After weeks of uncertainty and pressure from members of Congress, federal officials on Wednesday announced a plan for managing water releases from California’s largest reservoir this summer in a manner that will not involve cutbacks in farm water deliveries – at least if all goes as hoped. The good news for farmers may not bode well for endangered fish.
In a decision that could delay or complicate Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to build two huge tunnels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a Superior Court judge ruled Friday that a comprehensive management plan for the estuary is no longer valid.
It’s dire news as California heads into the hot summer months and fire season: Federal officials announced Wednesday they had documented 26 million additional dead trees in California’s southern Sierra Nevada in just the last few months.
Water releases are increasing at Shasta Dam, though it’s far from clear how fish and farmers will fare later this summer. Meanwhile, snow is melting faster than expected in the Sierra, and forecasters say a dry La Niña weather pattern is likely this winter.
With the storms earlier this year helping to refill lakes and reservoirs, a major effort led by the Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, state regulators, and many others diverted and percolated 11,000 acre-feet of stormwater from Cache Creek into the Yolo County canal system to recharge groundwater supplies.
Drought-stressed Capitol Park will get a $1.7 million reclaimed water project in the new state budget, with lawmakers putting aside recommendations to reject the idea because of the relatively small cost savings.
Despite a winter of fairly abundant rain and snow, federal regulators are considering a set of plans that would put north state reservoirs on a tight leash again this summer. Their aim is to keep two endangered fish species from going extinct.
Bernie Sanders, traipsing across far-flung regions of California as he seeks a comeback victory here next week, swatted at likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for minimizing the state’s water shortage and the effects of climate change.
Another legal challenge has been filed seeking to block the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s $175 million purchase of five islands in the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This time, San Joaquin County and a group of Delta farmers allege that the pending sale represents a breach of contract.