So far, 2022 is California’s driest year on record — but that hasn’t stopped residents from watering their lawns. According to the state’s Department of Water Resources, Californians used almost 19 percent more water last March than they did in March two years ago, despite the state’s deepening drought and increasingly strapped reservoirs. Residents also used more water last March than they have in any March since 2015. (No paywall)
Some of California’s agricultural areas are bracing for water cuts later this year after the chair of the state’s Water Resources Control Board said escalating drought conditions will require the state to prepare for the “worst-case scenario.”
An onslaught of rain and snow has pulled most of California out of exceptional drought, but experts warn that the state’s dry spell is far from over. Officials issued emergency water regulations this week — including a controversial exemption for agriculture — even as the northern part of the state braced for possible flooding from winter storms.(No paywall)
In response to the West’s historic drought, California officials warned on Wednesday that cities and farms won’t get any water from the State Water Project next year unless it’s an emergency. The unprecedented decision will affect 27 million residents and 750,000 acres of farmland. Unless a rainy winter offers a reprieve, officials say the state’s urban residents should also brace for mandatory water cuts.
A report from the nonprofit Ceres said that "food companies need to do more" to manage risks to the water they use to grow and process their products. The 38 major food companies in the Ceres analysis had an average score of 49 out of 100 possible points, while the average score in the meat sector was just 18 points.
As part of an administration initiative, the USDA will consider including reused water, also known as recycled or reclaimed water, in its land stewardship and community development programs. "Water reuse is going to be how agriculture continues to increase productivity while decreasing our environmental footprint," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday.
During a visit Wednesday to California's Central Valley, President Trump announced the completion of a regulatory review that will send more water from the San Joaquin Valley to farms and cities in the southern half of California. Environmentalists say the new allocation of water poses a risk to endangered fish and other native species.
The board of the largely agricutlural Westlands Water District voted 7-1 against taking part in Gov. Jerry Brown's twin-tunnel project "to remake the fragile estuary that serves as the hub of California's water delivery network," reports the Sacramento Bee. The decision, by the first water agency to vote on the project, is "a potentially fatal blow" to the $17-billion project.
The seventh-longest river in the world, the Yellow River, irrigates 15 percent of China's farmland, such a broad dissemination of water that it has a measurable effect on temperature, says a team of scientists. In a paper published in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Letters, they said that when irrigation is in use, air temperatures are lower.
Three farmers in western Kansas are partnering with a state agency in a test of thrifty irrigation systems that require less water to grow crops in the Plains
Caught in a multi-year drought, California voters approved $7.1 billion in bonds last year to improve the state's water infrastructure, and now faces the choice of where and how to spend the money, says the New York Times.
The House Appropriations Committee voted to block EPA's proposed "waters of the United States" rule as part of a fiscal 2015 interior and environment spending bill. Members approved the bill on a mostly party-line vote of 29-19. "Republicans have derided the measure as a brazen power grab that could result in the EPA expanding its jurisdiction to ponds, trenches or even dry riverbeds," said The Hill newspaper.