Pacific Swell

Southern California environment news and trends

California Drought News: Navy showers, sudden oak death, and what a water bond should look like

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86918 full

Monday's news takes note of the fact that the US and Portugal took the first water break of the FIFA World Cup — it was more than 90 degrees after dark in the Arena Amazonia — and reminds you to never stop playing defense even in the 94th minute.

  • The Times editorial board comes out in favor of a water bond that's "well crafted" — which to them means:
Los Angeles needs a bond to help clean up the groundwater basin in the San Fernando Valley to make water caught and stored there safe and useful. It needs a bond to boost recycling projects. It needs a bond for, yes, the Los Angeles River, to ensure that the restoration effort provides more than just the nice amenity of a mid-city waterfront, but is also an ecologically sound project centered on storm-water recapture and actually puts to use water that would otherwise rush to the ocean. It needs a bond to bring 21st century technology to efficiency projects, to get more and better use out of less water.  Other areas of California need a bond for the same reasons. And all of those investments will reduce, not increase, demands on the delta. (LA Times Editorial Board)

The editorial aims to distinguish between a water bond and the Bay Delta Conservation Plan debate — or to most people, "you know, that thing about the tunnels" — just as the backers of the BDCP have done lately.

Lawmakers who have allowed the bond to become a proxy fight over the tunnels should refocus.
  • Alex Breitler reports on San Joaquin County's Groundwater Banking Authority, a group of agencies that are working to prioritize capital improvement projects — the kind that a water bond could boost. (Stockton Record)
  • Lisa Krieger follows the path of snowflakes from Sierra mountaintops to northern California (and specifically the Bay Area's) thirst with a profile of the Tuolumne River watershed and its thirsty dependents. (San Jose Mercury-News)

Fires are gonna be a key part of the drought news roundup now that we're officially in summertime.

  • We've had 2100 of 'em in California in 2014 so far, compared with 1250 in the same period in previous years. (KTLA)
  • San Bernardino fire officials are worried about a "possibly thunderous" fire season this they're preparing for it. (San Bernardino Sun)

And in other news:

  • An olive crop can grow with an acre-foot of water per acre. Any wonder olive oil is getting popular among some farmers? (Sacramento Bee)
  • Less water means less sudden oak death — which is good news for bay laurel trees, too. (SF Gate)
  • And the town of Outingdale in El Dorado county is spreading the word about "Navy showers" and other extreme coping mechanisms for drought. (Fresno Bee)

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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