Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

California Drought News: Water fights, rights and lobbying Congress for quick action

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82342 full

Today's Dryku:

We all know it's true
That Congress can't make it rain
Can it pass a bill?


  • Last week, the Senate unanimously passed Dianne Feinstein's water bill. Now it has to be reconciled with a House version. Growers are urging Congress to work fast. (Sierra Sun Times)
  • James Patterson also urges quick action. Otherwise, he sees some, shall we say, far-reaching ripple effects:
[Food] aid disruption, seen as unjust to the needy nations, could breed anti-Americanism and result in terrorist actions against international U.S. companies and government agencies. Other foreign policy initiatives could also be complicated. (The Hill Congress Blog)

To frack or not to frack?

  • The state senate may decide to impose a moratorium on fracking while its impacts on the environment are examined. The Mercury News says its use of water should be part of the consideration:
Fracking for a single well takes more than a 100,000 gallons of water, roughly the amount a family of four uses in a year. Oil companies extract oil from shale by sending a mixture of water and chemicals under high pressure into geologic formations hundreds of feet underground. (San Jose Mercury News)

Water rights:

  • The Tuolumne River feeds water to both San Francisco residents and Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts. The irrigation districts' rights are superior to the city's, so looming curtailments mean San Francisco may have to stop storing water in the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. (San Francisco Examiner)
  • There's a war over water around the San Joaquin Valley. The west side farmers just won a skirmish against the east. (AP via Modesto Bee)

Quick hits:

  • Calmer weather means better news today for firefighters battling blazes in Mariposa. (AP via Modesto Bee)
  • The U.S. Climate Prediction Center says this summer will be hotter than average. Great. (Capital Press)

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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