Full Coverage: Chronicling California’s drought
Now in its fourth year, the drought in California has reached record-breaking levels of dryness, with more than half of the state under the most severe level of drought. In some of the hardest hit communities, taps have run completely dry, leaving hundreds of households with no access to running water. On April 1, Gov. Jerry Brown announced the first mandatory water restrictions in California history.
The warning was stern and unequivocal: The days of unkempt, browning lawns in the gated community of Blackhawk were officially over.
California water districts large and small are expected to urge regulators on Wednesday to toss out or significantly relax emergency drought orders requiring residents to take shorter showers and let their lawns turn brown.
Readers React: Drought is the new normal for California -- but we need to build more housing?
To the editor: The Times has published an interesting juxtaposition of articles in the last few days.
The California drought is not over.
It was a rainy weekend in Southern California, but there have been too few such storms in what had been expected to be a rain-soaked El Niño season.
Yorba Linda business owner Jeffrey Barman has vowed that the state’s endless drought won’t mark the end of his company, California Waters.
State snowpack has changed a lot in the last year — as have Californians’ attitudes toward water
One year ago Friday, Frank Gehrke hiked out to Phillips Station and stuck a tube onto a tuft of brownish-green grass.
For years scientists have warned that climate change will cause melting ice caps, rising sea levels and severe droughts and floods.
The California drought has created many oddities over the last few years but none as bizarre as a scene that unfolds regularly on a tributary of the Santa Ana River.
Southern Californians can expect dry conditions and above-average heat this week as a stubborn high-pressure system continues to block the heavily anticipated El Niño rainstorms that weather officials warned of over the winter.
Gray water and stormwater can help in the drought, but risk needs to be studied, researchers say
As water utilities and their customers increasingly look to gray water and runoff from storms to supplement their supply amid drought, more guidelines and research are needed to ensure that the water is safe, researchers said in a report released Wednesday.
Four years of drought and unusually warm weather have exhausted the patience and the resources of many local farmers, and the result is empty farm stands at Southern California farmers markets.
More than four years into a drought, California’s efforts to manage the crisis have produced mixed results, according to a report card issued Monday by a leading environmental nonprofit organization.
A coalition of groups representing cities, counties and water agencies filed a proposed ballot measure Monday that would allow water providers to reestablish so-called tiered pricing as a means of encouraging conservation.
Debate over a plan to address California’s drought continued Friday as the Republicans in the state’s delegation held a news conference blaming Sen.
Editorial: How the state GOP’s drought relief bill undermined serious work aimed at a solution
It might have been a sneaky, underhanded maneuver, or it might have been a simple miscommunication.
California Republicans will continue trying to include language addressing the state’s drought in a must-pass bill to fund the federal government, over objections from the state’s Democratic delegation.
California Democrats are fuming over an attempt by the state’s Republican House members to insert language addressing the state’s drought into a must-pass bill to fund the federal government.
Under the cover of darkness, a group of vandals this spring slashed an inflatable dam in the Bay Area, sending millions of gallons of water into San Francisco Bay.
City Controller Ron Galperin took aim last week at Los Angeles’ popular “Cash in Your Lawn” rebate program, calling the program a “gimmick” that helped get people to pay attention to the drought but didn’t generate much immediate water savings.
The last two years of drought have been tough for Lincoln Kauffman and others in the Northern California skiing business.
Los Angeles’ turf rebate program saved less water per dollar spent than other Department of Water and Power conservation programs, an audit released by the city controller said Friday.
One of the most powerful El Niños on record continues gathering strength and is looking increasingly likely to bring heavy rains to key Northern California areas that provide water for the rest of the state, according to a new forecast.
We don’t know for sure whether the El Niño we face this winter will be a drought buster or a bust.
As experts continue to predict a wet winter because of El Niño, California officials continue to take a cautious approach when it comes to easing water conservation measures amid the state’s four-year drought.
Californians could be justifiably proud earlier this fall when the State Water Resources Control Board reported that for the three steamy months of summer, the state had not only met Gov.
Alex Hoon was driving north from Mammoth Lakes on Tuesday, looking in awe at the decidedly winter landscape.
Gary Serrato watched as a tractor worked its way across a field of dried-up weeds, slicing the sandy dirt into orderly furrows.
An early-season storm that blanketed mountains from Northern California to the Central Valley with snow showed tangible results on the state’s historic drought, new federal data show.
During a time of drought, when most urban dwellers are making do with less, nothing sticks in the craw quite like the cad in Bel-Air who reportedly is using 90 times as much water as the average household.
A day of heavy snow may have turned swaths of the Sierra Nevada into a winter landscape, but it’s too early to tell if it will have a lasting effect on the winter snowpack, forecasters say.
The city of Beverly Hills and three other water suppliers face financial penalties for falling short of state water conservation mandates, officials said Friday.
Over the last four months, the residents and businesses of the Indian Wells Valley Water District have cut their water consumption by about 25%, and General Manager Don Zdeba thinks that’s “pretty darn good.”
Even if unconsciously, the homeless people who loll on the south lawn of Los Angeles City Hall are making a sacrifice to conserve water during the drought.
Decades before someone coined the Twitter hashtag #droughtshaming and people began posting YouTube videos of their neighbors’ drowning lawns, California water suppliers encouraged conservation by releasing the names of their biggest water hogs.
In a very dry state, turning to the sea as a source of water for drinking, bathing and irrigation has its attractions.
The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. — Book of Jeremiah, 8:20 With October comes a waiting season.
Bob Lombardi, 70, went ahead and planted two acres of baby bear pumpkins in a corner of his shut-down ranch this year, just to say he had farmed for 50 years.
Few places would benefit more from a winter of El Niño-driven rainstorms than this massive, rapidly depleting reservoir in the desert 90 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
Water hogs, beware.
Apple Valley residents were among the millions of Californians who cut back on water use during the state-mandated water restrictions this spring.
Amid criticism from local business owners and residents, the Fort Bragg, Calif., City Council on Tuesday lifted a requirement that had forced restaurants to save water by serving patrons with disposable plates, cups and flatware.
Four years of drought have forced most Californians to shoulder some inconvenience.
When Joe Benson tore out his dying grass in August of last year, he was one of the first in his San Fernando Valley neighborhood to collect a rebate for doing so, he recalls.
Conservation numbers for California come out Thursday.
Four months into mandatory watering restrictions that have curbed Southern California’s residential irrigation routines, the news is both good and not so good.
In the mountains north of Santa Cruz, water is managed, as they say, “the old-school” way.
In this farming valley, often known as “America’s salad bowl,” the climate is cool and consistent, the soil is fertile, and an abundance of water has allowed a diverse set of crops to flourish.
These days, the redwood-shaded creek by Laura and Ray Waldbaum’s house is a bone-dry path of rocks and gravel, its occasional stagnant pools a somber reminder of the salmon that once thrived there.
Less water might be plenty for California, experts say, and conservation is only the start
Across California this summer, residents have been racking up water conservation numbers that defy expectations — a 27% reduction in June, followed by 31.3% in July.
California homeowners who replace their water-gulping grass lawns with artificial turf in response to the drought would be protected from sanctions by homeowner associations under one of 10 bills signed Friday by Gov.
In a new move to battle the drought, Burbank residents will get access to free recycled water starting this month and running through the end of October.
The state fined 30 oil companies on Thursday for failing to meet a deadline to report information about the source, volume and disposal of water used in oil and gas production.
Under orders to slash water use amid a historic drought, cities and towns across the state saved about 75 billion gallons in July, eclipsing Gov.
A drought can make a hot day hotter, while a heat wave can make dry conditions even drier.
California’s growers enjoyed near-record revenue for their crops last year, despite dropping their harvest by 640,000 acres in 2014, a new study suggests.
If you’re a teacher, a garden is a gift that can generate endless assignments and lesson plans.
Last summer, a narrow, rock-rimmed stretch of the Sacramento River near here turned into a mass graveyard for baby salmon.
A growing number of scientists have made the claim that climate change is at least partly responsible for California’s crippling drought.
Farmland near Corcoran in the southern San Joaquin Valley sank 13 inches in just eight months last year.
Should the current drought extend for another two or three years, most California cities and much of the state’s agriculture would be able to manage, but the toll on small rural communities dependent on well-water and on wetlands and wildlife could be extensive.
Glimpses of California’s water future: A sprawl of sewage treatment plants, recharge basins and desalination facilities, stretching out across an industrial backlot near Rancho Cucamonga.
In the desert of California, where the Colorado River for decades has turned barren ground into an agricultural bounty, farmers are being paid not to grow crops on a portion of their land so that water can be shipped to thirsty cities on the coast.
It seems as though the resources for drought gardening are endless.
The deaths of two children at Yosemite National Park after a tree limb fell on their tent while they were sleeping is again focusing attention on the toll the drought is taking on trees.
The Lakeview Motel’s name is false advertising these dry days.
Hospitals are among the highest water users in communities, but have a lot of potential to help California fight its ongoing drought, according to the U.S.
Two children who were critically injured when a 75-foot tree toppled onto a group of campers at a children’s museum in Pasadena remained hospitalized Wednesday.
Yes, it’s hot, but the real story is the humidity.
When it came down to it, the number crunchers at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California knew they saved a lot more water for every dollar spent subsidizing low-flush toilets than drought-friendly lawns.
Concern over California’s drought is “extremely high and intensifying,” as a majority of state residents now believe global warming has contributed to the crisis, according to polling data released this week.
July — already one of the wettest in California’s history — is expected to go out with one more drenching.
How does El Niño work, and why might it bring rain and snow to California this winter?
When Emi Nakagawa rented a studio apartment in San Gabriel, she didn’t think twice before jumping into the shower.
It’s the middle of the summer, but it felt a bit like winter in the Sierra this week as a storm dumped four inches of hail on Interstate 80 around Donner Summit.
Santa Barbara City Council members on Tuesday unanimously approved spending $55 million to reactivate a mothballed desalination plant that could provide the city with nearly a third of its drinking water.
During four years of drought, Los Angeles residents have conserved water so diligently that even the most skeptical experts have been taken by surprise.
A swath of eastern California offered a dramatic view in recent days of the powerful climate forces buffeting the state.
A washed-out bridge on Interstate 10 that cut off a vital shipping route with Arizona, mudslides in Moreno Valley and snarled Southern California freeway traffic from heavy weekend rain is only a preview of problems that could come with a strong El Niño this winter, forecasters say.
With the Chatsworth Reservoir on life support from the drought, a vigorous debate is underway over whether the so-called ecology pond at Los Angeles’ only nature preserve should be allowed to survive.
Regulators proposed a record $1.5-million fine Monday against a Northern California irrigation district after it allegedly diverted more than 670 million gallons of water illegally — a rare enforcement action that escalates the legal battle between Gov.
Shrinking Colorado River is a growing concern for Yuma farmers — and millions of water users
The Colorado River begins as snowmelt in the Rocky Mountains and ends 1,450 miles south in Mexico after making a final sacrifice to the United States: water for the farm fields in this powerhouse of American produce.
It was touted as the bill “where everybody wins” — a common-sense approach to providing badly needed drought relief to California growers, and a measure that would place the needs of people above those of fish.
State regulators Thursday took another step in the escalating battle over drought-related curtailments of thousands of California water rights.
To the editor: I applaud Gov.
Jake Sands drives around town in a dirty light-blue 15-year-old Honda Civic.
As California enters its fourth year of drought, #DroughtShaming has become a big thing.
The sprawling suburban lawn — a symbol of the good life in postwar California — moved a step closer Wednesday to being consigned to the history books.
Cities and counties will no longer be able to impose fines on residents for unsightly brown lawns while the state is in a drought, under a bill signed by Gov.
Thousands of beachgoers will soon feel the drought’s impact in the dry shower heads of dozens of state beaches.
It had all the makings of a latter-day water war, pitting a Ventura County water district against actor Tom Selleck.
To save water, California has turned off outside showers on its inmates.
While residential water consumers and suppliers throughout California won praise for slashing water consumption 29% recently, a handful of small water agencies caused bewilderment when they reported a surge in water use in May.
As waters recede, the lake has given up long-submerged secrets -- a ghost town and B-29 bomber among them, history slowly revealed with the gentle care of an archaeologist’s brush.
Fighting California’s drought is a bit like running a political campaign, complete with carefully calibrated messages crafted with polling data.
Once illegal, watering the garden with drainage from the washer or shower is gaining favor
Strands of silver hair fell into Annie Costanzo’s face as she wielded a sledgehammer against the brick walkway in her backyard.
My first lawn in Southern California was at a Burbank rental where the landlord asked my husband and me to keep the yard watered.
Many Californians appear to be taking up Gov.
Groundwater in America’s major aquifers is being used up way faster than it’s being replenished.
Some specialists are getting hot and bothered about local National Weather Service stations changing from a July-to-June calendar to October-to-September.
Drought-weary California received encouraging news Wednesday when officials announced that residential water use had dropped 29% during the month of May -- the first real indication that the state might meet unprecedented conservation reductions imposed by Gov.
The last four years have been the driest such period in downtown Los Angeles in almost 140 years, the National Weather Service said. ------------ FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this post said this has been the driest period in more than 140 years; it has been the driest in 138 years. ------------ When the weather service’s traditional rain year, from July 1 to June 30, ended Tuesday, data showed that downtown L.A. received only 8.52 inches of rain this season, or 57% of average.
For decades, Riverside has worked to be what officials consider “water independent” by consolidating groundwater rights and building water treatment facilities.
Darron Nilsson navigated his truck down a dirt road to the Kern River.
The lawsuits hit the courts within days of the state mailing notices to some Central Valley irrigation districts: They were to stop diverting from rivers and streams because there wasn’t enough water to go around.
With its red and green synthetic turf, Destroyer Field at Surface Warrior Park is meant to reduce water use at Naval Base San Diego.
Warren Dern thought he was doing his part to conserve water amid California’s unflagging drought.
California House Republicans introduced a drought-relief bill Thursday afternoon that they said would pump more water to struggling farmers in the Central Valley without compromising protections for endangered fish.
It may not rain much in Los Angeles County, but when it does, a single storm can send up to 10 billion gallons of water surging into a vast network of storm channels with a single destination: the Pacific Ocean.
On April 1, as California entered a fourth year of drought, Gov.
Rivers and streams in California and much of the rest of the West are different from those in other parts of the nation.
As this drought-stricken body of salt water recedes, the repercussions mount: Its exposed alkaline flats are giving rise to dust storms.
Water will continue to flow from taps in the homes of a San Joaquin County master-planned community after local officials reached an agreement that will continue supplies to about 15,000 residents.
Drier, sunnier winters are stressing California’s wildflowers.
Don Wells spotted a trail of pooling water and slowed his van.
The majority of California growers, irrigation districts and others who have been ordered to stop drawing water from rivers and streams due to worsening drought conditions have failed to register their compliance before an official deadline, officials said Monday.
First came the rain garden, where bees buzz around the lavender and sage.
Bedeviled by drought, Great Plains settlers in the early 1890s developed a keen interest in rainmaking.
California’s first major forest fire of the season, which has consumed more than 11,000 acres in the San Bernardino National Forest, is being fueled by nearly four years of drought.
When the state last week took the rare step of curtailing the water rights of more than 100 irrigation districts and growers, it appeared that agricultural areas would be the hardest hit.
Dave Shields started the engine of his tractor on a recent weekday and began toppling the hundreds of drought-stricken cherry trees he and his wife planted 15 years ago in this north Los Angeles County foothills community.
The reach of the California drought has extended to some high-profile art museums with lush gardens and abundant water features.
More than a third of the largest groundwater basins in the world are being depleted faster than they are getting replenished, and there are little to no accurate data showing just how much water is left in them, according to two new studies published Tuesday.
Amid a worsening drought, California water officials adopted new rules Tuesday aimed at capturing and reusing huge amounts of stormwater that have until now flowed down sewers and concrete rivers into the sea.
California will receive tens of millions of dollars in new drought aid from the U.S. government that will provide relief for farmers, displaced workers and rural communities that have run out of drinking water, officials said Friday.
The waters of the Silver Lake Reservoir, the crown jewel of the hilly neighborhood, is about to be drained.
A Kern County assemblywoman is responding to criticism after a speech in which she reportedly suggested God eased Texas’ drought after the state passed anti-abortion legislation and now “has his hold on California.”
Conventional wisdom holds that in drought-ravaged California, any hint of rain is considered good news.
The needles on the redwoods that welcome visitors to Griffith Park have faded to brown over the last two years.
In the 1976-77 drought, the state ordered growers with some of the oldest water rights in California to stop pumping from many rivers and streams.
In his latest iteration as California’s governor, Jerry Brown seems to have cracked the code of the state’s quirky politics.
The city of Riverside has filed a suit to bar the state from imposing mandatory drought restrictions on it, saying it has its own plentiful groundwater.
Even as the state struggles through an epic water crisis, Gov.
A panel of water experts mapped out the challenges California faces in meeting future demands for water at a time when water sources are under stress and supplies appear uncertain.
Under canopies of dead angular branches and drooping fronds, UC Riverside ecologist Cameron Barrows made his way across a forest of skeletal Joshua trees that have not reproduced in decades.
That spot down the fairway, just past the dogleg, might be perfect for a new bunker.
The nests of hundreds of thousands of birds and the food for millions more could be imperiled this year because of fewer rice crops in California – the latest symptom of the state’s historic drought.
The Santa Ana River is a robust and beautiful sight these days.
Q&A: Farmer David ‘Mas’ Masumoto’s drought insight: Less water yields more flavorful peaches
David “Mas” Masumoto settles on a patio chair on a cool San Joaquin Valley evening, perhaps the last one before summer converts the valley into a kiln.
Most Californians don’t believe others in their region of the state are doing enough to respond to the four-year drought, with the harshest criticism being dished out in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, according to a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.
Members of the Lake Mission Viejo Assn. have approved the use of highly purified recycled water to refill the private lake that has become a hot spot of controversy amid the state’s relentless drought.
After lagging during the first part of the year, water conservation in California improved significantly in April following Gov.
The drought is on track to dry up $2.7 billion in revenue and erase more than 18,600 jobs from the California economy this year, according to a preliminary report.
As mandatory water restrictions took effect Monday across California, a panel of experts called upon the drought-plagued state to upgrade its water infrastructure and reform its antiquated water rights system.
Andrew Chadd was startled when he opened the notice from the Los Angeles County agency that supplies water to his neighborhood in the unincorporated community of Littlerock.
The backyard swimming pool is again in regulators’ crosshairs as they scramble to save enough water to meet Gov.
Sprawling green lawns around new homes, businesses and schools in California will be a thing of the past under new state building codes approved Friday.
For decades, fifth-generation farmer Neal Briggs has looked east to the mighty Wasatch range and seen the promise of a verdant future.
In Texas, Oklahoma and Mexico, destructive storms flooded communities and unleashed a tornado, leaving more than two dozen dead.
When it comes to disasters, El Niño giveth and El Niño taketh away.
Move over Capt. James T. Kirk.
Responding to a surge of interest in removing grass amid California’s worsening drought, the Metropolitan Water District agreed Monday to spend an additional $350 million to help homeowners and businesses replace the turf.
Los Angeles County supervisors agreed Tuesday to postpone a vote on proposed water use restrictions for customers served by the county waterworks districts after residents expressed alarm at the reductions and questioned the method used to calculate target levels.
To the editor: Apparently Stanford academic Victor Davis Hanson and his fellow travelers at Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) have stumbled onto the root cause of our drought: foreign-born immigrants.
From the front porch of the ranch house where Daniel Sinton grew up, the toll of drought is all too plain to see.
It’s a technology with the potential to ease California’s colossal thirst and insulate millions from the parched whims of Mother Nature, experts say.
Demand for rebates to replace grass with drought-tolerant landscaping has overwhelmed water officials and prompted questions about the future of the highly popular program.
In a television commercial that has aired across the state, a young boy asks: “If Californians are having fewer children, why isn’t there enough water?”
Look east, California.