Abruptly, a state emerging from the dust of three painfully dry years has been inundated with more water than it knows what to do with.
While the monitor’s report is modestly positive, early season storms can abruptly give way to a dry winter, and experts say it would take multiple years of significant precipitation to overcome deficits.
Long Beach Water Department officials have already implemented measures to cut back on water use, so it’s unclear for now what impacts the declaration will have on Long Beach residents.
December has delivered a powerful punch of storms to California. But the wet weather comes with a dry dose of reality: The state’s largest reservoirs remain badly depleted, projected water deliveries are low, wells are drying up, and the Colorado River’s water, already diminished by a megadrought, is severely overallocated.
As California and six other western states scramble to reach a deal to cut use of Colorado River water, what will the federal government do?
Officials discovered a leak in the 36-mile Upper Feeder pipeline, which delivers water from the Colorado River to Southern California, earlier this year.
Warning that the supply will shrink by 10% due to climate change, Newsom sets targets for recycled water and increased storage. But deadlines are distant, details are scant and there is no conservation mandate.
The water department’s Direct Install Gardens (DIG) program has already converted 16 low-income households’ lawns into drought-tolerant gardens for free.
Despite calls for conservation, the state’s water use went up dramatically in March—19% compared to the same month in 2020—and now Newsom is considering mandatory cutbacks.
The Coastal Commission voted unanimously to deny a permit for Poseidon Water to build a plant to produce 50 million gallons of water a day in Huntington Beach.