CA drought lowers streamflow levels across state, affects water resources

Sponsored by


Feb. 14, 2014 -- The state of California is experiencing its worst drought in over a century, and the lack of precipitation for much of the past three months has exacerbated the dryness, causing varying degrees of low levels of streamflow in the northern two-thirds of the state.

Low streamflow can affect water availability for agricultural, municipal and industrial uses, water quality, water temperature, recreational opportunities, and the maintenance of fish populations. Many of the nearly 500 stream gages are currently at below normal flows for this time of year. Likewise, forty-one low-flow measurements have been made in the northern parts of the state, 12 of which have been measured at record low flows.

Water deliveries from the State Water Project and Bureau of Reclamation's Central Valley Project to urban residents and farmers have been severely cut or eliminated in some instances. As of February 12, the California Department of Water Resources measured the statewide water content of snowpack at only 27 percent of the average for this time of year. California snowpack melts into streams and reservoirs, providing about one-third of the water used by California's cities and farms.

During periods of drought, groundwater use can increase, but it is generally drawn in part from groundwater that may be slow to replenish. Also, once new wells are installed during droughts, it is common for the resulting groundwater-use increases to remain in effect long after the droughts have passed. About 20 percent of the nation's groundwater pumping occurs in the Central Valley of California, which contributes to 8 percent of the country's agricultural output and 25 percent of its food source.

Recent precipitation has resulted in some increases in streamflow, snowpack and reservoir levels, but severe drought conditions remain. Without significant additional precipitation, prior conditions will quickly return, leaving most streams in the state at less than 10 percent of normal for this time of year. Further, USGS crews from the California Water Science Center are monitoring conditions on a continuing basis.

See also:

"CA declares drought state of emergency, water agencies stable, research shows"

"New California Water Action Plan outlines state's future water goals"

###

Sponsored by

Did You Like this Article? Get All the Water Industry News Delivered to Your Inbox or Mailbox

Subscribe to one of our magazines or email newsletters today at no cost and receive the latest information.

TODAY'S HEADLINES

USGS Civil Engineer Robert R. Holmes to receive 2015 ASCE Award

Dr. Robert R. Holmes, a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist, is set to receive the 2015 Government Civil Engineer of the Year Award for his outstanding accomplishments in water-related areas.

Washington State to receive amended federal water quality standards

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a rule that revises the current federal Clean Water Act human health water quality criteria applicable to waters under the state of Washington's jurisdiction.

Blue Mountain Lake Water District voted 'best-tasting' drinking water in NY

The New York State Department of Health recently announced that the Blue Mountain Lake Water District in Hamilton County, N.Y., has been named the winner of the 29th Annual New York Tap Water Taste Contest, held at the New York State Fair in the city of Syracuse.

PUB to build fourth desalination plant in Singapore

PUB recently announced that it will build its fourth desalination plant in the island city-state. The company will call a tender for the provision of Consultancy Services for the facility.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA

  

 


© 2015. PennWell Corporation. All Rights Reserved. PRIVACY POLICY | TERMS AND CONDITIONS