Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

California Drought News: Are you surprised San Francisco's not saving water?

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84783 full

Monday's drought news wishes it could sneak up on you and surprise you, not like a scary surprise but more like a fun birthday surprise.

  • This story's not gonna do it. The monthly national drought report showed that 100 percent of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought. “Things are not trending in the right direction,” Mark Svoboda, a scientist at the National Drought Mitigation Center, told Climate Central. (Scientific American)
  • Governor Jerry Brown made the rounds yesterday, telling ABC, CNN, and an audience at UC Davis in Sacramento that California is on the front lines of climate change — what with its heat, fire and drought. "We're getting ready for the worst," he said on ABC. Climate scientists and fire managers agree. (Al Jazeera America, ThinkProgress)
"The fires in California and here in Arizona are a clear example of what happens as the Earth warms, particularly as the West warms, and the warming caused by humans is making fire season longer and longer with each decade," said University of Arizona geoscientist Jonathan Overpeck. "It's certainly an example of what we'll see more of in the future." (Haaretz)
  • KQED's Molly Samuel reports on preparations among fire officials for what one of them calls a "good" season ahead...which is basically an extension of last year's fire season. (KQED)
  • Unusual, at the very least: WaterFX is a desalination company, but not the reverse-osmosis kind. They use solar power to boil water, separate out selenium and salts in a solid form, and make 93 gallons of fresh for every 100 of salty water, they say, in a central Valley pilot program. (Take Part)
  • Here's some good news for a change: while the drought means that "yields could be impacted for the current or future crops depending on the weather this year," this year California wine is plentiful. (Bloomberg)
  • "The good news is that officials already know how to get people to use less water. The bad news is that too few of them have acted aggressively enough." (Bloomberg View)
  • In the suburban Bay Area town of Pleasanton, they've now got a 25 percent mandatory cut over past use, with stiff fines for violators. Are you surprised that it's getting testy up there? Surprise! (SF Gate)
  • Water use in San Francisco Bay Area homes is at or above normal levels, despite pleas from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to cut it out:
The 10 percent conservation goal was met only six times over the past 18 weeks, according to the SFPUC. Water deliveries exceeded last year’s usage in six of those weeks, with water usage at or above the SFPUC’s five-year average in 10 of those weeks, according to water usage records that are updated weekly. SFPUC reservoirs are currently at 67 percent of capacity. (SF Examiner)

Are you surprised that northern California isn't as good at saving water as southern California? Let us know!

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