This week on Valley Edition FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports on the latest development for the drought-stricken town of East Porterville: they now have showers. Also on the program Bakersfield Californian’s Lois Henry and UC Irvine’s James Famiglietti discuss groundwater and the future of the state.
The water in some of California’s major reservoirs is nearing historic lows. The Department of Water Resources says statewide, all reservoirs are currently holding about 57 percent of their historic norms.
But levels are dropping significantly in some of the major reservoirs. Maury Roos, is the Chief Hydrologist with DWR. He says the Lake Oroville Reservoir is near the lowest level it’s ever been.
This week on Valley Edition we are joined by Fresno State Geography Lecturer and Reedley College Professor Sean Boyd for a conversation about the rain the region received last week and what Valley residents should expect weather-wise in the months to come.
Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 10:36 am
California's severe drought is putting stress on everyone these days: the residents whose wells are running dry; the farmers forced to experiment with growing their produce with much less water; and of course, the thirsty fruits and vegetables themselves.
Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 4:44 pm
The past few years have been California's driest on record. Forecasters predict that punishing droughts like the current one could become the new norm.
The state uses water rationing and a 90-year-old water distribution system to cope until the rains come. The system is a huge network of dams, canals and pipes that move water from the places it rains and snows to places it typically doesn't, like farms and cities.
The drought has California farmers leaving thousands of acres fallow this year. But growers still chose to plant processing tomatoes. And as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, they’re expected to have a record year.
About 95 percent of the nation’s processed tomatoes come from California. Last year, about 12 million tons were produced. Some farmers this year were skeptical they could grow the 14 million tons contracted for by the state’s processors.
But Mike Montna with the California Tomato Growers Association says they hit that mark.
NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive spacecraft is slowly lowered into place at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, in preparation for shipping to California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on October 15th.
Scientists may soon have a more accurate way to predict the extent and severity of droughts, floods and even the amount of food California can produce. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, a NASA spacecraft getting set to launch will measure soil moisture, one of the most important components of the earth’s water cycle.
On November 4th, California voters will decide the fate of a $7.5 billion bond intended to improve the state’s water system. Proposition 1 is one of the most closely watched measures on the ballot. Proponents of the bond say it would provide safe and reliable water, opponents say it wrongly focuses on building more dams. And as Capital Public Radio’s Amy Quinton reports, the bond has divided some environmental groups.
This trio of images depicts satellite observations of declining water storage in California as seen by NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellites in June 2002 (left), June 2008 (center) and June 2014 (right). Colors progressing from green to orange to red represent greater accumulated water loss between June 2002 and June 2014.
A new set of satellite images released by NASA shows the dramatic loss of water storage in the Central Valley due to California's long term drought. According to research by NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Team, the Sacramento and San Joaquin River basins together lost 12 million acre feet a year between 2011 and 2014, largely due to agricultural groundwater pumping.
It’s going to become more difficult to drill a well in California. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento on a package of groundwater legislation signed into law today by Governor Jerry Brown.
The regulations will require local agencies to create and implement groundwater management plans within five years and meet groundwater sustainability levels within 20 years. Brown says the laws, combined with the Legislature's bi-partisan approval of a water bond slated for the November ballot, represent a giant step forward toward securing the state’s water supply.
California Governor Jerry Brown made history Tuesday morning when he signed into law three bills that for the first time will regulate groundwater in the state. California had been the only state in the nation that did not regulate groundwater at the state level.
While many environmental groups praised the move, a number of valley agriculture interests opposed the new regulations. This week on Valley Edition, we talked to Joel Nelson of the Exeter-based group California Citrus Mutual about his concerns about the new laws.
With fires raging in the region and no sign that the drought will ease up, farmers and even homeowners are on the hunt for water. The initial answer is to dig a new well. But wells are expensive. In this piece FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports on a solution that many Valley homeowners rely on.
Eugene Keeney hooks his 2,500 gallon water truck to a fire hydrant on the northern edge of Clovis.
In California, water availability is becoming a serious problem—but that doesn’t mean there aren’t creative solutions.
Developers at a San Francisco non-profit have created the California Water Challenge, an interactive website that aims to teach players about the state’s water problems while prompting them to make difficult decisions about how to solve them.
Noel Perry is the founder of Next 10, the company that created the tool.
A Field Poll released today shows strong support for the water bond on California’s November ballot.
Fifty-two percent of likely voters say they’ll support the $7.5 billion bond in the fall election. 27 percent oppose it, while 21 percent remain undecided. But awareness of the measure remains low. The Field Poll found just 36 percent of likely voters had seen or heard anything about the bond. But support for the bond was even higher among voters with prior knowledge of the measure.
Forecasters say the chances are diminishing that El Niño will bring rain to California. Ed Joyce reports from Sacramento.
The NOAA Climate Prediction Center analysis shows a 60-to-65 percent chance of the warm ocean condition known as El Niño developing this fall and winter. The report also indicates a strong El Niño is not expected and a weak event is likely.
Michelle Mead is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.
She says a weak El Niño won't end the California drought.
A new study from UC Irvine shows climate change could reduce California’s water supply by changing mountain vegetation. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, even researchers were surprised how much could be lost.