In response to California’s lingering drought, which continues to threaten the state’s crucial agricultural economy, state water regulators may force utilities to sell less water and raise customer rates.
The ongoing drought has resulted in hundreds of thousands of dead and dying trees across California. Cal Fire has responded to more than 5,700 wildfires this year alone – an increase of 23 percent from last year.
It has been nearly a decade since environmentalists and the federal government agreed to revive a 150 mile stretch of the San Joaquin River. Originally, the task of getting the river flowing year-round so salmon could swim to the Sierra Nevada foothills to spawn was to be complete in 2012. Officials now predict the project will be completed in 2022. However, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says that the section of the river in question will be flowing year-round by the end of the month—a major milestone for the project.
In March 2014, water flooded the Colorado River’s dry bed. This event, called a pulse flow, occurred when the Morelos Dam, near the United States–Mexico border and Yuma, Arizona, opened its gates and filled the dry bed for eight weeks. The event, similar to the spring floods that halted after the river was dammed, allowed water to reach the Gulf of California for the first time since 1997.
Residents in Weed, California, are challenging an Oregon-based timber company that is claiming rights to spring water on land that it owns but that has also supplied the town with drinking water for decades.