Tag: Drought

El Nino, Not Quite The Blockbuster Many Had Hoped For

Big Bear, CA, February 29th, 2016 – After a sunny February, the hopes that El Nino storms would go a long way toward restoring California’s water supplies and correcting the damage done by years of drought are now fading. Instead, the new assumption is that in April, the state government will renew strict rules mandating water conservation in local water districts for another year. “It’s already a less dire situation, given the precipitation we have received so far this winter. But it would have to rain almost every day — storm after storm after storm — in March for there to be no drought rules this summer,” Max Gomberg, a top official with the State Water Resources Control Board. Nevertheless, this dry period isn’t as bad news for the region as it might seem, because the giant Metropolitan Water District of Southern California gets 30 percent of its water from Northern California via the State Water Project’s 444-mile-long aqueduct. As of Feb. 22, the Sierra Nevada snow pack, which feeds the state water system, was 94 percent of normal. Northern California and the Pacific Northwest have gotten soaked, while Southern California has been left pretty dry (with a few notable exceptions). Many of California’s most populous cities haven’t witnessed an especially remarkable winter to date. This isn’t quite the blockbuster year that many had hoped for (especially in the south). The...

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Water Restrictions Still in Effect

Big Bear, CA, July 30, 2014 – Recently, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted an Emergency Water Conservation Regulation that all Californians are required to follow. However, for the past decade, the Big Bear Lake DWP has had water restrictions in place that are already in line with the State Water Board’s mandated restrictions. Water supplies for the Big Bear Valley come solely from local groundwater aquifers that are recharged by precipitation. In 2002 in the midst of a serious drought, a water shortage emergency was declared by the DWP Board and mandatory restrictions on water use and landscaping were put in place. Due to the efforts of the DWP and Big Bear residents, from 2002 to 2014 demand was reduced by 27% with a 7% increase in service connections. In 2013, the DWP Board lifted the water shortage emergency, but decided to make the water use and landscaping regulations permanent. These include the following: All water leaks must be repaired at once. There will be no hose washing of paved areas. Washing vehicles must be done with a bucket and a hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle. Outdoor watering shall be done before 9 am or after 6 pm and on an alternate day schedule with no watering done on major holiday weekends. Turf installations shall be limited to 1000 square feet and plans must be submitted...

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The Drought’s Effect on Big Bear Lake

Fawnskin, CA, March 9, 2014 – Some of the most visible effects of the current drought are the beaches springing up around Big Bear Lake’s 22 miles of shoreline–new patches of sand that fishermen and picnicking families are making the most of. Even after picking up over ten inches of precipitation in the recent storm system, the water level was still 7’ 10” below full, compared with being just 4 1/2 feet down at this time last year. In fact, the last time the lake was full was the spring of 2011. The mission of the Municipal Water District (MWD) is to stabilize lake levels for recreation and wildlife. Part of that means setting limits on the amount of water that can be used as snowmaking. Big Bear Mountain Resorts is allowed to withdraw 11,000 acre feet of water in any 10-year period, not to exceed 1,300 acre feet in any single year. As a point of reference, the lake’s total storage capacity is 73,370 acre feet. About half of the water borrowed to make snow returns to the lake, so the biggest net reduction in the lake’s surface area would be roughly 1%. That’s assuming conditions are even cold enough to make snow, though. Thanks to this winter’s warm temperatures, Big Bear Mountain Resorts has only been able to use half its maximum yearly allotment.  If you’d like...

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