Capitol Alert

AM Alert: California officials prepare for fourth year of drought

As California’s drought stretches into a fourth year, snowpack was only 12 percent of normal when Frank Gehrke of the Department of Water Resources conducted the second snow survey of the season at Echo Summit, Calif. on Jan. 29, 2015.
As California’s drought stretches into a fourth year, snowpack was only 12 percent of normal when Frank Gehrke of the Department of Water Resources conducted the second snow survey of the season at Echo Summit, Calif. on Jan. 29, 2015. The Associated Press

As California enters its fourth year of a historic drought – rung in with record dry spells this January in many regions across the state – water conservation becomes more important than ever.

How did Californians do in December? The State Water Resources Control Board will get the latest update on daily water use per person and by community since implementing emergency regulations last summer during its bimonthly meeting, starting at 9 a.m. at the Cal/EPA Building on I Street. In November, Sacramento residents registered a huge 20 percent reduction compared to the same month in 2013 – eclipsing even Los Angeles, long considered a leader in water conservation.

Agriculture has been hit particularly hard by the drought, with fallow land, fewer jobs and smaller harvests. The State Board of Food and Agriculture will consider how to deal with the impacts during its meeting, 10 a.m. at the California Department of Food and Agriculture on N Street.

That economic hit is just one of many issues Felicia Marcus, chair of the state water board, is juggling as she leads California’s drought response. Jeremy B. White profiled Marcus and her daunting task over the weekend.

VIDEO: The cozy relationship between state regulators and PG&E presents the perfect opportunity for state Senate leader Kevin de León to follow through on his oversight promise, Dan Walters says.

FUELS OF THE FUTURE: California’s cap-and-trade program, low-carbon fuel standard and other regulations will be up for discussion at the Clean, Low-Carbon Fuels Summit, which brings together the clean transportation industry and Sacramento policymakers, 12:20 p.m. at the Capitol Plaza Ballroom on 9th Street. California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols will deliver the keynote address to open the summit, while de León wraps things up at 4:45 p.m. Sens. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, and Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, Assemblyman Rocky Chávez, R-Oceanside, and California Energy Commission member Janea Scott are also slated for panels.

KAMALA CASH: While other potential candidates to replace U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer are still deciding whether or not they’ll run, Attorney General Kamala Harris is ramping up her campaign, locking down endorsements and raising the millions that will likely be needed to win the race. Harris has her first Sacramento fundraiser tonight, 5 p.m. at the Sheraton Grand Hotel on J Street. Tickets range from $500 to $5,200.

READ MORE: Sacramento beats L.A. in water conservation

Amid California’s drought, water chief preaches conservation – and balance

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

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