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The California Drought & Related Climate Science Needs Jeanine Jones, California Department of Water Resources PowerPoint Presentation
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The California Drought & Related Climate Science Needs Jeanine Jones, California Department of Water Resources

The California Drought & Related Climate Science Needs Jeanine Jones, California Department of Water Resources

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The California Drought & Related Climate Science Needs Jeanine Jones, California Department of Water Resources

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  1. The California Drought & Related Climate Science Needs Jeanine Jones, California Department of Water Resources

  2. Outline • California water framework • Present water conditions • State response actions to drought • Climate science needs (sub-seasonal/seasonal forecasting)

  3. Water Framework

  4. Background • Most populous state in U.S. – represents about 12% of national population • Estimated 2013 population about 38 million • Top agricultural production state in the nation for more than 50 years. • Nearly 9 million acres of irrigated cropland • 289 federal T&E species, 2nd only to Hawaii

  5. Physical Setting • Majority of population is located within 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean, from the San Francisco Bay Area south to the Mexican border • The Central Valley represents about 80% of the irrigated agricultural acreage • Largely Mediterranean-type climate

  6. Average Annual Precipitation

  7. Hydrology Background • Average annual runoff from precipitation falling on California is 71 MAF • Average annual surface water supplies are the 71 MAF of in-state runoff plus 7 MAF from flows in interstate rivers, for a total of 78 MAF • More than 70% of the surface runoff occurs in Northern California, while more than 70% of the needs for water occur in Southern California

  8. California’s Largest Rivers By Avg. Annual Runoff By Watershed Area Sacramento San Joaquin Klamath Amargosa • Sacramento • Klamath • San Joaquin • Eel

  9. Groundwater • Statewide, in an average year groundwater supplies about 30% of urban and agricultural water uses. • There are 431 delineated groundwater basins in California

  10. California Groundwater Basins

  11. Federal Central Valley Project • Largest single water project in California • Operated by U.S. Bureau of Reclamation • 18 federal reservoirs plus 4 state-federal reservoirs, 12 MAF total storage capacity • Largest generator of electrical power in California

  12. The State Water Project • California’s 2nd-largest water project • Operated by DWR • 20 reservoirs, 660 miles of aqueduct, 26 power & pumping plants • 4th-largest generator of electrical power in California

  13. Local Agency Water Projects • Include wide variety of canals, aqueducts, reservoirs, groundwater storage projects • Also include many water recycling projects and desalination projects

  14. Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta • A hub for California water conveyance projects • A highly altered ecosystem • An infrastructure and resource management challenge • SF Bay-Delta is largest estuary on the west coasts of North & South America • BDCP process now underway, more than $250M in planning costs to date

  15. California Institutional Framework -- Agencies • Department of Water Resources • $3.8B FY14-15 budget, 3500 PYs • State Water Resources Control Board • $1B FY 14-15 budget, 1900 PYs • (In comparison, USBR Westwide budget about $1B annually, about the same as Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s budget)

  16. CDWR • Operates State Water Project (4 MAF contractual allocations • Operates Sacramento River Flood Control Project, provides flood forecasting and flood operations services • Manages data programs: California Data Exchange Center, Calif Cooperative Snow Surveys program, groundwater, land and water use • Administers local agency financial assistance programs, state water supply planning programs (5-year updates of State Water Plan), and dam safety program

  17. Example of CDWR Runoff Forecasting Products Seasonal Runoff Forecasts Monthly Bulletin 120 river runoff forecast (issued from February 1 through May 1): Latest | Previous Weekly update to the Bulletin 120 river runoff forecast (issued from February through June): Latest | Previous State map of April through July unimpaired snowmelt runoff Historical Bulletin 120 - Water Conditions in California Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley Water Year Type Index forecast (issued monthly from December 1 through May 1): Latest | Previous Historical Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley Water Year Type Index Peak snowmelt runoff forecast (issued from April through June cooperatively with the California-Nevada River Forecast Center)

  18. SWRCB • Administers state and federal (Clean Water Act) water quality regulatory programs • Administers water rights • Administers local agency financial assistance programs, state water quality planning programs

  19. California Institutional Framework – Selected Statutes & Regulations • Surface water rights administered by State – groundwater not administered by State, but statutory authority provided to local agencies • Requirements for Urban Water Management Plans and Agricultural Water Management Plans administered by DWR (requirement for urban water shortage contingency planning) • 20% by 2020 statutory conservation goal • Integrated regional water management (water bonds), includes climate change adaptation • Climate change mitigation & adaptation (AB 32, 2006)

  20. State Water Supply Planning Philosophy • Historical tradition of comprehensive, coordinated state water supply planning activities • State Water Plans • “State filings” for water rights at prospective reservoir sites • State process for establishing various types of local water districts

  21. State Local Assistance Philosophy • Historical tradition of state financial assistance programs for local agencies • Largely funded through GO bonds • Many different programs over the past decades • Program specifics vary with the authorizing bond act • Early programs more focused on loans; recent programs are mostly grant programs

  22. The Early Years – Davis-Grunsky Act of 1960 • Authorized $130M in bond funding • Loans for construction of local water projects and agricultural water conservation projects • Grants for recreation and fish & wildlife enhancement at local water projects

  23. Early Safe Drinking Water Financial Assistance • California Safe Drinking Water Bond Law of 1976 -- $175M. • California Safe Drinking Water Bond Law of 1984 -- $75M. • California Safe Drinking Water Bond Law of 1986 -- $100M. • California Safe Drinking Water Bond Law of 1988 -- $75M.

  24. Early Water Conservation/Recycling/Groundwater Recharge Bonds • Clean Water & Water Conservation Bond Law of 1978 -- $375M • Clean Water Bond Law of 1984 -- $325M • Water Conservation & Water Quality Bond Law of 1986 -- $150M • Clean Water & Water Reclamation Bond Law of 1988 -- $65M

  25. Newer Water Resources-Related Bond Acts • Proposition 204 (1996) -- $995M • Proposition 12 (2000) -- $2.1B • Proposition 13 (2000) -- $1.97B • Proposition 50 (2002) -- $3.44B

  26. Most Recent Water Resources-Related Bond Acts • Disaster Preparedness & Flood Prevention Bond Act of 2006 -- $4.09B • Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection, and Parks Bond Act of 2006 -- $5.388B • Pending water bond measure approved by Legislature at $11B for 2010 ballot, subsequently postponed and now pending for Nov 2014 ballot, amount TBD

  27. Present Water Conditions

  28. State Response Actions

  29. State Drought Response Actions • May 2013 Executive Order on water transfers • Dec 2013 formation of Drought Task Force • Jan 2014 Governor’s emergency proclamation • March 2014 drought relief legislation

  30. Drought Emergency Proclamation Administration ▪Regulations adopted pursuant to California’s Emergency Services Act require use of Standardized Emergency Response System for declared emergencies ▪ SEMS is analogous to the federal NIMS

  31. Drought Emergency Proclamation • 1.State agencies, led by the Department of Water Resources, will execute a statewide water conservation campaign to make all Californians aware of the drought and encourage personal actions to reduce water usage. This campaign will be built on the existing Save Our Water campaign ( and will coordinate with local water agencies. This campaign will call on Californians to reduce their water usage by 20 percent. 2.Local urban water suppliers and municipalities are called upon to implement their local water shortage contingency plans immediately in order to avoid or forestall outright restrictions that could become necessary later in the drought season. Local water agencies should also update their legally required urban and agricultural water management plans, which help plan for extended drought conditions. The Department of Water Resources will make the status of these updates publicly available. 3.State agencies, led by the Department of General Services, will immediately implement water use reduction plans for all state facilities. These plans will include immediate water conservation actions, and a moratorium will be placed on new, non-essential landscaping projects at state facilities and on state highways and roads. 4.The Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) will expedite the processing of water transfers, as called for in Executive Order B-21-13. Voluntary water transfers from one water right holder to another enables water to flow where it is needed most.5.The Water Board will immediately consider petitions requesting consolidation of the places of use of the State Water Project and Federal Central Valley Project, which would streamline water transfers and exchanges between water users within the areas of these two major water projects. 6.The Department of Water Resources and the Water Board will accelerate funding for water supply enhancement projects that can break ground this year and will explore if any existing unspent funds can be repurposed to enable near-term water conservation projects.7.The Water Board will put water right holders throughout the state on notice that they may be directed to cease or reduce water diversions based on water shortages.8.The Water Board will consider modifying requirements for reservoir releases or diversion limitations, where existing requirements were established to implement a water quality control plan. These changes would enable water to be conserved upstream later in the year to protect cold water pools for salmon and steelhead, maintain water supply, and improve water quality.9.The Department of Water Resources and the Water Board will take actions necessary to make water immediately available, and, for purposes of carrying out directives 5 and 8, Water Code section 13247 and Division 13 (commencing with section 21000) of the Public Resources Code and regulations adopted pursuant to that Division are suspended on the basis that strict compliance with them will prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the effects of the emergency. Department of Water Resources and the Water Board shall maintain on their websites a list of the activities or approvals for which these provisions are suspended.

  32. Drought Emergency Proclamation, con’t • 10. The state’s Drinking Water Program will work with local agencies to identify communities that may run out of drinking water, and will provide technical and financial assistance to help these communities address drinking water shortages. It will also identify emergency interconnections that exist among the state’s public water systems that can help these threatened communities.11.The Department of Water Resources will evaluate changing groundwater levels, land subsidence, and agricultural land fallowing as the drought persists and will provide a public update by April 30 that identifies groundwater basins with water shortages and details gaps in groundwater monitoring.12.The Department of Water Resources will work with counties to help ensure that well drillers submit required groundwater well logs for newly constructed and deepened wells in a timely manner and the Office of Emergency Services will work with local authorities to enable early notice of areas experiencing problems with residential groundwater sources.13.The California Department of Food and Agriculture will launch a one-stop website ( that provides timely updates on the drought and connects farmers to state and federal programs that they can access during the drought. 14.The Department of Fish and Wildlife will evaluate and manage the changing impacts of drought on threatened and endangered species and species of special concern, and develop contingency plans for state Wildlife Areas and Ecological Reserves to manage reduced water resources in the public interest.15. The Department of Fish and Wildlife will work with the Fish and Game Commission, using the best available science, to determine whether restricting fishing in certain areas will become necessary and prudent as drought conditions persist.16.The Department of Water Resources will take necessary actions to protect water quality and water supply in the Delta, including installation of temporary barriers or temporary water supply connections as needed, and will coordinate with the Department of Fish and Wildlife to minimize impacts to affected aquatic species.17.The Department of Water Resources will refine its seasonal climate forecasting and drought prediction by advancing new methodologies piloted in 2013.18.The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection will hire additional seasonal firefighters to suppress wildfires and take other needed actions to protect public safety during this time of elevated fire risk. 19.The state’s Drought Task Force will immediately develop a plan that can be executed as needed to provide emergency food supplies, financial assistance, and unemployment services in communities that suffer high levels of unemployment from the drought. 20.The Drought Task Force will monitor drought impacts on a daily basis and will advise me of subsequent actions that should be taken if drought conditions worsen.

  33. More Details • Coordinating operations of SWP and CVP to meet the severe hydrologic conditions • Delta export levels • ESA BiOps, Water Quality Control Plan • Carry-over for 2015 • Emergency temporary Delta barriers • DWR-ACWA Save Our Water program • Facilitating water transfers • Tracking groundwater levels & land subsidence (NASA contract) • Tracking Central Valley ag land fallowing (NASA/NIDIS project) • Administering local assistance funding • State emergency drought relief in FY 14: $687.4M enacted in March 2014 • (Federal emergency relief in FY 14: $183M announced Feb 2014)

  34. Points to Keep in Mind • Droughts/dry years are a normal part of the hydrologic cycle • Drought conditions develop slowly; drought by itself is not an emergency • Drought impacts are site-specific and sector-specific • The greatest drought impacts are related to unmanaged water uses – rangeland grazing, wildfire, etc • The greatest economic impacts of drought in California have been associated with wildfire and forestry damages, not with urban & agricultural water uses

  35. Lessons Learned From Past Droughts • Impacts are highly site-specific, and vary depending on the ability of water users to invest in reliability • Small water systems on fractured rock groundwater sources are most at risk of public health and safety impacts • Larger urban water agencies can manage 3-4 years of drought with minimal impacts to their customers

  36. Dry 2014 Impacts • Health & safety and economic • Risk of catastrophic wildfires (e.g., Southern California in 2003 and 2007) • Health & safety • Impacts to small water systems in rural areas (including wildfire damage) • Environmental • Continued San Joaquin Valley land subsidence, fisheries (e.g., listed salmonids) • Economic • Minimal water allocations to some agricultural water users, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley

  37. SWP & CVP Allocations • SWP: project contractors presently 0% • CVP: most ag project contractors presently 0& • (different provisions for projects’ settlement contractors & CVP M&I) • For comparison purposes, over the 14-year period of 2000-2013, the averaged SWP allocation is 65% and the averaged CVP south of Delta ag allocation is 57% • Allocations are based on hydrology AND environmental regulatory requirements

  38. More Info From CDWR • • •

  39. Climate Science Needs Improved Sub-seasonal & Seasonal Forecasting!!!

  40. Improved Climate Forecasting • Granted, intraseasonal to interannual forecasting is scientifically difficult… • National Weather Service operational weather forecasts – out to about 10 days • NOAA Climate Prediction Center outlooks for temperature & precipitation (30 days – 1 year), but…..