models indicate that pattern will continue.”
The prognosis comes as some areas of Northern California have been receiving nearly daily rainfall since Thanksgiving weekend and are approaching precipitation records for December.
The Sacramento airport — which sits amid prime rice ground just north of the city — had recorded 7.63 inches of rain for the month as of Dec. 18, making it likely that area will surpass its December record of 8.22 inches before the end of the month.
Redding — which measured rainfall in 17 of the first 18 days of December — was at 8.68 inches for the month, well above its normal 5.44 inches, according to the weather service. However, the city still has a ways to go to achieve the 14.72 inches it sopped up in December 2002.
All the rain is beginning to have an impact on the state’s three-year drought, albeit slowly. The U.S. Drought Monitor’s updated map shows a majority of Northern California has seen a one-category improvement, mostly from “exceptional” to “extreme.”
State and federal officials have said California will need 150 percent of its normal precipitation to completely recover from the drought, as major reservoir levels have been near historic lows.
The state would need 150 percent of normal snowpack, too, since snowmelt in the spring continues to replenish reservoirs after the winter rains are over, Mead explained. So far, the state is still at only 47 percent of its average snowpack for this time of year, as most of the storms have been warn with higher-elevation snow levels.
That trend is expected to continue into the winter, as the Climate Prediction Center envisions above-average temperatures throughout the West through March.
Dec 11, 2014
Washington, DC – Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) today voted in favor of legislation aimed at providing immediate, emergency relief from California’s historic water crisis. H.R. 5781, the California Emergency Drought Relief Act, which would sunset in eighteen months, includes two critical components: flexibility to store additional water when winter storms cause high river flows and protections for the North State’s senior and area of origin water rights.
“The state of California is going through the worst drought in over a century, creating devastating conditions for our farms, families and ranches. The measure we passed today represents a bipartisan, noncontroversial fix that simply gives federal water managers the flexibility they need to conserve excess water during the wettest months,” said LaMalfa. “It’s simply reckless that we continue to watch ill-conceived federal policies allow billions of gallons of water to be diverted away from our communities to just flow out to sea. It’s time to bring an end to the delays and inaction coming from Washington and start moving forward towards a long-term solution that adequately addresses our state’s water needs. I urge the Senate to act quickly to advance this critical measure and help prevent yet another year of damaging drought conditions for California.”
The California Emergency Drought Relief Act would:
• Increase water supplies to Northern Californians who have seen their water allocations reduced to 50%, or even 0%. Under this bill, Northern Californians would receive a minimum of 75% of their water right in drought years.
• Ensure more flood flows are held at North State reservoirs rather than being diverted to the sea, resulting in more water stored during winter months.
• Enhances North State water rights and creates additional area of origin protections.
• Promotes federal water storage projects in the state by expediting the completion of needed reviews to approve water transfer requests associated with voluntary fallowing of non-permanent crops.
• Holds federal agencies accountable by utilizing a streamlined process to ensure regulatory decisions related to projects that provide additional water resources are made it a timely process.
H.R. 5781 passed out of the House of Representatives on a 230-182 vote and will be sent to the Senate.
Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District including, Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.
Dec 10, 2014
California Natural Resources Agency ( FISH AND WILDLIFE )
Richard Stapler, (916) 653-9402
Brown Administration Opposes Federal Drought Legislation
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Writing on behalf of the State of California, California Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird today issued a formal opposition letter to HR5781. The text of the letter is pasted below:
“In the last twelve months, the Brown Administration has dealt with the most extreme three-year drought of modern times, while trying to implement a long-term, broad-based strategy to better protect California from future water shortages. We have done both with a recognition that the public interest is best-served by developing strategies that enjoy broad support across California and to fairly balance the needs of a diverse state with many different stakeholders and regional concerns.
As a result of the drought state of emergency declared by the Governor on January 17, 2014, California state agencies have worked very closely with their federal counterparts and impacted stakeholders to provide critically needed water supplies while protecting our water quality, imperiled species, and fragile ecosystems — all are suffering from these unprecedented drought conditions. With a possible fourth year of drought, these same state and federal agencies are working to prepare a 2015 Drought Operations Plan, and expect to complete it early next month. Building on the experience of last year, these agencies are actively exploring alternative approaches to water project operations that hopefully will better optimize both water supplies and species protections under extreme conditions. Work in developing this plan continues. But, one thing is certain: managing an extreme drought is best done in real-time here in California, by agencies with on the ground experience and expertise, in close collaboration with affected stakeholders. This is the only way to rapidly and equitably balance all of the competing needs such as regulated and unregulated stream flow, locations of critical fish populations, upstream storage needs for temperature control and conservation purposes, salinity conditions as influenced by tidal cycles and barometric conditions, and others. In January, the Administration also adopted the California Water Action Plan, a comprehensive plan for future water management, including storage, conservation, recycling, water transfers and other actions that will better enable the state to provide for the next generation of Californians. Many elements in the Water Action Plan were included in Proposition 1 – the water bond – that was approved by over two-thirds of California voters just weeks ago.
Coming off a year where more progress has been made on water policy in California than any time in recent years – with broad support evident in the electorate for this strategy – this is no time to reignite water wars, move water policy back into the courts, and try to pit one part of the state against another. For this reason, the administration opposes HR5781. Our collective energies should be devoted to a long-term solution for California’s water needs in a way that rewards working together as opposed to dividing interests, just as the successful campaign for the water bond recently did. We stand ready to work with the supporters and opponents of HR5781 to that end.”
Dec 3, 2014
This is a message from the State Water Resources Control Board.
The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) is temporarily lifting the water right curtailment for junior priority class rights in the Scott River watershed beginning on December 3 at 10:00 am continuing until further notice. The temporary authorization for diversion is based on this week’s rain event and associated projected runoff in excess of the flows required to satisfy senior priority class rights.
The junior priority class rights are identified as either: (1) a Priority 2 Class Right in Schedule D-4 of the Decree, (2) a Post-1914 Appropriative Right in Schedule E of the Decree, or (3) a “Surplus Class” right in the Decree.
During this diversion opportunity, you must comply with all terms and conditions of your water right, especially season of diversion and bypass conditions. You should keep a record of your diversions since such diversions are still subject to prior rights. Any diversion in violation of terms and conditions or of these notices is subject to enforcement.
The State Water Board will be monitoring weather forecasts and stream gages to determine if the temporary diversion opportunity should continue. Please monitor your email and our website for further updates on when diversions are authorized, and when curtailments are in place. If an email list notice is issued on the weekend, the website will not be updated until the following Monday due to service limitations.