Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

California Drought News: Toothless restrictions and reverse cow commutes

Joe Morris, owner of Morris Grassfed in San Juan Bautista, herds cattle up a hill in Hollister. He transported the cows from a ranch where there wasn't enough water to sustain them.
Joe Morris, owner of Morris Grassfed in San Juan Bautista, herds cattle up a hill in Hollister. He transported the cows from a ranch where there wasn't enough water to sustain them. Vinnee Tong/KQED

No suggestions for a new drought synonym, so I have to make up another one myself. (What's another word for reaching?) This week's: drydel. Like in the song:

Drydel, drydel, drydel
You turn lakes into clay
Drydel, drydel, drydel
No rain again today

  • Today's roundup starts by looking at water restrictions. Despite all our rumblings of dire situations, Amy Standen finds few water conservation orders have any teeth. (And I'm going to get a little radio nerdy here: Listen to how Standen starts off her piece. She somehow manages to make someone getting up to talk at a meeting interesting. That is bonkers.) (KQED)

Money:

  • Got an extra $200 million? You can buy up the first batch of bonds that will go up for sale to fund 30-mile-long water tunnels. The Metropolitan Water District is leading the sale, and some are saying it's a solid investment. (Bloomberg)
  • Davis residents are going to battle it out in the voting booth over water rates. A measure would reverse recent rate hikes that would more than double average water bills by 2018. (Sacramento Bee)

Moo-ving:

  • My favorite story of the day deals with cows and how ranchers are having to reverse long-held traditions. No longer are they bringing their herds west to get fat. California cattlemen are trucking their animals east to get to greener pastures:
The exact headcount for livestock on this cattle drive is not known. But a Reuters review of state agriculture department records filed when livestock cross state borders indicates that up to 100,000 California cattle have left the state in the past four months alone.

California has shipped out cattle before, but the current migration is far bigger and includes more of the state's breeding stock, which give birth to new calves and keep operations running year after year, said Jack Cowley, a rancher and past president of the California Beef Cattle Improvement Association. (Reuters)

Uncertain citrus:

  • Citrus growers are feeling ignored by Gov. Jerry Brown's recent anti-drydel decision. They say they haven't heard anything about future water deliveries, and they're getting mad. (The Packer)

Seriously, I'd love some suggestions for drought-o-nyms. I won't be able to keep coming up with gems like drydel.

How has your community been affected by the drought? Share your story with a photo on Twitter or Instagram. Tag it #mydrought. For more details on our photo project, click here. 

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