Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

California Drought News: Groundwater, saltwater, and a golden lining to the drought cloud

Richard Tinker / U.S. Drought Monitor

Today's drought roundup looks at some of the secondary problems caused by our ongoing weather woes.

  • With less freshwater running down rivers and to the ocean, there's less pressure keeping salty seawater from moving further inland. That's why the Department of Water Resources is making plans to temporarily dam three channels off the San Francisco Bay. Plans are to get the $25 million dams in place as soon as May 1. (Contra Costa Times)
  • Dan Walters points out the issue of groundwater management:

California is one of a few states that don’t regulate groundwater. Instead, it has what the Legislative Analyst’s Office calls a “patchwork” of laws, local water agency rules and court decisions affecting groundwater use conflicts.

While state law encourages local agencies to oversee groundwater use and to recharge underground supplies, whether to turn on pumps is still largely a decision of individual farmers. (Sacramento Bee)

  • What happens when your water supply needs to stop for routine maintenance during a drought? Fallbrook farmers are going to find out soon. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
  • A new report says California's water system is underfunded in key areas by up to $3 billion:

These areas include safe drinking water in small, disadvantaged communities; flood protection; management of stormwater and other polluted runoff; aquatic ecosystem management; and integrated water management. (Public Policy Institute of California)

  • Somebody somewhere's going to be making a lot of money from this drought. Why not you? Tim Maverick points out two stocks that may see gains as a result of these dry times. (Wall Street Daily)
  • And finally, see that nifty map above? That comes from the U.S. Drought Monitor. You can keep tabs on how we're doing. (Hint: Bad) (U.S. Drought Monitor)
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