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Commentary: Let fish sell water during drought

During drought, California often loosens its fish protections in order to free up more water for cities and farms. The Center's Jay Lund and Peter Moyle question this practice in the latest California WaterBlog and the San Francisco Chronicle's Opinion pages, saying it is better for California's environment and economy to sell rather than give away the environmental water for free. 

A salmon success story during the drought

Average returns of fall-run Chinook salmon on the Shasta River in the past four years have quadrupled, even during the drought. No one knows for sure why. However, the condition of the habitat dramatically improved soon after cattle were fenced out of an ecologically important spring-fed tributary, Big Springs Creek. Ann Willis, a Center researcher who has monitored the changes for several years, tells the story to Capital Public Radio's environment reporter Amy Quinton.

Could California survive a mega-drought?

UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences Director Jay Lund told KXTL News 10 (ABC, Sacramento) Thursday that if California faced a 100-year drought, it could lose up to half of its agriculture.

"But most of the urban economy, while it would be painful, would get through pretty well," Lund said. "We'd certainly use a lot less water on our lawns, pay more for water, do a lot more water conservation, do a lot more waste water re-use."

Public speakers series: Get grounded on groundwater

Policymakers, hydrologists, legal experts, economists and water managers will discuss California's management of groundwater -- past, present and future -- in a series of nine presentations, starting Monday, Jan 5, at the UC Davis School of Law, Room 2303. All sessions open to public.

Yolo Bypass symposium now on instant replay

Miss last week's science symposium on the Yolo Bypass? Miss no more. Complete video coverage is now available, thanks to the Center for Aquatic Biology & Aquaculture.

The Dec. 9 event at UC Davis drew more than 200 for a daylong discussion on ways farmers and landowners might economically support habitat for native salmon and water birds on the 57,000-acre Sacramento River floodway. 

Center ecologists spotlight north Delta, Suisun Marsh

Several Center for Watershed Sciences researchers are presenting at this week's Bay-Delta Science Conference in Sacramento.

On Wednesday, ecologist John Durand, fish biology professor Peter Moyle and others are scheduled to present their latest findings on ecosystems in the north Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh.

UC Davis tapped for groundwater expertise

UC Davis water scientists are helping to shape a comprehensive groundwater management system for California, designed to halt the pump-as-you-please approach that’s sucking wells dry during the drought. Thomas Harter is helping to coordinate teams from the Center for Watershed Sciences and the UC Cooperative Extension Groundwater Hydrology Program.

Center's virtual mega-drought draws mega-media

The Los Angeles Times on Sunday led a page-one story with the Center's 2010 study of a synthesized 72-year California drought.  

Scientists used their CALVIN model to see how the state could respond to such an extreme drought using water trading and best-case estimates of costs and effects on water operations and demands.

The results were surprising. As the Times' Bettina Boxall reported, "The California economy would not collapse. The state would not shrivel into a giant, abandoned dustbowl. Agriculture would shrink but by no means disappear."

Center exhibits Tuolumne photos through Oct. 10

Students rafting through the Clavey Falls rapids on Tuolumne River

The Center is blessed with several researchers and instructors who double as photographers. Come see their work on display through Oct. 15 at the UC Davis Buehler Alumni Center art gallery. Directions

Titled Lessons from the Tuolumne, the exhibition shows students and researchers at work and play in the central Sierra's Tuolumne River watershed.

Five myths about California's drought

Shasta Lake on 8/25/2014

The Washington Post invited the Center's Richard Howitt and Jay Lund to bust some popular misperceptions about California's drought. See if your beliefs hold water under their scrutiny:

Photo: Shasta Lake on Aug. 25, 2014 looking west from Pit River Bridge. Source: Kelly M. Grow/California Department of Water Resources


Center study: State grossly over-allocated water

Ted Grantham and Joshua Viers

In a study published today, Center for Watershed Sciences colleagues Ted Grantham (left) and Joshua Viers report that California has given away five times more surface water than the state actually has, making it hard for regulators to tell whose supplies should be cut during a drought.

The scientists said California’s water-rights regulator, the State Water Resources Control Board, needs a systematic overhaul of policies and procedures to bridge the gaping disparity, but lacks the legislative authority and funding to do so.