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January 31, 2014


Ron Fulderon

I know it's bone dry this year, but I'm not sure what to make of a graph that is so deceptive.


I agree it needs some interpretation, so let's add some detail. First "acre-foot" is defined here:


"As a rule of thumb in U.S. water management, one acre-foot is taken to be the planned water usage of a suburban family household, annually." So the Hetch Hetchy dropped the equivalent of almost 3,000 households annual usage in a week. Now, of course, it's not being replenished much at this time of year because the non-existent snow isn't melting. But it's correct to ask, is that a lot? A little? Does it matter with that much still there? And can we actually get to everything that is there--like draining the last bit of gas from a gas tank isn't possible..... I'm just getting started on this line of questioning.


Check this out from Stockton


STOCKTON – The long-hidden remnants of a mine that produced gold, silver and copper for nearly 100 years have reappeared at Lake Don Pedro in Tuolumne County.

The Eagle Shawmut Mine along the Tuloumne River was submerged when Lake Don Pedro Reservoir was completed in 1971. Now, with the reservoir at just 51 percent capacity, the old mine's foundation and some mining equipment can be seen on the lake's shores.


YEAH, FINALLY SOMETHING!! Wondering if Rain Dance is something the Rec center could offer in the future :)


Thought I would check in with the Hetch Hetchy website since Ron is correct to say that a single snapshot in time doesn't tell us much. Even with the recent snow and rain (5 feet at the top of Squaw Valley last week followed by a heavy rain), HH is showing 188,400 acre-feet so we have lost more ground in the last two weeks.


From the DJ today:

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown and the top Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday announced a $687 million plan to provide immediate help to drought-stricken communities throughout California, including $15 million for those with dangerously low drinking water supplies.

The proposal comes amid one of the driest periods in the history of the nation’s most populous state, forcing farmers to fallow fields and some communities to warn of low water supplies.

“There’s many ways we can better use the water we have,” Brown said during a news conference at a state office near Sacramento. “You can’t manufacture water.”

The Democratic plan, which now goes to the Legislature, does not address long-term improvements to California’s water supply and distribution system. Rather, it provides money for immediate aid.

Most of the money — $549 million — will come in the form of accelerated spending from two bonds approved previously by voters. It will go toward local water conservation and recycling efforts, such as systems to capture stormwater and recharge groundwater supplies.

The general fund, the state’s main checkbook, also will be tapped. In addition to the money for emergency water supplies, $25.3 million from the general fund will provide food assistance in communities affected by the drought.

Most of this is classic Sacramento BS..if you "can't manufacture water" then why pass out $700M bucks for all sorts of BS projects? Another taxpayer ripoff.


Does anyone know what will happen to the Parks and trees in burlingame/
What about the Community Veg Garden, and the New City of Burlingame Park going in next to Kinkaids out by the bayfront?
This drought is as bad as the one I remember in the, was it the 1970's?


After these recent rains, a check on the Hetch Hetchy website in the original post shows we are at 187,500 acre-feet so we have still lost some ground from six weeks ago even with the rain. No foolin'


Here is an interesting SacBee article on a Field Poll about people's reactions to the drought:


And the Hetch Hetchy is up to 210,000 acre feet, but it feels like the "rainy season" such as it was may be over.....


Here is more on the drought ramifications courtesy of sfgate.com

The effects of California's drought could soon hit the state's food banks, which serve 2 million of its poorest residents.

Fresh produce accounts for more than half the handouts at Bay Area food banks, but with an estimated minimum of 500,000 acres to be fallowed in California, growers will have fewer fruits and vegetables to donate.

With less local supply, food prices will spike, increasing as much as 34 percent for a head of lettuce and 18 percent for tomatoes, according to an Arizona State University study released last week. With fewer fields planted, there could be as many as 20,000 unemployed agricultural workers who will need more food handouts, especially in the Central Valley.


From the Sac Bee we learn:

The governor first proclaimed a drought emergency on Jan. 17. This second proclamation goes further by waiving compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act and the state Water Code for a number of actions, including water transfers, wastewater treatment projects, habitat improvements for winter-run Chinook salmon imperiled by the drought, and curtailment of water rights.

The order also suspends competitive bidding requirements for drought-related projects undertaken by a number of state agencies, including the departments of Water Resources, Fish and Wildlife, and Public Health.

This move worries some environmental groups that say such waivers don’t necessarily help bring water to people any faster.

“In this dry year, the limitation is not environmental protection. It’s the lack of water throughout California,” said Jonas Minton, a water adviser at the Planning and Conservation League in Sacramento. “There is very little real potential to move significant amounts of water from one region to another. The danger is the bad precedent this sets for waiving environmental protections.”

The order calls on all Californians to avoid using water to clean sidewalks, driveways, parking lots and other hardscapes; to wash vehicles only at car washes that use recycled water; and limit landscape watering to twice weekly. It encourages outdoor sports facilities to similarly reduce playing field irrigation. It urges hotels and restaurants to give patrons options to reduce water consumption, such as limiting laundering of linens and making water available only on request.

It calls on the State Water Resources Control Board to order all local water service providers to adopt these measures as customer requirements, if they have not already.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/25/6354618/gov-brown-orders-more-emergency.html#storylink=cpy


Restrictions coming to a town near us (Millbrae):


But the cost to enforce is enormous and thus unlikely. Not that it isn't still a worthy effort just to educate people a bit more.


The USGS Current Conditions site shows 268,000 acre feet right now which is up from the 191,000 showing when I started this back in January. Using the same site but looking back at Oct 2013 we were about 250,000 acre feet, so this year is actually better! Not sure how that is possible, but if true that is good news!

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