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California conserves water for third month, officials say

KPCC: State official say Californians have surpassed a mandate to save water for a third consecutive month, using nearly 27 percent less in August than the same month in 2013. The State Water Resources Control Board on Thursday released the statewide conservation figures. Max Gomberg, a senior climate scientist for the board, said the results meet the 25 percent savings goal set by Gov. Jerry Brown. Gomberg also warned that Californians can't allow themselves to be distracted by the hype of a...

California water rates rise as cities lose money in drought

KPCC: Saving water doesn't always mean saving money in parched California. Millions of Californians expecting relief on their water bills for taking conservation measures instead are finding higher rates and drought surcharges. Water departments are increasing rates and adding fees because they're losing money as their customers conserve. They say they still have to pay for fixed costs including repairing pipelines, customer service and enforcing water restrictions -- and those costs aren't decreasing....

With dwindling water supplies Catalina seeks more desalination

KPCC: Los Angeles County supervisors are considering ways to aid desalination plans on Catalina Island, where supplier Southern California Edison is considering requiring unprecedented 50% cuts in water use. The island is home to some 4,000 people year-round, and it boasts hotels and a harbor that collectively have invested $40 million to boost the number of visitors to around 700,000 a year. What Catalina doesn't have much of is water, which comes from a few wells and a desalination plant. With...

California drought: LADWP’s Owens Valley pumping might suffer without snowpack runoff

KPCC: A possible consequence of another dry winter in California: the water supplies Los Angeles can take from Inyo County may be limited. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has oversight of the water it derives from the area. Today, it releases its plan for pumping groundwater out of the Owens Valley over the next six months. In wet times -- as in the winter of 2011-2012 -- about a quarter of the L.A.'s water supply can come from Owens Valley's below ground reservoirs. But the city's...

Public opposition forces retooling for California desert renewable energy plan

KPCC: A barrage of criticism has forced federal and state officials to redirect the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, a multiyear effort to balance big renewable energy projects with protections for California wildlands and their inhabitants. Six years ago the plan was conceived as a roadmap, meant to guide development for growing interest in large-scale solar and wind projects on more than 22 million acres of lands throughout the lower half of the state, including the Mojave and Colorado deserts....

2014 was California’s hottest in 120 years

KPCC: With only hours remaining in 2014, government forecasters said California is set to have its warmest year in 120 years of recorded data. "We are virtually certain that 2014 will be record warm for the state,' said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center. That statement comes as unusually frigid temperatures have hit Southern California, bringing with them a snowstorm that stranded more than a hundred motorists...

How can we adjust to the increasing risk of wildfires?

KPCC: A firefighter hoses flames at the Cocos fire on May 15, 2014 in San Marcos, California. Fire agencies throughout the state are scrambling to prepare for what is expected to be a dangerous year of wildfires in this third year of extreme drought in California. While the fires that broke out last week San Diego County are now almost fully contained, California is bracing for what could be the worst fire season ever. This week, Governor Jerry Brown drew a direct link between climate change, the...