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   Spotlight Archive / 2014


Snowpack Water Content Below Average in First Survey
Were the mountains “half full” or “half empty” on December 30, when DWR manually measured snow courses in the Sierra for the first time this winter? The snow water content was more than twice as much as last year’s first survey, but statewide, the 5 inches of snow water equivalent was only 50 percent of the statewide average for the date. Precipitation from December storms, while encouraging, fell mostly as rain and not snow due to warm temperatures. What happens in the mountains this winter will influence whether California exits the drought in 2015. The next manual survey will be on or about February 1. (12-30-14)
DWR Photography - Kelly Grow
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Watershed Moments in 2014
In the midst of drought, DWR and California made significant water management gains in 2014. Historic legislation to ensure a sustainable groundwater supply was signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., voters approved a $7.5 billion bond to improve California’s water supply system and California Water Plan Update 2013 provided a roadmap for water managers well into the future. DWR also put a dent in the drought by awarding $200 million in Proposition 84 grants for drought-mitigation projects up and down the state. (12-22-14)
DWR Photography
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DWR Sails Delta Waters
DWR Chief Engineer Eric Santos at the helm of the San Carlos, DWR’s 56-foot research vessel, sails the waters of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Bay system monitoring conditions and collecting water quality samples. DWR biologists and water quality technicians on board assure DWR’s compliance with the State Water Resources Control Board’s water quality standards, monitor phytoplankton, zooplankton and benthos and keep an eye on such things as algae blooms. Built in San Diego, the San Carlos has navigated Delta waters since 1976. (12-17-14)
DWR Photography - John Chacon
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Director Cowin Highlights California Water Action Plan
DWR Director Mark Cowin highlighted California’s march toward water supply reliability and sustainability in a December 6 speech at the 102nd annual meeting of Sun-Maid Growers of California in Fresno. Noting California’s uncertain weather, periodic droughts, floods and climate change, Cowin stressed the importance of Governor Brown’s California Water Action Plan to firm up the state’s water supply for a growing population while protecting the ecosystem. Cowin said that in addition to recognizing that all of the state’s water resources are connected, the Water Action Plan emphasizes the importance of making conservation a way of life. “We will never have enough water to waste,” Cowin said.   (12-08-14)
DWR Photography - Florence Low
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Biggest Dam Project in the State
Some DWR projects are so big they almost take on a life of their own. The New Calaveras Dam construction project near Fremont has a history dating to the 1920s, when the dam now being replaced was built over a partially completed dam that collapsed during construction in 1918. The Division of Safety of Dams has been inspecting and approving work on the current project since the early 2000’s prompted by concerns of the dam’s seismic vulnerability. Scheduled for completion in 2018, the dam will be 210 feet high and 1,200 feet long at its crest. More than 10 million cubic yards of dirt will have been moved to build it.   (12-01-14)
DWR Photography - Florence Low
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DWR, Scripps Host Winter Outlook Workshop
As California contemplates the possibility of a fourth dry year, DWR hosted its seventh annual Winter Outlook Workshop November 20 - 21 at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. Michael Anderson and Jeanine Jones of DWR teamed up with nationally known scientists to discuss improvements in forecasting seasonal precipitation to facilitate drought preparedness and response. One of the most promising approaches for improving seasonal predictions is to develop the ability to forecast the large atmospheric river storms that provide much of California’s water supply. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center calls for wetter than average conditions in California in December.   (11-21-14)
DWR Photography - John Chacon
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DWR Boosts Water Delivery Flexibility
DWR has enlarged Crafton Hills Reservoir in Yucaipa, increasing operational flexibility in the East Branch Extension of the State Water Project’s California Aqueduct which conveys water to the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District and the San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The reservoir was topped off late last month at 240 acre-feet, up from its former capacity of 85 acre-feet. (11-17-14)
DWR Photography - Florence Low
Water Efficient Landscaping
With outdoor landscapes using the largest amount of water for homes, Californians are discovering ways to create low water-use landscapes. The University of California, Davis and DWR presented a Low Water-Use Landscaping Workshop at UC Davis on November 8. More than 150 Master Gardeners and other participants were taught about in-depth irrigation scheduling, statewide water conditions, new laws regarding landscaping and drought-resistant plants. Information also was given on converting landscapes and using the Water Use Classification of Landscape Species (WUCOLS) database at http://ucanr.edu/sites/WUCOLS/ to choose plants based on water needs. To attend future workshops, visit http://ccuh.ucdavis.edu/.   (11-12-14)
DWR Photography - Florence Low
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DWR Awards Drought-Relief Grants
Helping communities throughout California to cope with drought, DWR has awarded $200 million in grants to provide immediate relief and prepare for future dry periods. The Sacramento region received $14 million for 19 projects. The Sacramento Regional Water Authority was awarded $9,765,000 for 17 projects, including Sacramento River pumping station modifications (photo) to allow the intake of river water during historic low flows. The Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District received $4 million for two projects. Earlier this year, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. proclaimed a Drought State of Emergency, signed legislation to assist drought-affected communities and expedited funding to improve local water supplies. For more information on the grants, view http://water.ca.gov/irwm/grants/implementation.cfm and News Release.   (11-6-14)
DWR Photography - Kelly Grow
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California’s Strategic Water Plan Updated
Since 1957, the California Water Plan has served as the State’s strategic water management and planning roadmap. Today, October 30, DWR released the initial volumes of its latest Water Plan update, prepared over the past five years with input from hundreds of stakeholders. Update 2013 outlines California’s water challenges and details strategies to achieve responsible sustainability of our most precious resource for now and future generations. The Update is posted here: http://www.waterplan.water.ca.gov/cwpu2013/final/. To receive weekly Water Plan eNEWS, subscribe here: https://listserv.state.ca.gov/wa.exe?SUBED1=DWR_CWP_eNews&A=1 .   (10-30-14)
What Trees Need during the Drought
Lawns are going brown all over California as residents respond to the Save Our Water conservation call. But what about the trees growing in those newly brown patches? Lawns can come back from their apparent death, but once a tree dies, it’s gone forever. DWR’s Landscape Specialist Julie Saare-Edmonds teamed with UC Cooperative Extension Horticulture Advisor Chuck Ingels and Sacramento Tree Foundation Greenprint Regional Coordinator Anne Fenkner on October 28 to instruct homeowners on the proper care and watering of their trees. As trees go dormant in winter, slow and infrequent watering at the drip line – directly below the outer limits of a tree’s branches – will help keep it healthy. For more tips on how to help trees survive the drought, view http://investfromthegroundup.org/wp-content/uploads/Drought-infographic.jpg.   (10-28-14)
DWR Photography - Florence Low
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Not Lulled by Drought, DWR Holds Flood Drill
Don't let Mother Nature fool you. Catastrophic flooding can happen in the middle of a drought, and California is still at risk. It's happened before. That's our message as DWR trains the California Conservation Corps on flood-fighting techniques. Corps members are better prepared to fight floods anywhere across the state after this week's (October 22-23) Twitchell Island Flood-Fight Exercise, led by DWR in coordination with the Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services, Reclamation District 1601 and the U.S Army Corps of Engineers. It's California Flood Preparedness Week, and DWR wants you to "Be Aware, Be Prepared and Take Action." Learn more at www.water.ca.gov/ca-flood-preparedness/   (10-22-14)
DWR Photography - Florence Low
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DWR Environmental Scientists Make a Difference
More than 200 DWR Environmental Scientists gathered in Sacramento in October for the Department's 22nd Annual Environmental Scientist Workshop. Highlighted were the many individuals and programs that help DWR to protect, restore, and enhance California's natural and human environments while managing the state's water resources. The annual gathering allows environmental scientists to exchange lessons learned on projects such as the Clifton Court Forebay Predator Study, Feather River Salmonid Spawning Gravel Project and Suisun Marsh Tidal Restoration project as well as to hear outstanding speakers on habitat restoration and myriad other subjects.   (10-17-14)
DWR Photography - Kelly Grow
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The Year of Groundwater
DWR and other water officials highlighted the importance of groundwater management during the 23rd Annual Groundwater Resources Association of California Conference in Sacramento. Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. was awarded the “Kevin J. Neese Award” for his role in putting California's landmark 2014 groundwater management legislation on the books. Presentations at the October 15-16 conference covered drought conditions, groundwater monitoring, recycling and fracking. Speakers included DWR Director Mark Cowin, State Water Resources Control Board Chair Felicia Marcus, Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross and Association of California Water Agencies Executive Director Tim Quinn. To learn more about the event, visit http://www.grac.org/am14.asp.   (10-15-14)
DWR Photography - Florence Low
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Seismic Safety Work Beginning at Perris Dam
The Department of Water Resources this month will begin a three-year project to upgrade the seismic safety of Perris Dam in Riverside County. The project will include strengthening the dam's foundation and adding a stability berm on top of the enhanced foundation. Access to hiking trails, undeveloped campsites and the Big Rock climbing site on the southeast side of the lake will close on October 15 for the duration of the project. Boating, fishing and other recreation activities will continue at the popular Lake Perris State Recreation Area managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. For more information, visit http://www.water.ca.gov/news/newsreleases/2014/100214perrisdam.pdf or http://www.water.ca.gov/lakeperris/.   (10-08-14)
DWR Photography - Florence Low
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Water Year Ends and Begins Dry
Water Year 2014 ends today as one of California's driest, with little promise that Water Year 2015 which arrives tomorrow will be any wetter. With reservoir levels dropping daily – Lake Oroville's 30 percent capacity approaching the all-time low of 26 percent in drought year 1977 - conservation is the one immediate tool we have to stretch our supply of drinking, washing and irrigation water as we wait for uncertain winter storms. Visit Save Our Water at www.saveourwater.com (www.ahorrenuestraagua.com in Spanish) for quick, easy and effective conservation tips. >> news release >> Oroville aerials video.   (09-30-14)
DWR Photography - Kelly Grow and Paul Hames
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Native American Day Celebrates Water
"Water is Life – Water is Sacred" was the theme of the 47th annual California Native American Day observance at the State Capitol on September 26. DWR offered water conservation tips at the event sponsored by the California State Tribal Liaisons. Traditional Indian dances, cultural exhibits and educational booths highlighted the day in which some 50 state, federal and other agencies participated.   (09-26-14)
DWR Photography - Florence Low
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DWR Educates Students on Water Conservation
On September 24 and 25, DWR is focusing on enlightening middle school, high school and college students about water conservation and careers in water. Department employees are staffing a booth at the Career GPS Fair at Cal Expo. Aside from providing information about careers at DWR, students can spin the DWR water wheel for a chance at fun prizes and take home career and water conservation materials. At Sacramento State on September 24, DWR reached out to students as part of the university's Water Conservation Day, held in the campus quad. DWR also shared water conservation tips, Save Our Water brochures and shower timers.   (09-24-14)
DWR Photography - Kelly Grow and John Chacon
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Historic Groundwater Legislation Becomes Law
Ensuring a sustainable supply of California groundwater is the goal of legislation signed into law on September 16, 2014 by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. The three-year drought has increased groundwater extraction in many regions of the state and led to over-drafting and water shortages in some communities. The new law mandates the creation of local groundwater management agencies that will monitor extraction and create sustainability plans that must be in place in 20 years. DWR is given expanded responsibilities under the law, including requirements to revise groundwater basin boundaries and create guidelines for local agencies to write their Sustainable Groundwater Management Plans. (09-16-14)
Press Conference Video
DWR Photography - Kelly Grow
Getting Ready for the Inevitable
California may be ending a third consecutive dry water year, but flooding is never far from DWR employees' minds. Then there's wildfire danger. Wildfires pose the greatest threat to people and property during a drought. Earthquakes? They can create chaos without warning in rain or shine, and though some areas are hit harder than others, potential earthquake devastation is a concern statewide. September is National Preparedness Month, and the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services encourages all Californians to prepare for when – not if – the next emergency will occur. Identify your family's risk, build a crisis kit, create a family disaster plan and practice it. For information about National Preparedness Month, visit http://www.caloes.ca.gov/NewsandMedia/Pages/Preparedness-Month.aspx. (09-09-14)
Courtesy of California Governor's Office of Emergency Services
National Silver Jackets Team of the Year
The California Silver Jackets, an interagency flood preparedness team led by DWR, is the National Silver Jackets Team of the Year. The Silver Jackets Program was developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and other federal partners. It offers states an opportunity for federal, State and local agencies to address flood management issues as a team and reduce flood risk in their own backyard. DWR Flood Management Division Chief Keith Swanson recently accepted California's award plaque from USACE Lieutenant General Thomas P. Bostick, Commanding General and Chief of Engineers (left), and Command Sergeant Major Karl J. Groninger (right). For more information about California's Silver Jackets Team, visit http://www.nfrmp.us/state/newsworthy.cfm (09-04-14)
Photography - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District
Save Our Water Goes to the Ball Game
Most baseball fan can hear “Take me out to the ball game” and finish the song flawlessly. Representatives of DWR's Water Education Branch might well have been humming the tune last Saturday when they set up shop outside AT&T Park in San Francisco. The tent was part of the Giants' partnership campaign with Save Our Water– along with dozens of radio spots – to promote water conservation among the team's fans. The Oakland A's, Los Angeles Angels and San Diego Padres also are participating. DWR's team handed out shower timers and SOW conservation facts cards to fans arriving for the game. To cap it off, the Giants won!   (09-02-14)
DWR Photography - Florence Low
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Brown is the New Green
Join California's Save Our Water effort by cutting back on your home landscape watering. Lawns don't need as much water as many people think they do, and it won't hurt to let them go a little brown this summer as we prepare for the possibility of another dry winter. The Save Our Water campaign, sponsored by the Department of Water Resources and the Association of California Water Agencies offers more water saving tips at saveourh20.org   (08-25-14)
Easing Predation in the Delta
On the south side of Sherman Island northeast of Antioch, DWR is working to reduce predation at the Curtis Landing Fish Release Site, where salvaged fish from the Skinner Fish Facility are released daily back into the Delta. Trained divers have removed wood pilings adjacent to the fish release pipe with underwater equipment to lessen the protective covers for predator fish and improve construction access. Steel pipe piles have also been installed in water and on land using a barge crane to support a new equipment platform, fish release and water intake pipes, fish screen and track. In compliance with the 2009 National Marine Fisheries Service Biological Opinion, the Curtis Landing Fish Release Site is undergoing improvements to reduce predation rates by 50 percent, improve the overall survival of listed fish species salvaged at the Skinner Fish Facility and improve site security by December 2014.   (08-20-14)
DWR Photography - Kelly Grow
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Kids Connect Art to Climate
As the changing climate brings about a global struggle to maintain balance, kids connect art and science through their artwork created recently at the Crocker Art and Discovery museums in Sacramento. Art pieces selected from Sacramento and San Diego artists, including DWR employee Qinqin Liu, will be displayed at the first California Adaptation Forum in the Capitol on August 19 – 20, 2014. DWR's Climate Change program led the Art of Climate Adaptation. The forum sponsored by Local Government Commission and the State of California will include hundreds of California policymakers, practitioners and leaders. Some of the topics to be discussed include public health, energy, water, emergency management, agriculture, biodiversity conservation and coastal management issues associated with climate change and adaptation. More information here: http://www.californiaadaptationforum.org/   (08-11-14)
DWR Photography/Video (at forum) Kelly Grow, Zack Cunningham, Elissa Lynn
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Baseball Pitchers Pitch Water Conservation
As Water Year 2014 enters its 11th month and the drought tightens its grip on the state, Californians have every reason to conserve water. Some have, but as widely reported, water use actually increased in May among businesses and residences compared to the May average in the three preceding years. DWR and the Association of California Water Agencies began communicating the Save Our Water messages in English and Spanish on the radio using celebrities as pitchmen –baseball players who literally pitch for the Oakland A's, Los Angeles Angels (including Hector Santiago in photo), San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants. The baseball commercials, which continue through September, urge listeners to take shorter showers and reduce outdoor watering.   (08-05-14)

LA Angels' Hector Santiago Radio Spot (English):

SF Giants Javier Lopez Radio Spot (English):

SF Giants Javier Lopez Radio Spot (Spanish):

First photo courtesy of Angels Baseball | DWR Photography
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Oroville Field Division Enhances Spawning Habitat
Helping to improve spawning habitat for steelhead and salmon in the Feather River, DWR's Oroville Field Division engineers and biologists wrapped up the Feather River Gravel Supplementation and Improvement Project downstream of Oroville Dam, near the Feather River Fish Hatchery. Part of the 2006 Settlement Agreement for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license for DWR's Oroville Facilities, the project adds clean spawning gravel at key locations, recontours the riffles and reconnects a side channel with the lower Feather River. Along the Feather River's mile 66 and 67, 8,300 cubic yards of spawning gravel has been added to five spawning sites -- Moe's Side Channel, Cottonwood, Hatchery, Upper Auditorium, and Auditorium riffles.  (07-25-14)
DWR Photography - Florence Low
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Creating a New Path for the Carmel River
The rerouting of the Carmel River and removal of sediment in the channel began this summer, part of the plan to remove the seismically unsafe San Clemente Dam in Monterey County. DWR Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD) engineers and geologists regularly visit the site of California's largest dam removal project to ensure that all construction plans and specifications are executed correctly. A temporary pipe has been placed through the dam to create a dry area for the reroute work and keep water flowing downstream. The reroute and sediment removal is expected to wrap up in the fall of 2014. Demolition of the 106-foot dam is scheduled for the fall of 2015. To learn more about the project, visit http://www.sanclementedamremoval.org/(07-22-14)
DWR Photography - Florence Low
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Water Conservation Mandatory in California, Lady Gaga Calls for Conservation
With California's overall water use up one percent compared to May of last year and this third drought year worsening, Californians must follow mandatory water conservation measures adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board on July 15. Governor Brown urges all Californians to reduce their water usage by 20 percent and prevent water waste. To avoid fines, California's urban water users should not hose down sidewalks or driveways, wash vehicles using a hose without a shut-off nozzle or use ornamental fountains that don't recirculate their water. To help boost water conservation, Pop Singer Lady Gaga reminds Californians about the importance of saving water in her recent Public Service Announcement for the Save Our Water campaign. To learn ways to save water, visit http://saveourh20.org   (07-17-14)
Water Conservation Tips Taught at California State Fair
As the California State Fair kicks off July 11 at Cal Expo in Sacramento, DWR will educate visitors at two Save Our Water exhibits from July 11 to 27. A new indoor exhibit - simulating a house with three rooms - is located in the Counties Building with a kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. Fair-goers can walk through to see different ways of saving water indoors. The Department's award-winning outdoor exhibit featuring water-wise garden beds with drought-tolerant plants is also on display in the Farm section. On Kids Days, Tuesdays, July 15 and 22, Radio Disney will partner with DWR to host a brief water conservation show in the Farm section. >>News Release of Saving Water at State Fair  (07-11-14)
DWR Photography - Florence Low, Kelly Grow
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Landscape Workshops Aim to Boost Irrigation Conservation
On June 25th, the Department of Water Resources held a Landscaper's Workshop in Walnut Creek. This workshop is one of many held across the state to help the landscape industry reduce water use through improved system efficiency. English and Spanish workshops are conducted in separate sessions, including a sprinkler efficiency demonstration. These workshops are especially important to help reduce water use in light of California's severe drought. For information on future workshops, visit http://ccuh.ucdavis.edu   (07-07-14)
DWR Video Unit - Zack Cunningham
Celebrate Fourth of July at Lake Oroville
You'd have to search far and wide in Northern California to find a better place than Lake Oroville to watch the free Fourth of July fireworks. Oroville Dam – the tallest dam in the United States – is expected to attract up to 12,000 people this year for the “Lake Oroville Dam Veteran Fourth of July Fireworks Show.” DWR employees will assist at the event coordinated by DWR, the Oroville Area Chamber of Commerce, California Department of Parks and Recreation, California Highway Patrol, CAL FIRE and other State and local agencies. Fireworks will be launched from a barge on the lake, and boaters will be allowed to view the festivities from the lake. >> Fourth of July Brochure   (07-03-14)
DWR Photography - John Chacon
Don't Waste Summer
As California's drought extends into the hot summer months, Californians need to use water wisely every day at home and at work. DWR and the Association of California Water Agencies launched the "Don't Waste Summer" campaign on June 23 to offer daily water conservation tips, such as turning off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving, using a broom instead of a hose, running dishwashers and washing machines only when full and taking five-minute showers. More tips can be found at http://saveourwater.com/ "The drought is having a huge impact across the state, and recent reports tell us that all of us can conserve more," said DWR Director Mark Cowin. "It's important to understand that even things that seem relatively small will add up to have a big impact when it comes to water conservation."   (06-30-14)
DWR Photography - Kelly Grow / John Chacon
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Landscapers to Learn Drought Survival
Management of California's three-year drought has many disciplines, and one of the potentially most promising is achieving better water conservation in urban landscapes. DWR's Water Use and Efficiency Branch is in the middle of that effort. Senior Environmental Scientist Julie Saare-Edmonds, among others, is collaborating with the California Center for Urban Horticulture at the University of California, Davis to conduct workshops for professional landscapers around the state. Nearly 400 professionals have attended three workshops so far, and two were scheduled this week in Walnut Creek and Fresno. The sessions are conducted in both English and Spanish. For future workshops to be held in July, visit http://ccuh.ucdavis.edu/   >> News Release of Event.   (06-27-14)
DWR Photography - Kelly Grow
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Conference Covers a Whole Lot of Water Issues
DWR is represented at the American Water Works Association's Whole Water Conference, which began June 24 in Monterey. The conference explores the challenge of managing California's drinking water resource while protecting the environment, even as the drought imposes its own realities. Tracie Billington, a member of DWR's Drought Team and Branch Chief of Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM), told water managers about IRWM's drought fund, including the $200 million available in Proposition 84 bond funds. DWR's Water Use and Efficiency Branch Chief Diana Brooks addressed water conservation priorities. For information on the conference and the AWWA, visit http://ca-nv-awwa.org/canv/web.   (06-25-14)
DWR Photography - John Chacon
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DWR Rides High During Bike Month
The results are in and with a total of 43,057.5 miles, DWR ranked 4th out of the 1,308 registered organizations tracking their cycling miles during the Sacramento region's May is Bike Month. The campaign, organized by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments and the region's transportation management organizations and associations, is aimed at increasing bicycling in the Sacramento area, as well as reducing traffic and improving air quality. This year – DWR's ninth year participating -- the Department had 203 registered employees, including seven teams, who took part in the challenge. DWR's top three riders were Office of Chief Counsel's Assistant Chief Counsel Spencer Kenner with 1,497 miles, Division of Technology Service's Staff Information Systems Analyst Stephanie Pettitt with 1,151 and Flood Management's Chief of the Flood Project Inspection Section David Pesavento with 1,102. See May is Bike Month statistics at: http://www.mayisbikemonth.com/challenges_emp.asp?sizeMed=on&sizeLarge=on.   (06-20-14)
DWR Photography - Kelly Grow
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DWR Speakers Highlight Water Challenges
DWR sharpened the focus on water management challenges during the Golden State Water Summit in Sacramento. In a keynote address, Deputy Director Paul Helliker on June 18 discussed strategies and initiatives for dealing with uncertainties, including the possibility of a continuing drought. Principal Engineer Kamyar Guivetchi reviewed past droughts and impacts to water supply of the current, three-year drought. Richard Mills, DWR water recycling and desalination chief, discussed renewed interest in desalination due to dry conditions. DWR shared the spotlight with more than 30 other speakers during the June 17-19 summit organized by Infocast. For additional information visit: http://www.infocastinc.com/events/ca-water   (06-18-14)
DWR Photography - Florence Low
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State Capitol Saves Water
State Capitol lawns are turning brown in response to Governor Brown's call for a 20 percent reduction in water use. Other landscape changes at the Capitol include replacing inefficient sprinkler heads with drip irrigation and adding mulch to flower beds and tree wells on the grounds of the oldest arboretum west of the Mississippi. All Californians can help meet the 20 percent water use reduction goal through such simple practices as turning off the faucet while brushing their teeth and only running washing machines with full loads. With the average Californian using 196 gallons of water per day, a 20 percent reduction in water use can be achieved by saving 39 gallons per day. For more tips on how to save water, visit http://www.saveourh2o.org/   (06-13-14)
DWR and Department of General Services Photography
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Drought Discussed at Visitor Center
DWR Guide Jana Frazier discusses “Drought Denial, Drought Survival” at 7 p.m. June 11 at the Oroville Visitor Center. As a lecturer in the California State Parks Summer Speaker Program, Frazier reviews the challenges of drought, lessons learned and how new technologies can help people conserve water. The admission-free, 13-week lecture series runs through August with speakers discussing topics from the construction of Oroville Dam to Bank Swallows and Bigfoot. For information, contact the Oroville Visitor Center at (530) 538-2219 or click on http://www.water.ca.gov/recreation/locations/oroville/visitorctr.cfm   (06-11-14)
DWR Photography
BDCP Comment Period Extended
The public has gained an additional six weeks to comment on the state's proposal to provide a more reliable water supply for California and also protect, restore and enhance the ecosystem of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The Natural Resources Agency recently announced that the public comment period on the Draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan and its Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement would be extended from June 13 to July 29. BDCP documents were first released for official public review and comment in December 2013. The comment period has been extended twice. For more information about the plan, view BDCP Highlights brochure EIR/EIS Highlights brochure. To learn how to comment, visit www.baydeltaconservationplan.com   (06-09-14)
DWR Photography - Florence Low
Water Officials Focus on Drought
Facing unprecedented challenges from three consecutive years of drought, state and federal water officials gathered at the Sacramento Convention Center on June 4 for a briefing sponsored by DWR and the Water Education Foundation. After opening remarks by DWR Director Mark Cowin, DWR's Deputy Drought Manager Jeanine Jones compared the current drought to earlier dry periods, Bay Delta Office Chief Paul Marshall reviewed institutional constraints on water operations, Principal Engineer John Leahigh discussed State Water Project operations and Deputy Director Paul Helliker covered evolving responses to the dry conditions. Moderated by DWR Chief Deputy Director Laura King Moon, a panel discussed plans for a potential fourth consecutive dry year in 2015. Other speakers included representatives of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, State Water Resources Control Board and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.   (06-04-14)
DWR Photography - John Chacon
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Romero Visitors Center Reopens
Romero Visitors Center reopened this week after a 10-day closure for renovations. Located next to San Luis Reservoir along Highway 152 in Merced County, the center features exhibits of the area's history, dam construction and State Water Project construction and operations. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day). For more information, call (209) 827-5353 or visit: http://www.water.ca.gov/recreation/locations/sanluis/   (05-29-14)
DWR Photography
Tree Rings Link to Droughts
Thousand-year tree-ring reconstructions of river flows prepared by the University of Arizona for DWR are highlighted this week at a Scripps workshop in San Diego. The workshop, led by DWR Deputy Drought Manager Jeanine Jones, is to examine patterns of climate variability that may provide predictive capability for drought or help support climate change modeling. The workshop focuses on a periodic wet/dry oscillation seen in parts of historical and paleo records in the West, particularly in the Colorado River Basin. DWR's State Climatologist Michael Anderson also participated in workshop. Joining DWR at this event are partner scientists affiliated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments program. The tree-ring report is available at http://www.water.ca.gov/waterconditions/docs/tree_ring_report_for_web.pdf
>> Reconstructed Streamflows chart   (05-27-14)
DWR Photography
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DWR Discusses Drought with Tribes
DWR's Tribal Policy Advisor Anecita Agustinez participates on a panel about “Tribal Engagement for Drought from the State perspective.” The event was sponsored by the American Indian Chamber of Commerce at the Thunder Valley Resort in Lincoln. She provided an update to California Tribal communities on how they might qualify for funding available through DWR to assist Tribes with infrastructure development during the drought. The event also featured sessions on energy, telecommunications and water development.   (05-21-14)
DWR Photography - Florence Low
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Understanding Drought Impacts
As California faces a third summer of drought, Dave Todd with DWR's Water Use & Efficiency Program provided an overview of the impacts of California's drought on the economy, environment and energy to water leaders at the American Water Works Association's (AWWA) May 19 Drought Workshop in West Sacramento. The Governor's California Water Action Plan and his two Proclamations were also covered. Dave highlighted drought tips and tools, such as grants, water conservation phone apps, the 2008 DWR Urban Drought Guidebook and California Irrigation Management Information System. Other speakers included representatives from Brown and Caldwell and the AWWA California-Nevada Section. Dave will also speak at the AWWA Drought Workshop in Rancho Cucamonga on May 21.   (05-19-14)
DWR Photography - Kelly Grow
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Preparing for the Future
Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom brought his technology and institutional change message to the Resources Building Auditorium on Monday, May 12 as a guest of the DWR Enterprise Geographic Information Systems Committee. “The world is reordering,” Newsom often tells audiences as he endorses a cultural shift within government from a top-down hierarchical model to one based on collaboration. “Government leaders need to recognize this shift and orient all of our systems to be participatory platforms,” he has said. ”Folks within agencies and departments have a remarkable capacity to lead this movement.” Director of the Governor's Office of Planning and Research Ken Alex and DWR Deputy Director Gary Bardini provided opening remarks. A question-and-answer session was moderated by Tom Lupo, Deputy Director, Data Technology Division of the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Newsom's talk was has been archived at http://dwr.videossc.com/.   (05-12-14)
DWR Photography - Kelly Grow
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Californians Don't Waste Water Tips on the Radio
While driving home or cooking dinner, Californians are listening to tips on how to save water through the Save Our Water statewide radio campaign that was launched this week. “By now we're all aware it's going to be a difficult and dry summer season, and it's essential for us to work together in saving water,” said Mark Cowin, Director of the Department of Water Resources. As part of the ‘Californians Don't Waste' campaign, the radio ads will run until June in the Bakersfield, Bay Area, Fresno, Inland Empire, Los Angeles metro, Modesto, San Diego, Sacramento and Stockton media markets. Radio advertisements will be available in English and Spanish. For simple, every day water conservation tips, visit saveourh2o.org/
>> Listen to the radio ads here on our Vimeo channel!   >> News Release Link  (05-08-14)
May is Save Our Water Month
As drought-parched California moves into another long, hot summer, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has designated May as Save Our Water Month. “As California approaches the summer fire season in the throes of a drought, I call on all Californians to take a thoughtful approach to water usage and conservation,” stated the Governor. DWR will be promoting water conservation at events, including Oroville's Feather Fiesta Days on May 10, the City of Corona's Garden Festival on May 17 and the Silver Dollar Fair in Chico on May 22. Simple things Californians can do to save water include turning off water when brushing teeth, sweeping driveways rather than using the garden hose and installing low-flow showerheads. For more tips, visit Save Our Water at www.saveourh20.org.  (05-05-14)
News Release of Save Our Water Month Events
DWR Photography
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Meager Snowpack Confirms Bleak Water Supply
Today's snow survey measurements came in dismally low. The statewide survey showed snowpack water content at 18 percent of normal for the date, with the northern Sierra snowpack that helps fill the state's major reservoirs at a mere 7 percent. Just as telling was the April 1 survey that found statewide water content at only 32 percent of normal at the time of year it normally is at its peak before the spring melt. Today's survey is the final of the year. DWR's Frank Gehrke of California's Snow Surveys briefs reporters on the May 1 snow survey off Highway 50 near Echo Summit.  (05-01-14)
News Release
DWR Photography - Zack Cunningham
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First Gate for Folsom Dam Auxiliary Spillway
DWR Director Mark Cowin and other officials celebrate the arrival of the first massive gate for Folsom Dam's auxiliary spillway. The $833-million Folsom Dam Joint Federal Project (JFP), a partnership among the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, DWR, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board and the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, will help achieve the goal of a 200-year level of protection for the Sacramento metropolitan area. The State has provided close to $130 million of its $204 million contribution from the Proposition 1E fund to the project. With the control structure at 70 percent complete, the overall project is 40 percent complete and slated for completion in 2017. The auxiliary spillway will have six huge bulkhead gates, like the one just delivered, and six additional tainter gates.  (04-28-14)
DWR Photography - Kelly Grow
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Gearing Up for Mussel ‘Season'
As we enter California's warmer months, DWR is increasing monitoring for invasive quagga and zebra mussels at 19 locations within the State Water Project (SWP). At each of the sites - starting March and lasting through fall -- staff will collect water samples bi-monthly, primarily at fixed water quality stations. If the destructive mussels are found in the sample results, DWR will isolate the infested area to limit damage by the mussels to SWP infrastructure and water operations. Invasive mussels were first detected in California waters in 2007. To date, they have not been found in SWP waters. For more information about invasive mussels, visit http://www.dfg.ca.gov/invasives/quaggamussel/.  (04-21-14)
DWR Photography - John Chacon
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Californians Don't Waste
Kicking off this spring, seven ads -- with conservation as the key message -- will be circulating the state. They may be spotted on a billboard along the eastern end of the Bay Bridge freeway, on local water district outreach materials or perhaps trending on social media. The graphics are part of Save Our Water's “Californians Don't Waste” campaign, designed to alert people of the many ways to save water. With the current water year tracking to be ranked fourth driest on record, conservation is vital to ensuring sufficient water in the coming years. Visit http://www.saveourh2o.org/ for more water saving tips.  (04-09-14)
Despite Storms, Snowpack Still Thin
California's snowpack remains far below normal even with recent storms. Along with scant winter rainfall, today's (April 1) snow survey pushes this Water Year further toward one of the driest on record. The water equivalent of the statewide snowpack has increased about 7.2 inches since the season's first survey on January 3, but the new reading of 9.2 inches is only 32 percent of the average April 1 measurement when the snowpack normally is at its peak before the spring melt. Northern California precipitation in March was above the monthly average, but March was no “miracle,” and the drought continues. The year's final snow survey will be on May 1. (DWR's Frank Gehrke of California's Snow Surveys conducts snow survey with Nicole Meyer-Morse of CalEMA and Josh Nelson of the California Department of Finance.)  (04-01-14)
DWR Photography - John Chacon
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Safeguarding Fish and Agriculture
To preserve agriculture, flood protection and wildlife habitat, the Knaggs Ranch project completed this month will help determine if floodplains doing double duty growing rice and other crops can also be used as nurseries for salmon. In the northern reaches of the Yolo Bypass, 45,000 salmon fingerlings from the Oroville Fish Hatchery were planted on 20 acres of flooded rice fields for six weeks. Salmon were then released, and migrated to the ocean to mature before returning to their native waters. In the third year of the study by DWR, the University of California Davis Center for Watershed Sciences and a private partnership of farmers, the results found that both fish growth and survival were excellent.  (03-25-14)
DWR Photography - John Chacon
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Romero Overlook Visitors Center Open
DWR's Romero Overlook Visitors Center has reopened after a three-week refurbishment project. The center – a popular highway stop that features educational exhibits about the State Water Project -- overlooks San Luis Reservoir, the nation's largest off-stream reservoir. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and only closed New Years, Thanksgiving and Christmas, the center is located along Highway 152 in Merced County. For more information about the center, call 209-827-5353.  (03-19-14)
DWR Photography - John Chacon & Kelly Grow
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A Safer Route for Fish
DWR is using new technology to keep migrating salmon on the straight and narrow in the Delta. A steel panel suspended from floats alters Sacramento River currents near Walnut Grove to discourage young salmon on their way to the Pacific from taking a detour into Georgiana Slough which leads them into the maze of the interior Delta and eventually to a dead-end at water export pumps. DWR's Bay-Delta Office will evaluate effectiveness of the barrier through May.  (03-13-14)
Video credit: DWR Film/Video Unit
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Shut off Sprinklers
Recent rainy weather didn't end California's drought, but it brings plenty of water to halt outdoor watering for several weeks. DWR, local water leaders and University of California Cooperative Extension staff together urge all residents, business owners and government agencies to shut off sprinkler and irrigation systems and resume when soil dries. "Three dry years in a row have left our major reservoirs low, and we need to conserve those supplies in case drought conditions persist into the next rainy season. There's no need to water lawns, parks, median strips or any landscaping already soaked by these recent storms," said DWR Director Mark Cowin. As part of the drought proclamation on January 17th by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., California residents should conserve water by 20 percent in their homes and businesses. To learn ways to save water outdoors, visit:
>> saveourh20.org     >> DWR News Release     >>Turn Off Your Sprinklers' Press Conference (video)  (03-06-14)
DWR Photography - Kelly Grow
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Snowpack Boosted, but Drought Remains
As California's drought marks 2014 with a scant snowpack and dangerously low reservoirs, DWR's snow survey team on February 27 records a slight boost in the snowpack. Despite the new snow, however, surveyors report snowpack water content is only 24 percent of normal for the date and 21 percent of the April 1 seasonal average. Reservoirs also remain low. Lake Oroville, the State Water Project's principal reservoir, is at only 39 percent of its 3.5 million acre-foot capacity. (DWR's Frank Gehrke of California's Snow Surveys performs snow survey with California Legislative fellows Toni Lee and Karen Morrison.)  (02-27-14)
Electronic snowpack readings are available on the Internet at: http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cdecapp/snowapp/sweq.action
News Release: http://www.water.ca.gov/news/newsreleases/2014/022714_snowsurvey.pdf
DWR Photography - John Chacon and Kelly Grow
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REMOTE SENSING APPLICATIONS TO HELP WITH DROUGHT
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and DWR in a joint partnership present ways to improve monitoring and managing of California's water resources during drought conditions. The free workshop on February 25-26 covers use of remote sensing in managing water resources, measuring drought impacts, detecting ground subsidence, tracking the formation of atmospheric rivers and other applications. DWR's Interstate Resources Manager and Deputy Drought Manager Jeanine Jones and NASA Scientists speak during the workshop. >> News Release/Agenda  (02-25-14)
DWR Photography - Kelly Grow
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Romero Visitors Center Closed for Three Weeks
DWR's Romero Visitors Center, located along Highway 152 near San Luis Reservoir in Merced County, will be closed from February 24 to March 16, 2014 due to a refurbishment project. The center, completed in 1972, provides educational information about the San Luis Joint-Use Complex, which was developed and constructed to combine State-federal operations. Part of the complex, San Luis Reservoir, is the largest off-stream reservoir in the United States.  (02-20-14)
DWR Photography
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Using Water Wisely
California's dry conditions renew the need to save water. Californians should pitch in and cut back on lawn watering, keep showers short, run only full loads in washing machines and dishwashers, fix leaks, and consider water-wise landscaping. For more tips on saving water, go to http://www.saveourh2o.org/ or view ”Real People Real Savings” videos at http://www.saveourh2o.org/real-stories.  (02-11-14)
DWR Photography
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Final Open House
The Bay Delta Conservation Plan's Open House, last of 12 statewide public meetings, takes place tomorrow, February 12 in Clarksburg from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Clarksburg Middle School, 52870 Netherlands Rd, Clarksburg. Project team members at informational exhibits will be available for “one-to-one dialogues.” These meetings are part of the120-day public comment period ending April 14, 2014 to allow people to review and comment on the plan released in December 2013. The BDCP offers a comprehensive plan for restoring ecosystem health in the Delta and securing reliable water supplies for California. For more information about the plan, view BDCP Highlights brochure EIR/EIS Highlights brochure.  (02-11-14)
State Water Project Allocation Cut to Zero
With no end to California's drought in sight, DWR Director Mark Cowin announced last week (January 31) that the State Water Project allocation to all 29 public water agencies was being cut to zero for the first time. “If we are to have any hope of coping with continued dry weather and balancing multiple needs, we must act now to preserve what water remains in our reservoirs,” said Cowin. SWP water will continue to be delivered where necessary to meet health and sanitation needs, as will “carryover” water previously stored by local agencies.  (02-04-14)
Video credit: DWR Film/Video Unit
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Snow Pretty But Too Little
Freshly fallen snow from late-arriving storms brightened the scenery for DWR snow surveyors today (January 30), but did little to dent California's record drought as it pushes into its third consecutive year. Manual and electronic readings today record the statewide snowpack's water content at only 12 percent of average for the date and a mere 7 percent of the average April 1 measurement when the snowpack normally is at its peak before melting into streams and reservoirs to provide about a third of the water used by California's cities and farms. >>Snow Survey #2 Video  (01-30-14)
DWR Photography - John Chacon
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California's Final State Water Action Plan Released
As California experiences record dry weather, the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Food and Agriculture today (January 27) released the final California Water Action Plan. The plan that includes 2014-15 budget proposals, implementation efforts and updates from the public and stakeholder comments, guides the State towards enhancing water supply reliability, restoring damaged and destroyed ecosystems and improving the resilience of our infrastructure.
The Governor's proposed budget would provide $472.5 million in Proposition 84 funds to DWR for integrated regional water management. It also allows DWR to better monitor California's groundwater resources, which provide much of California's water supply in dry years.
“It is a tall order. But it is what we must do to get through this drought and prepare for the next,” said Governor Brown in his 2014 State of the State address.   >>California Water Action Plan.  (01-27-14)
DWR Photography - John Chacon (Folsom Lake–photo 1 and 3) / Paul Hames (Lake Oroville-photo 2 and 4)
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Governor Brown Declares Statewide Drought Emergency
With 2013 the driest year in California recorded history and an expectation of a third consecutive dry year, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today proclaimed a State of Emergency to focus Californians' attention on the need to conserve water. The Governor called for a voluntary statewide 20 percent reduction in water use. “We can't make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California's drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas,” said Governor Brown. “I've declared this emergency and I'm calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible.” (Lake photos of Oroville, Folsom and Shasta.) Drought State of Emergency Proclamation at http://gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=18368.  (01-17-14)
Photography: Justin Short (Office of the Governor) and Paul Hames (DWR)
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Bay Delta Conservation Plan Public Meetings
Public Meetings for the draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) begin today, January 15 in Fresno. As part of the 120-day public comment period ending April 14, 2014, the dozen public meetings throughout California will allow people to submit comments in open house format that includes informational exhibits and project team members on hand for one-on-one discussions from mid-January to mid-February. Other locations include Bakersfield, Stockton, San Jose, Redding, Fairfield, Walnut Grove, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Ontario, San Diego and Clarksburg. The BDCP aims to restore ecosystem health in the Delta and secure reliable water supplies for California. To learn more about the Draft BDCP and Draft EIR/EIS, go to BDCP Highlights brochure EIR/EIS Highlights brochure. For meeting information, visit http://baydeltaconservationplan.com/PublicReview/PublicOpenHouseMeetings.aspx  (01-15-14)
Drought Preparedness and Water Transfers Forum
DWR Director Mark Cowin and DWR's Drought Preparedness Manager
Bill Croyle highlight the importance of water transfers and drought preparedness during the California Department of Food and Agriculture's Board Meeting in Sacramento on January 7. With the possibility of a dry 2014, State, federal and local officials gathered to discuss issues of concern to California's agriculture. The forum sponsored by California State Board of Food and Agriculture also included speakers from the State Water Resources Control Board, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Northern California Water Association, Westlands Water District, Fresno Irrigation District, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA Farm Service Agency, Delta Stewardship Council and Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District.  (01-07-14)
DWR Photography - Paul Hames
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Snow Survey Finds Bare Ground, Little Snow
DWR's first snow survey of the winter today found little snow as California's dry weather continued its push into the new year. Manual and electronic readings record the snowpack's statewide water content at about 20 percent of normal for this time of year. The last time California's snowpack was this dry was in January 2012. In addition to the sparse snowpack, many areas of California ended calendar year 2013 with the lowest rainfall amounts on record. All this could change quickly if weather patterns shift and bring stormy conditions that are typical for January and February. DWR's drought management team is working to mitigate the effects of a possible third consecutive dry year.  >>Snow survey news release   >>DWR's first snow survey of the winter video  (01-03-14)
DWR Photography - Florence Low and Film/Video Unit Albert Madrid
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