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DWR Archived News -- 2014 News Announcements

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1416 9th Street, Room 204
Sacramento CA 95814
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NOTE: This information may have been superseded by later news releases. These items are listed here for archive purposes, only.

Delta Barriers Avoided and Drought Relief Actions For Fish Fast-Tracked
SACRAMENTO – Rain and snow from February and March storms have allowed the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to increase water contract allocations for State Water Project (SWP) deliveries from zero to five percent. Precipitation from these recent storms also eliminates the current need for rock barriers to be constructed in the Delta to prevent saltwater intrusion. Additional flexibility in salinity control requirements is being sought as an alternative to the Delta rock barriers that is less harmful for fish, wildlife, and other Delta water users. The Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) announced that it will fast-track actions to manage and reduce the drought’s impact on fish. (04/18/2014)
State Prepares $200 Million for Local, Long-Term Drought Relief
SACRAMENTO—The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today issued its draft proposal for the expenditure of $200 million in bond funds for projects and programs that help alleviate drought conditions and improve regional drought preparedness. To help relieve the effects of drought and to comply with direction from the Legislature, DWR has developed a streamlined, focused solicitation process and anticipates awarding grants by the fall of 2014 to local public agencies and non-profit organizations that are participating in California’s 48 Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) planning efforts. (04/03/2014)
Despite Storms, Snowpack Still Far Below Normal
SACRAMENTO – Department of Water Resources snow surveyors today found the Sierra snowpack boosted by late-season storms, but still far below normal as the spring melt fast approaches. Coupled with this winter’s scant rainfall, the meager snowpack -- containing only 32 percent of average water content for the date – promises a gloomy summer for California farms and many communities. (04/01/2014)
April 1 Snow Survey Will Reveal Whether Recent Precipitation Has Reversed March's Steady Decline
SACRAMENTO – Department of Water Resources surveyors will head back up the mountain on Tuesday, April 1 for their monthly on-the-ground snow survey with an expectation of finding growth in the snowpack due to this week’s storms throughout much of California. However, the first significant precipitation in weeks likely will be too little and too late to have much impact on this year’s severe drought. Snowpack and rain measurements are so far below normal for this time of year that even sustained rainfall over the next several days, as is predicted, won’t end the drought. (03/27/2014)
Court Ruling Not Expected to Delay BDCP
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) does not expect yesterday’s (March 13, 2014) California Court of Appeal decision to have any material impact on the schedule of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). (03/14/2014)
Severity of Past Droughts Quantified by New Streamflow Reconstructions
SACRAMENTO – As part of ongoing work to improve California’s drought preparedness and better adapt to climate change, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) today released a report examining tree-ring data to help better understand historic periods of drought. The report helps develop long-term reconstructions of streamflow or precipitation for the Klamath, Sacramento, and San Joaquin river basins. The report, prepared for DWR by researchers at the University of Arizona, is available at: Funding for part of the Klamath Basin work was provided by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation under its WaterSMART program. (03/10/2014)
Controlling Your Controller
Frequently Asked Questions about Managing a Sprinkler System 1. I have an irrigation controller, but I am not certain where it is, so how would I locate it? Irrigation controllers are usually located in the garage or on an outside wall. They come in many shapes and sizes, but usually have a screen and a dial. If the controller is on an outside wall, it most likely will be inside a waterproof box. 2. I found my irrigation controller, but I am not certain how to turn it “off.” Where can I go for help? Identify the name and model. The Save Our H2O website has links to the manual page for the most common models of major manufacturers: (03/06/2014)
Rain Means No Need to Water Outdoors for Weeks
Sacramento, CA -- Recent rains across California are not enough to end the drought, but they are enough to eliminate the need to water landscaping for several weeks. Experts with the California Department of Water Resources, University of California Cooperative Extension and University of California, Davis, together urge all residents, business owners, and government agencies to shut off sprinkler and irrigation systems until soils dry again. Depending upon local conditions and near-term weather, irrigation may not be needed for a month or more. (03/06/2014)
DWR, UC to Urge Californians to Halt Outdoor Watering After Rain
SACRAMENTO – At a home in the residential neighborhood of Curtis Park, officials with the California Department of Water Resources and the University of California will discuss how recent precipitation across much of California has eliminated the need for outdoor watering for at least a couple of weeks. A local resident will demonstrate how homeowners can shut off their sprinklers and conserve water outdoors. (03/05/2014)
Snow Survey Finds Slightly Increased Water Content
SACRAMENTO – Storms are lightly blanketing the Sierra with fresh snow, but Department of Water Resources (DWR) snow surveyors today reported that snowpack water content remains far below what will be needed by cities and farms this summer. “We welcome the late storms but they are not enough to end the drought,” said DWR Director Mark Cowin. “We can’t control the weather but we can control the amount of water we use. This drought is a wake-up call that we all have to take water conservation seriously and make it a way of life.” (02/27/2014)
Miner Slough Levee Repair Draft Initial Study & Mitigated Negative Declaration out for Public Review
DWR is proposing to repair the west bank of Miner Slough levee near the eastern edge of Prospect Island in Solano County. Repair work is expected to take place from August 1, 2014 to November 30, 2014. The project’s draft Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration are available for public review and comment from February 24, 2014 through March 26, 2014. See attachments for additional information. (02/25/2014)
    Notice of Intent – Miner Slough Levee Repair...      Draft IS/MND...
DWR’s Third Snow Survey of Winter Set for February 27
SACRAMENTO – Department of Water Resources surveyors hope to find a bit more snow when they go into the mountains Thursday to measure snowpack water content. But water managers say this week’s expected storms will do little more than dent California’s persistent drought conditions. “California is in the grip of a game-changing drought and we have no idea how long it will last,” said DWR Director Mark Cowin. “We already have been forced to set State Water Project allocations at zero, and we have nothing but more hard choices ahead until we see significant new amounts of rain and snow. One choice we all must make is to get serious about conserving water in our homes and places of work and make it a lifelong habit.” (02/24/2014)
DWR Testing New Technology to Guide Fish to Safety
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is installing a floating, fish-guidance boom to prevent Chinook salmon migrating to the Pacific from taking a dangerous detour into Georgiana Slough near Walnut Grove. Placid appearing Georgiana Slough leads young salmon through the predator-infested waters of the interior Delta to a dead end at huge state and federal water export pumps. Studies indicate that 65 percent of the young salmon that enter Georgiana Slough don't survive. Many are eaten by striped bass or other predators, and some are lost to pumping operations of the State Water Project and Central Valley Project in the southern Delta. (02/21/2014)
SACRAMENTO – Quantifying drought impacts and managing California’s water resources during drought conditions using satellite remote sensing will be among the topics of a February 25-26 workshop sponsored by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The Sacramento Convention Center workshop will begin at 1 p.m. on Feb. 25 and last until noon on Feb. 26. Further details are shown on the attached agenda. The workshop is free to attend and is open to the public. (02/21/2014)
Steelhead Study Focuses on Old and Middle River Flows
DWR has released the report titled “Stipulation Study: Steelhead Movement and Survival in the South Delta with Adaptive Management of Old and Middle River Flows”. This report documents results and conclusions of the 2012 Stipulation Study. The overarching objectives for this study were to evaluate the effects of Old and Middle River (OMR) flows on steelhead survival, migration rate, and migration direction; estimate route selection under different OMR flow conditions; and provide steelhead tag detection data that could be used to adaptively manage OMR flows. The full report is available here: (02/18/2014)
Report Updates Water Conditions
Check out updated Water Conditions in Bulletin 120. This is a publication issued four times a year, in the second week of February, March, April, and May by the California Department of Water Resources. It contains forecasts of the volume of seasonal runoff from the state's major watersheds, and summaries of precipitation, snowpack, reservoir storage, and runoff in various regions of the State. The forecast is posted on the California Cooperative Snow Surveys website. (02/14/2014)
    California Cooperative Snow Surveys website...
State, Federal Water Projects Seek More Efficient Drought Deliveries
SACRAMENTO -- In an effort to help alleviate Central Valley water shortages due to extreme drought conditions, today the California Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation together filed a petition with the State Water Resources Control Board to be able to exchange water within the areas served by the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. If granted by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), the temporary change petition would allow the State Water Project (SWP) to deliver water to areas typically served by the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) and vice versa. (02/13/2014)
DWR Announces $152.9 Million in Grants to Stretch Water Supplies
SACRAMENTO – As the state faces one of the driest years on record, the California Department of Water Resources announced today the award of nearly $153 million to 138 separate integrated regional water management projects around the state, many of which will provide long-term drought relief by expanding water conservation and water recycling. Approved by voters in 2006, Proposition 84 made $1 billion in grants available for local and regional water projects. The awards announced today involve $131.1 million in Proposition 84 funds that already have been appropriated. The department also tentatively awarded an additional $21.8 million, subject to future appropriation by the Legislature. (02/12/2014)
DWR Director Welcomes Coordinated Federal Drought Aid
SACRAMENTO – California Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin on Wednesday welcomed an “all-in” federal effort to help California cope with extreme drought. “The effects of this widespread drought are clearly beyond the control of local personnel, services, and facilities in nearly every corner of California,” said Director Cowin. “It will require the combined efforts of all of our agencies to address the public health, economic, and environmental ramifications of this drought.” (02/05/2014)
DWR Drops State Water Project Allocation to Zero, Seeks to Preserve Remaining Supplies
SACRAMENTO – To protect Californians’ health and safety from more severe water shortages in the months ahead, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today took actions to conserve the state’s precious resources. As a result, everyone – farmers, fish, and people in our cities and towns – will get less water. DWR’s actions are in direct response to Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s drought State of Emergency. In the declaration, the Governor directed DWR and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to act to modify requirements that hinder conservation of currently stored water and allow flexibility within the state’s water system to maintain operations and meet environmental needs. (01/31/2014)
Snow Surveyors Find Sparse Snowpack Drought Retains Grip on California
SACRAMENTO -- Freshly fallen snow from late-arriving storms brightened the scenery but did not end California’s drought. The winter’s second snow survey today found far too little water in the still scant snowpack. “This winter remains dry, making it very unlikely our record drought will be broken this year,” said DWR Director Mark Cowin. “Now more than ever, we all need to save every drop we can in our homes and places of work.” Manual and electronic readings today record the snowpack’s statewide water content at only 12 percent of average for this time of year. That is 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. (01/30/2014)
DWR’s Second Snow Survey of Winter Set for January 30
SACRAMENTO – As winter slips away, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) expects to find far less snow that normal for the date when it conducts its second snow survey of the winter on Thursday. California’s stubborn drought, pushing into its third year, has left the Sierra largely bare of snow and the state’s reservoirs low. Storms finally breaking through a coastal high pressure ridge largely blamed for dry conditions are expected to bring some snow to higher elevations before Thursday’s snow survey, but not enough to dent the drought. Still, conditions may be better than on January 3 when the first survey of the season found more bare ground than snow. (01/28/2014)
DWR Dutch Slough Restoration Project Report Available for Public Comment
SACRAMENTO – As California focuses in on the Delta and its waterways, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) has released the Dutch Slough Tidal Marsh Restoration Project Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR.) The report is available online for a 45-day comment period which ends on Friday March 7, 2014. The SEIR covers design details that have been refined since the Project’s EIR was finalized in 2010. “Not only is the Dutch Slough Restoration Project truly comprehensive in its scope, but it is identified as an early action project in the 2009 water legislation package,” said DWR Director Mark Cowin. “One of the primary goals directed by the water package’s new policy is to restore the Delta, and this project shows that new policy in action.” (01/24/2014)
DWR Files Final Applications for Conduit Exemptions and Non-Capacity License Amendment
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has filed the final applications for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval to convert the regulatory authorization for the 17 megawatt (MW) Alamo Powerplant (APP) and the 32.4 MW Mojave Siphon Powerplant (MSPP), both part of the East Branch of the California State Water Project, to conduit exemptions. This action will not involve any new construction or changes in the operation of the existing generating facilities. (01/15/2014)
First Snow Survey of 2014 Shows Dry Conditions
As California’s dry weather pushes into the new year, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced that its first snow survey of the winter found more bare ground than snow. (01/03/2014)