A view of Lake Oroville from the Lime Saddle area, near Paradise. The reservoir is at 41% of capacity.
The California Department of Water Resources announced Wednesday one of the smallest initial allocations of water from state-run reservoirs. The year's first allocation calls for recipients of these supplies, including Southern California water agencies, to receive just 5 percent of what they've requested for 2014.
Officials are basing the delivery amount on water levels in three reservoirs in Northern California: Lake Oroville, Lake Shasta, and San Luis Reservoir. All of them are roughly at or below 40 percent of capacity right now.
Still, it's a somewhat routine announcement. The first allocation of the year is typically conservative, because it comes out before what is usually the wettest part of the year. Half of the state's precipitation falls between December and February. The 2014 water allocation is likely to nudge upward if the past is any guide.
A downed tree smashed through a fence at Silver Lake reservoir, Dec. 1, 2011.
Drinking water in Los Angeles is the cleanest it’s ever been. But new federal regulations are requiring expensive changes to LA’s drinking water system.
A $230 million construction project, now in progress, will replace existing water storage in the city of Los Angeles. On Friday, the Department of Water and Power offered a rare glimpse at the Headworks reservoir, tucked between Interstate 5 and Griffith Park and a neighbor to Forest Lawn Cemetery.
“We really like the fact that you’ve picked this site,” DWP site manager Alex Raymon said to a colleague, “because our neighbors are very quiet.”
Councilman Tom LaBonge picked up on the joke. “Well I got ‘em to vote for it, and I got a hundred percent vote,” he added, to much laughter.
Raymon says it helps to have quiet neighbors. DWP crews are active between 3 a.m. and 8 p.m. most days, working to finish the first of two phases of Headworks by next November. The deadline is part of an Environmental Protection Agency mandate.
David McNew/Getty Images
Old barded wire and other artifacts are still scattered around the Manzanar War Relocation Center north of Lone Pine, Calif., where 10,000 Japanese-American citizens were confined during World War II
A large array of solar panels the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is proposing for the floor of the Owens Valley will get a public meeting in downtown Los Angeles Saturday.
In scheduling the meeting, the DWP has again extended the public comment period for the project it calls the Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch, which, as we reported a few weeks back, would send 200 megawatts of energy down an existing transmission line from the Eastern Sierra to the LA Basin.
Photovoltaic solar panels on tall metal poles would cover miles of city-owned land near the Manzanar National Historic Site north of Lone Pine. During World War II, the U.S. Government rounded up Japanese Americans and confined them in remote internment camps, including Manzanar.
Community groups, like the Manzanar Committee and the Owens Valley Committee, have criticized the project, in part, because they say the solar ranch will industrialize the area near the former camp and degrade its historical value.
Dept. of Water Resources
Much of the State Water Project is comprised of pipelines that carry water south.
Top officials from the state’s Department of Water Resources and the Metropolitan Water District warn that drought and dry conditions could reduce water supplies next year.
Southern California still has healthy reserves of water – for now. The Metropolitan Water District’s Jeff Kightlinger says upgrades to the region’s reservoirs mean we’ve banked enough water for a dry year.
The concern is the water sources that supply the local reservoirs. The states that feed the Colorado River are in drought, and the river’s two big reservoirs in Arizona, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, are less than half full.
The other major source of Southern California water, the State Water Project, is hamstrung by dry conditions and species protection that have limited water deliveries from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
People living near a controversial lead battery recycling plant in Vernon demanded answers from regulators and lawmakers about the facility's future during a tense four hour meeting Tuesday.
The government shutdown kept the Environmental Protection Agency away from the meeting. But the head of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, Debbie Raphael, showed up to face an angry crowd of nearly two hundred in the auditorium of Resurrection Catholic Church in Boyle Heights.
On Monday Raphael's agency announced it planned to drop efforts to close the plant operated by Exide Technologies. In exchange, Exide agreed to set aside nearly $8 million to clean up toxic pollution, limit future emissions, and provide blood screenings to concerned residents.
Raphael defended the agreement, stressing that Exide contributes jobs to the community. But she said that wasn't more important than operating safely.