Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

California Drought News: North vs. South

What a swale looks like — on Mars.
What a swale looks like — on Mars. NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

In celebration of Thursday, I've penned a drought haiku — a "dryku" — for y'all:

Sliced a lime today
No juice inside, only dust
Thanks, Wizentimer

Today's drought news runs from north to south — except in one case, in which some want water to do the opposite.


  • Merced County farmers got some good news this week. A new deal with state agencies will get growers an additional 8 billion gallons of water. They'll be taking it from Lake McClure:
Normally, the district is forced to stop diverting water when the lake reaches a level of 115,000 acre-feet, commonly referred to as the “minimum pool.” The new deal allows the district to reduce the lake level down to 85,000 acre-feet this year, MID officials said in a news release. (Modesto Bee)
  • Rain falls in the north, and the water flows down aqueducts to the south. Lauren Sommer writes about a proposal to reverse that in order to give relief to northern agricultural districts. (KQED)

Feinstein fight:

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein is unhappy with an editorial the Mercury News published this week that apparently puts the Emergency Drought Relief Act in the pocket of lobbyists. She writes to defend the proposed act. ( gives it a 20 percent chance of passing.)
Until you see the effects of this drought, it is difficult to grasp just how dire this emergency truly is. If we do nothing, I have little doubt that California is on its way to becoming a desert state. (San Jose Mercury News)


  • The Council for Watershed Health has pushed the benefits of swales, landscape features that collect runoff and funnel it back into the ground. They've got a test project going in Sun Valley. Gotta say, that's some really green grass in the video. (NBC 4 Los Angeles)
  • San Diego is headed towards declaring a drought watch. The city's Environment Panel will ask the full City Council to call for voluntary reductions in water usage. (San Diego Union Tribune)

Got a dryku of your own? Write it in the comments. You could be the next poet laureate.

No, you can't. 

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