drought

California’s prolonged drought has visible consequences such as depleted reservoirs and mandatory water conservation rules. But one of the more expensive effects could be buried deep in your electric bill.

The Pacific Institute updated its study on the hidden costs of drought and estimated that Californians have paid an additional $2-billion dollars in electrical bills over the last four years.

The Pacific Institute

California’s four year drought has cost residents more than $2-billion dollars in increased electricity costs. That's the findings of an updated report from the Pacific Institute.

As reservoirs dried up over the drought, the amount of electricity produced by hydroelectric power plants has declined.

That means that in order to power the state, California had to produce electricity by more costly means like natural gas.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Drive anywhere in Central California and you’ll see fields of almonds.  Some people wonder if the growth of the almond industry is sustainable. And as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports the price of the nut just may have met a slippery slope.

  

USGS

California’s prolonged drought is once again causing the valley in sink. Groundwater pumping to keep water flowing and plants growing is resulting in the valley floor to settling and sinking in what is known as subsidence. As the water is pulled out the ground underneath fills the space and settles. In some places, the land is subsiding as much as a foot a year.

  Hydrologist Jim Borcher says the Valley has experienced sinking before, but now it is back.

Congress.gov

With negotiations on new compromise water legislation for California farmers currently deadlocked in Congress, is there a chance of a deal in 2016? Or will it be too late to capture El Nino floodwaters and store them for the future? Congressman Jim Costa (D-Fresno) joined us on Valley Edition to offer his insights into the water negotiations, and why he's concerned the lack of a deal might leave many valley farmers with another year of zero allocations of water, even with a strong El Nino. 

Ezra Davd Romero

FM89's series My Valley, My Story features first person accounts from the lives of people throughout the San Joaquin Valley. In this piece FM89’s Ezra David Romero visits the tiny town of Fairmead near Chowchilla in Madera County and meets an elderly couple grappling with water issues at their rural home. 

“My name is Joanne De Freitas. Almost two years ago our well started collapsing.”

“We had Anderson pump come out and they were able to go down a little bit further, but our pump is at 287 feet and we can’t go any further than that.”

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Tulare County is ground zero for drought. More than 2,000 household wells have gone dry leaving families without water. The county has provided tanks and water to many homeowners, but as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports, officials says their hands are tied when it comes to providing the service to renters.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The bark beetle has killed so many trees in the Sierra Nevada that officials are worried that people visiting places like the Sierra National Forest are in danger just by being there. Last week Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency when it comes to the dead trees and is asking for federal resources to remove them safely. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports from the Bass Lake area on what the Forest Service is doing to protect visitors.

New York Times

For over 150 years, California has collectively embraced an identity as a place where people go to reinvent themselves and to remake the world. From the Gold Rush to the Silver Screen; from valleys of wheat and oranges to valleys of microprocessors and software – the Golden State’s story is one of innovation and riches, but also tension over what has been lost in the process of creating the future. 

Valley Public Radio

On this week's Valley Edition: Governor Brown has declared a new state of emergency in California. But it’s not involving a wildfire or a mudslide – it’s actually about the massive die-off trees in the Sierra. We’ll find out what local forestry officials doing scrambling to keep visitors safe. Later in the show we’ll talk about a new opinion piece in the New York Times that suggests California’s best days are behind it. Is the California dream turning dark, or is the state about the reinvent itself once again? 

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