California WaterBlog

Subscribe to California WaterBlog feed California WaterBlog
A biologist, economist, engineer and geologist walk onto a bar...
Updated: 3 hours 59 min ago

An update on California fishes of ‘special concern’

October 22, 2015 - 8:00pm
By Peter Moyle Three-fourths of California’s native fishes are now officially designated as being in trouble, or potentially so. The good news is that not all of these species – 93 of the total 123 native fishes today – have … Continue reading →

Capturing El Niño for the underground

October 13, 2015 - 8:13pm
By Philip Bachand, Helen Dahlke, William Horwath, Thomas Harter and Toby O’Geen A much-anticipated “Godzilla” El Niño this winter may refill California’s drought-diminished reservoirs, but it won’t do much to restock the severely depleted aquifers we rely upon to get … Continue reading →

Water conservation for the birds

October 6, 2015 - 6:03pm
By Jay Lund People who save water like to know their conserving is doing some good, such as sustaining economic growth, building municipal reserves for longer droughts or supporting the environment. But many urban residents are concerned their water savings … Continue reading →

Time-lapse river videos expose nature in the raw

October 1, 2015 - 7:13pm
By Ryan Peek Thanks to its Mediterranean climate, California swings from one extreme to another — severe drought, raging wildfires, big floods. These forces often interact and amplify, as we saw all too well this past summer in the scorching of … Continue reading →

The banality of California’s ‘1,200-year’ drought

September 23, 2015 - 5:36pm
By Jay Lund California’s ongoing drought will continue to break records and grab headlines, but it is unlikely to be especially rare from a water policy and management perspective. Estimates of the current drought’s rarity range from once in 15 … Continue reading →

How research programs stack up — a photo essay

September 21, 2015 - 7:00pm
By Jay Lund Riding into work the other day, I was thinking how our understanding of hard problems requires understanding a lot of pieces and how those pieces fit together – sort of like how a pile of bricks gets … Continue reading →

For a change in Delta perspective, move a few feet

September 9, 2015 - 6:17pm
By Jay Lund Each year my family takes a week’s vacation in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta on our old sailboat. We often follow some Delta veterans who show us new places. As an engineering professor working on California’s water problems, … Continue reading →

Delta smelt’s unsung relative seems verging on extinction, too

August 30, 2015 - 10:00pm
By James Hobbs and Peter Moyle Another native fish of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta appears to be rivaling the cliffhanger status of the delta smelt. In the past two years, the lesser-known longfin smelt has slipped down to the single … Continue reading →

Guidance for putting new groundwater law on the ground

August 26, 2015 - 11:24pm
By Thomas Harter, Vicki Kretsinger Grabert and Tim Parker A group that helps shape California groundwater policy has proposed several ideas for state consideration in implementing the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The Contemporary Groundwater Issues Council of the … Continue reading →

Drought bites harder, but agriculture remains robust

August 18, 2015 - 11:30am
By Richard Howitt, Duncan MacEwan, Josué Medellín-Azuara and Jay Lund Today we release our second annual report estimating the economic impacts from prolonged drought. More than anything, the results of our 16-page analysis of the current growing season speak to … Continue reading →

La sequía azota con mayor fuerza mas la agricultura en California sigue en pie

August 17, 2015 - 3:23pm
Richard Howitt, Duncan MacEwan, Josué Medellín-Azuara y Jay Lund Ayer presentamos nuestro segundo reporte anual sobre el impacto económico de una sequía prolongada en California. Más que cualquier otra cosa, los resultados de nuestro análisis en 16 páginas sobre la … Continue reading →

The hard work of sustainable groundwater management

August 13, 2015 - 1:39pm
By Erik Porse Under California’s new groundwater law, local agencies must adopt long-term plans for sustainably managing basins subject to critical overdraft. Preparing these plans will be challenging, requiring collaboration and compromise among water users accustomed to pumping as they … Continue reading →

Napa County strings together a ‘living’ river

July 29, 2015 - 9:08pm
By Amber Manfree In the historic heart of Napa Valley, a moderate climate and the alluvial soils deposited by the Napa River create perfect conditions for world-class cabernets. An acre of vines here sells for around $300,000, or 25 times … Continue reading →

Ten realities for managing the Delta

July 23, 2015 - 9:51pm
This article was originally published Feb. 26, 2013 By Peter Moyle I have been working on Delta fishes for nearly 40 years. Increasingly, I have curmudgeonly thoughts about what is needed to make the ecosystem work better. Here I present … Continue reading →

Is California’s drought a ‘new normal’ ?

July 15, 2015 - 5:54pm
By Stephen Maples Many are wondering whether the current drought is the harbinger of a drier California with more frequent and longer multi-year dry spells. Some have already jumped to this conclusion. “This is the new normal,” Gov. Jerry Brown … Continue reading →

Virtual Water vs. Real Water in California

July 5, 2015 - 11:00pm
This article was originally published Feb. 27, 2014 By Jay Lund There has been considerable kvetching during this drought about California exporting agricultural products overseas, with some saying that this implies we are virtually exporting water that we should be using in … Continue reading →

Creeks that cool down as summer heats up

June 30, 2015 - 10:00pm
By Ann Willis and Andrew Nichols Summer has just begun and conditions on many of California’s drought-stricken rivers and streams are already looking grim for cold-water fish. Endangered winter-run salmon may not survive a repeat of last summer’s nearly total … Continue reading →

How to manage drought: Ask an economist

June 23, 2015 - 6:15pm
The economics of water scarcity is crucial to sustainable water management, particularly during droughts. California has long benefited from the insights of economists, though their ranks in state water agencies are thinning. Luckily, California has a wealth of young, talented … Continue reading →

Making the most of little water — with spreadsheets

June 14, 2015 - 11:00pm
By Jenny Ta and Joshua Viers It seems inevitable that increasing numbers of California farmers will see their claims to surface water suspended this growing season as the drought persists into a fourth year. The State Water Resources Control Board said … Continue reading →

Drought killing farm jobs — even as they grow

June 8, 2015 - 6:22pm
By Josué Medellín-Azuara, Richard Howitt, Duncan MacEwan, Daniel Sumner and Jay Lund With all the news about the drought drying up farm jobs, it seems paradoxical that California agriculture actually came out a bit ahead on employment growth last year. … Continue reading →