From the Marin Independent Journal, in a commentary by Dick Spotswood:
“Perhaps it’s the lack of rain this winter, but the No. 1 priority emanating from surveyed Marin and Southern Sonoma residents was ‘ensuring a reliable, long-term water supply.’ Fully 86 percent made water their highest priority.”
“A string of late-winter storms was not sufficient to knock out the state’s three-year drought, leaving critical snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada two-thirds below normal and predictions of a ‘gloomy’ summer for farmers and many urban communities, state water managers said Tuesday.”
“These are strange days for California water officials. The penultimate snow survey of the season Tuesday found the Sierra Nevada snowpack holding 32 percent of normal water content – a relatively dismal reading – and yet many of them expressed relief.”
“The Willits reservoirs contain 1,291 acre feet of water as of March 24, according to Willits City Manager Adrienne Moore. This represents a gain of 42 acre feet of water since March 10. The current wet weather pattern is expected to drop about 3 inches on the region by the weekend, according to the National Weather Service projections.”
“In the latest sign that California’s historic drought is having a worsening impact on Silicon Valley, the region’s largest water provider is putting in place unprecedented cutbacks this spring on cities, farmers and its own efforts to recharge groundwater supplies.”
“Tens of thousands of squiggling salmon fattening up on bugs and other nutrients on flooded cropland in the Sacramento Valley could soon provide a solution to the long-running dispute over who should get the bulk of California’s diminishing supply of water: farms or fish.
“As during most droughts, discussions of how to allocate dwindling water supplies have intensified across California. One stirring piece of the debate has pivoted around using water to produce food that is exported outside of California. ‘Why should homeowners stop watering their lawns when farmers are using far larger amounts of precious water to grow alfalfa for China,’ the argument goes.
From the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s H2outlook blog, in a post by General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger:
“The year 1976 was the fourth-driest (for the record books then) in California history. Then came 1977, the driest ever to date. The sparse rains in the spring of 1977 set the stage for a parched summer and the possibility of some severe shortages in Northern California.
“The dry cycle of 2013 and 2014 at the moment is on pace to be drier than the 1976-77 drought.
“Because of its great depth (1,645 feet), Lake Tahoe holds enough water to cover the entire state of California to a depth of about 14 inches, according to the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. But if that somehow were to happen, the lake would remain depleted for a very long time.”
“California’s two Democratic senators, joined by two House Democrats, urged the State Water Resources Control Board on Wedneseday to think twice, or maybe thrice, before issuing a proposed order that could cut Delta water pumping.”
From the San Francisco Chronicle Politics Blog by Carolyn Lochhead
“Four California Democrats, including Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, sent an urgent appeal Wednesday to the state Water Resources Control Board pleading for two-week delay in a decision that was expected Friday to slash water deliveries from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to farmers.
“The strain on water supplies in this serious drought year was evident this week, as major landowners in the Sacramento Valley protested the federal government’s forecast that it will deliver only 40 percent of usual water supplies.
“NASA scientists and California water managers are teaming up to help predict measure and find water during the state’s worst drought. They’re using satellites to help the state manage its water supply.”