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March 6
1772 - Spanish Capt. Pedro Fages arrives; camps at Agua Dulce, Castaic, Lake Elizabeth, Lebec, Tejon [story]
Pedro Fages


Written by Nick Cahill for Courthouse News Service

After two years of being held to strict drought-inspired conservation laws, California’s over 400 water suppliers are free to sell as much water as their customers will buy.

Drought regulators on Wednesday rescinded the state’s “stress test,” which required urban water suppliers to certify they have enough water to endure at least three consecutive years of drought. The decision to nix conservation requirements comes nearly three weeks after Gov. Jerry Brown ended the state’s three-year emergency drought declaration.

Brown issued the state’s first ever mandatory water conservation laws in April 2015, after a spring Sierra Nevada snow survey turned into a hike through a brown, snowless meadow. Suppliers and residents were ordered to cut back water use by an average of 25 percent as the state’s reservoirs and rivers withered in the drought.

Wednesday’s order leaves in place some urban restrictions, including bans on hosing down sidewalks or landscape watering after rain.

Water agencies will still be required to report their monthly water usage as the water board develops permanent efficiency standards. The water board and Department of Water Resources has until May 2021 to set the long-term water conservation laws, which will require suppliers to plan for droughts lasting more than five years.

The drought took a punishing toll on the Golden State, killing an estimated 100 million trees and causing billions in economic losses to the state’s lucrative agriculture sector. Enhanced groundwater pumping dried up wells and several Central Valley communities are still relying on water-tanker deliveries.

The historic drought also hampered hydroelectric production and increased both energy prices and smog levels, according to a study released Wednesday by the Pacific Institute.

Electricity bills jumped $2.45 billion over the five-year stretch as producers were forced to rely on power from fossil fuels. As a result, the study found a 10 percent increase in carbon dioxide emissions from the state’s power plants.

The study says power generated from the state’s 287 hydroelectric dams appears to be trending downward, potentially due to climate change. Less water means less electricity produced from it.

“There is growing concern that the current drought may be part of a longer trend toward more extreme weather,” the study by the Oakland-based nonprofit states.

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1 Comment

  1. Linda says:

    I am hopeful that people will still be water-wise and not waste just because we had a good wet winter. This is not a guarantee there will always be enough water. Be smart people, use brooms instead of hoses, turn off the water when you brush, monitor your sprinklers, consider planting a garden instead of grass, etc. We all NEED water to survive, remember that.

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LOS ANGELES COUNTY HEADLINES
Friday, Mar 5, 2021
Los Angeles County Public Health officials on Friday confirmed 144 new deaths and 2,110 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 26,403 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Thursday, Mar 4, 2021
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Thursday 119 new deaths and 2,253 new cases of COVID-19, with 26,327 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Thursday, Mar 4, 2021
Los Angeles County Library is partnering with Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) to bring virtual arts programs to our communities, featuring LACMA teaching artists and staff.
Thursday, Mar 4, 2021
Because of the recent rainfall, Los Angeles County Health Officer, Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, is cautioning residents that bacteria, chemicals, debris, trash, and other public health hazards from city streets and mountain areas are likely to contaminate ocean waters at and around discharging storm drains, creeks, and rivers after a rainfall.
Wednesday, Mar 3, 2021
Los Angeles County Public Health officials on Wednesday confirmed 116 new deaths and 1,759 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, as Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in Valencia reported its 144th fatality since the pandemic began.

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