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Governor Moonbeam Disappointed: Drought Might Be Over

Discussion in 'Politics Forum' started by Eugene Baker III, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. Eugene Baker III

    Eugene Baker III Go UCR Highlanders!!!

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    ‘This is a big deal’: Storms could spell end to historic drought

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    The storms barreling into California aren’t only flooding towns, ripping trees from the earth and igniting roadway chaos.

    They’ve had the extraordinary effect of filling reservoirs that haven’t breached their brims in years and, for much of the north state, intensifying a rainy season that is finally, mercifully, driving an end to the historic drought.

    “In the very northern part of California, yes, the drought is over,” said Marty Ralph, director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. “In the south, not so much.”


    This weekend, so much water fell from the sky that at one point nearly 63 million gallons of water per minute poured into the Folsom Reservoir near Sacramento, leaving dam operators at the long-dry basin opening the floodgates in an exercise that has occurred just a few times in the past five years.


    The story was similar across the state. California’s 154 major reservoirs on Tuesday held what they typically do after January, normally the wettest month.

    At Don Pedro Reservoir outside Yosemite, which San Francisco shares with irrigation districts in Modesto and Turlock and serves as the largest storage site for the city and its southern suburbs, the Bay Area holdings reached capacity.

    “This is a big deal,” said Charles Sheehan, a spokesman for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, noting that the agency now has at least five years’ worth of supplies for its 2.6 million customers. “We were very nervous. It was three or four dry years in a row, and our water bank was getting lower and lower.”

    The greatly improved reserves are the result of an atmospheric river — essentially massive channels of storm clouds that provide up to 50 percent of the state’s water — that struck California in the New Year after a wet fall.

    In just a week, the Big Sur coast got nearly 15 inches of rain, about a third of what it normally sees in a year, while parts of the Sierra got close to a foot, according to the National Weather Service.

    “Atmospheric rivers occur every winter, it’s just a matter of where they occur,” said Ralph. “The last two years they’ve been missing in California. In the past three months we’ve had a large number.”

    While the state’s Southland has not fared as well, northerly precipitation remains the most vital in the drought picture because it feeds the big reservoirs that supply water across the state.

    California has been struggling with dry conditions since 2011. Last winter wasn’t as bad, bringing above-average snow and rain to the north amid an El Niño weather pattern, but water supplies have remained short.

    While this year’s wet weather has been a boon for reservoirs, five years of drought forced many communities to rely heavily on aquifers, and underground supplies in many places are now depleted.

    “We have not busted our groundwater drought,” said Jeffrey Mount, a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center.

    Since 30 percent of the state’s water supply comes from the ground, and as much as 60 percent when surface supplies dry up, Mount said California’s aquifers need more time — years, if not decades — to recover.

    Other problems wrought by the drought show little sign of immediate improvement.

    A massive die-off of dry, beetle-infested trees continues to plague the Sierra. Fish that suffered from years of overdrawn rivers, some on the brink of extinction, remain without assurances of winning back habitat. Dried-up soils and farmland could also go a long time without recovery.

    There’s fear, too, that the rainy season, which generally runs from late October through March, could still take a turn for the worse. The water year has started with a blockbuster December before, only to stall out the rest of winter.

    The state’s official drought declaration, issued by Gov. Jerry Brown in January 2014, has yet to be lifted.

    The unprecedented rationing that was mandated for cities and towns, and deep water cuts for farmers, have been eased. But many of the regulations governing water deliveries remain.

    “There are just some communities that are still struggling,” said Mike Anderson, the state climatologist with the Department of Water Resources.

    Santa Barbara, for example, watched one of its main reservoirs, Lake Cuchuma, miss out on most of the recent storms, and the lake remains less than a quarter full.

    Other reservoirs, mostly in Southern California, are also yet to near capacity after years of withdrawals outpacing inflows.

    “Everybody has their own portfolio of supply options and their own portfolio of demands, and it’s really a matter of figuring out how to balance them in each of these areas,” Anderson said. “We’re certainly in a better place than we’ve been.”
     



  2. Eugene Baker III

    Eugene Baker III Go UCR Highlanders!!!

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    "I can't tax it if it isn't a crisis." Edmund II
     
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  3. eaglesnut

    eaglesnut The Truth

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    Looks like fun. Hope all the weed doesn't get flooded. That would drive up prices.
     
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  4. Tharvot

    Tharvot Crusader for Truthiness

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    I thought the real elixir to california's drought problem was snow melt from the mountains? Has it been heavily snowing?
     
  5. ArlingtonCowboys100

    ArlingtonCowboys100 Well-Known Member

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    Omg, global warming proponents have to be pisst
     
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  6. jjc2009

    jjc2009 I Member

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    Yes. The Sierra-Nevada snowpack is going to be very deep this year. Parts have already reached 200 in of snowfall. And with the colder air, it will stay up there longer until the spring runoff.

    They also said this won't end the drought, but will put a huge dent in it.
     
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  7. Tharvot

    Tharvot Crusader for Truthiness

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    that's excellent news. They were anticipating the el nino pattern would help (that's over now, right?), I guess they were just a little bit off with the timing.
     
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  8. jjc2009

    jjc2009 I Member

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    El Nino is what helped bring on the drought. Its now the La Nina phase that brings more storms and with it, more rain and snow.
     
  9. Ralph Murphy

    Ralph Murphy Master of Mustachery

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    Yea, the rain will fill reservoirs that will release most the water so that hoped for snow melt will fill them back up. The good news is that areas high up in the Sierra's are getting massive amounts of snow, while lower areas that usually get snow are only getting rain. Rain that is melting the snow that was already there.

    There is also hope that the rain will help raise water tables which have dropped hundreds of feet in places over the last 5-6 years.

    But it is years like this that show why we need more water storage.
     
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  10. Tharvot

    Tharvot Crusader for Truthiness

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    The drought has been going on since 11-12 I think. The Nino definitely exacerbated the issue, but didn't bring it on.
     
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  11. Eugene Baker III

    Eugene Baker III Go UCR Highlanders!!!

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    Extremely, enough that Mammoth Mountain is getting $150 for a lift ticket. Bear Mountain down here is charging $100


    Obviously, retired Big Pharma execs running those places.
     
  12. jjc2009

    jjc2009 I Member

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    Fair enough, didn't bring it on, but El Nino generally makes for warmer and drier winters in the Pac. Northwest and West, with cooler and wetter winters in the southeast.

    La Nina does the opposite. That's why we've had a pretty dry winter and above average temps in Fla. for much of this year. Could also explain why there are more fierce storms coming off the Pacific dumping more snow (as the air temps have gone way down too).
     
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  13. Eugene Baker III

    Eugene Baker III Go UCR Highlanders!!!

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    And to stop judges from flushing fresh water out to sea: Why Does California Let Billions Of Gallons Of Fresh Water Flow Straight Into The Ocean?

    Emptying Reservoirs in the Middle of a Drought
     
  14. Ralph Murphy

    Ralph Murphy Master of Mustachery

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    You know, that fresh water running out to the sea thing.....those are called rivers and streams. I don't get the argument that preventing all water from into the delta or into the ocean is somehow a leftist enviro wacko idea. Now....letting water out of some dams so that salmon can somehow run, salmon that haven't used said river in 75 years, that's a little crazy. And they are doing that with Millerton Lake and the San Joaquin River.
     
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  15. Ralph Murphy

    Ralph Murphy Master of Mustachery

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    Until this past weekend snow levels were down by the way. Last measurement was 76% of average.
     
  16. jjc2009

    jjc2009 I Member

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    So does this mean I can give Rachel Dolezal monopoly money?
     
  17. Mays-Fan

    Mays-Fan Unhyphenated-American

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    Liberals are discovering for the first time that nature runs in cycles and things regress to the mean.
     
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  18. Eugene Baker III

    Eugene Baker III Go UCR Highlanders!!!

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    The greens have had some success. In 2007, U.S. district judge Oliver Wanger ruled that the pumping that annually sent about 6 million acre-feet of water to Kern County and beyond was threatening the delta smelt’s existence by disrupting water flows for the fall spawning season. Citing the protections accorded by the Endangered Species Act, he ordered pumping for agricultural uses curtailed by one-third until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could evaluate the situation. After studying the issue for more than a year, the USFWS determined last December that pumping by the SWP and CVP “was likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the delta smelt and adversely modify its critical habitat.” The agency issued plans to keep Judge Wanger’s restrictions in place. According to Tulare County supervisor Allen Ishida, “California was forced to let 660,000 acrefeet of its freshwater supplies run out to the ocean. That was enough water to supply the entire Silicon Valley for two years.”

    Further curbs may come, on behalf of the delta smelt as well as other species. The USFWS and the California Fish and Game Commission are moving forward with threatened and endangered designations for Chinook salmon, steelhead, and the longfin smelt, presaging further water reductions for agriculture.

    The result of these irrigation pump shutdowns is that hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland are being forced out of production. Kern County authorities estimated that 145,000 of the 850,000 acres that are typically irrigated were idled or under-irrigated last year. The loss was pegged at $100 million in the county alone. A study by UC-Davis estimated San Joaquin Valley farm revenue losses to range from $482 million to $647 million. Total California agricultural economic losses could hit $3 billion this year.

    But those are just abstract financial numbers. Behind those figures are real people, farmers and business owners and families who are losing livelihoods and are being forced to uproot and flee. The UC-Davis study conservatively suggested 24,000 to 32,000 Central Valley jobs were destroyed by environmental rulings designed to protect endangered wildlife. It further estimated job losses could approach 80,000 or more if restrictions intensified. Communities are withering for a government-imposed lack of water. It is little exaggeration to say that the farmers of the most valuable farming region in the nation are facing extinction.
     
  19. Ralph Murphy

    Ralph Murphy Master of Mustachery

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    You know....during a drought acreage doesn't get irrigated. That's how it works. The cities get the water first, then ag.

    The argument made above is the one that contends that the drought was man made. There are signs to that effect all up and down highway 99 and interstate 5 in the valley.
     
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  20. Eugene Baker III

    Eugene Baker III Go UCR Highlanders!!!

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    EBII's walnut grove between Proberta (99E) and Los Molinos didn't make it...I sold it to a retired airline pilot who ripped it out and put up a mansion.