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Drought journal: Search for Sierra fish goes from bad to worse

August 18, 2014 - 6:50pm
  Is the drought hastening the decline of California’s native fish? Will they be able to recolonize once normal conditions return? To help find out, a team of researchers with the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences are taking the pulse of … Continue reading →

Getting through the dry times

August 3, 2014 - 5:18pm
California’s economy overall is weathering the worst drought in decades remarkably well, thanks in part to groundwater use and water market transfers. But as a recent UC Davis study noted, the resilience is tenuous because groundwater is treated like an … Continue reading →

Why utilities shy from mandatory water saving during a drought

July 30, 2014 - 8:26pm
By Jay Lund The State Water Board’s recent decision to outlaw some water-wasting activities under penalty of $500 fines helps alert urban residents and businesses to the seriousness of the drought. These water conservation actions, though, are fairly mild compared … Continue reading →

Reconciling ecosystem and economy

July 23, 2014 - 9:45pm
Ecologist Michael Rosenzweig kicked off a UC Davis series of public talks exploring a “reconciliation” approach to improving California’s aquatic habitat. Video: UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. A growing number of ecologists say we need to rethink how we go … Continue reading →

Weathering the drought by drawing down the bank

July 15, 2014 - 7:58am
By Richard Howitt, Josué Medellín-Azuara, Duncan MacEwan and Jay Lund Today, UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences economists join the California Department of Food and Agriculture in releasing a second, more comprehensive and forward-looking report estimating the effects of the … Continue reading →

Challenging myth and mirage in California’s drought

July 10, 2014 - 4:56am
In a July 6, 2014 op-ed for The Sacramento Bee, three prominent California water experts challenge some claims that they say are hindering the search for solutions to California’s water shortages. We reprint the commentary here with a sidebar on some of the … Continue reading →

Could California weather a mega-drought?

June 29, 2014 - 8:38pm
By Jay Lund In the past 1,200 years, California had two droughts lasting 120-200 years. Could the state’s water resources continue to supply enough water to drink, grow crops and provide habitat for fish with such an extreme, prolonged drought? … Continue reading →

Modernizing California’s groundwater management

June 22, 2014 - 10:01pm
“A broad consensus appears to be building among California water users and policymakers that it is high time to establish an effective, statewide framework for groundwater management.” — Groundwater Resources Association of California, Contemporary Groundwater Issues Council As California strains … Continue reading →

Will California’s drought extend into 2015?

June 15, 2014 - 8:36pm
By Jay Lund and Jeffrey Mount Debates over how to manage California’s critically dry water supplies this year have displaced most discussion about water next year. This year’s drought is bad, but another dry year that begins with even lower … Continue reading →

Should California expand reservoir capacity by removing sediment?

June 9, 2014 - 5:50pm
By Jay Lund Removing sediment from reservoirs is often suggested as a potentially better way to expand storage capacity than raising dam heights or building new reservoirs. This is a natural notion to explore given the cost and likely environmental … Continue reading →

Beyond bonds: Funding the governor’s Water Action Plan

June 5, 2014 - 9:49pm
Ellen Hanak, Brian Gray, Jay Lund, David Mitchell, Caitrin Chappelle, Emma Freeman, Dean Misczynski, James Nachbaur In late January, Gov. Jerry Brown released the California Water Action Plan, which outlines 10 strategic priorities for putting the state on a more … Continue reading →

Is shorting fish of water during drought good for water users?

June 3, 2014 - 10:29pm
By Jay Lund and Peter Moyle In drought years, California usually reduces “environmental water flows” — the amount of river flows needed to maintain aquatic ecosystems — to make more water available for farms and cities. The current drought has been … Continue reading →

Why California’s agriculture needs groundwater management

May 26, 2014 - 9:32pm
California’s agricultural prosperity increasingly depends on groundwater availability during drought. Global markets favoring high-value nuts, fruits and wine grapes are fueling a steady conversion of farmland from annual crops and pasture to orchards and vineyards. The growing profitability of these … Continue reading →

Severe drought impacts to Central Valley agriculture forecast this year

May 19, 2014 - 11:00am
By Richard Howitt, Josué Medellín-Azuara, Duncan MacEwan and Jay Lund This year’s drought will have severe impacts on irrigated agriculture in California’s Central Valley. To estimate this impact, we updated and applied the Statewide Agricultural Production (SWAP) model for estimated cutbacks in … Continue reading →

Time to revisit economics of dam removal

May 11, 2014 - 9:23pm
By Sarah Null In California, we ask water managers to do the near-impossible task of managing rivers for both environmental and economic objectives, which are often at odds. Where we have repeatedly failed to stem or reverse environmental problems, environmental … Continue reading →

Planning for the inevitable at Suisun Marsh

May 1, 2014 - 4:02pm
By Amber Manfree and Peter Moyle In Suisun Marsh, it seems, you can go back in time. You get a haunting sense of the vast marshes that once dominated central California’s lowlands. Sloughs flush with tule perch and Sacramento splittail bend … Continue reading →

A cheat sheet on the California drought

April 24, 2014 - 7:21am
By Jay Lund Here’s a primer to keep the water-cooler conversation flowing when the subject turns to the California drought. Just how dry are we? We cannot know exactly, but we have some good indications: Northern Sierra. Currently, precipitation is … Continue reading →

UC Drought Summit, April 25: Managing water scarcity in California

April 14, 2014 - 7:21am
Fellow Water Buffs, On April 25, the University of California will bring together a wide range of experts in the state Capitol for thoughtful discussion of drought and water supply issues. We are honored to host the daylong UC Drought … Continue reading →

Drought’s No. 1 lesson: Modernize water management

April 9, 2014 - 11:14pm
Jeff Mount, Ellen Hanak, Bruce Cain, Caitrin Chappelle, Richard Frank, Brian Gray, Richard Howitt, Katrina Jessoe, Jay Lund, Josué Medellín-Azuara, Peter Moyle, Leon Szeptycki and Buzz Thompson This year’s drought is testing how well California manages water during severe dry … Continue reading →

Funding sustainable groundwater management in California

April 3, 2014 - 12:31am
Ellen Hanak, Emma Freeman, Caitrin Chappelle, Brian Gray, Jay Lund, Dean Misczynski, Josué Medellín-Azuara, David Mitchell, Jeff Mount, James Nachbaur, Robyn Suddeth, Buzz Thompson One of the few current bright spots on California’s waterfront is that the drought seems to … Continue reading →