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Banking on Groundwater

By Lori Pottinger

An expert interview on efforts to recharge California’s depleted groundwater basins to help bring them back into balance.

blog post

From Drought to Deluge

By Jeffrey Mount

The recent storms made a dent in the California drought but have not washed away major water policy challenges.

blog post

California’s Changing Headwaters

By Lori Pottinger

Much of the state’s water supply originates in forested headwaters. An expert interview on how a warming climate and extreme wildfires are changing these ecosystems.

blog post

Acting Locally to Address Sea Level Rise

By Brett Sanders

Climate change is bringing rising seas and more extreme storms. A new program helps coastal communities plan for a greater risk of coastal erosion and flooding.

blog post

California Depends on Rivers—in the Air

By Lori Pottinger

Climate change could bring bigger rains and longer droughts to the state. We talked to Mike Dettinger about "atmospheric rivers” and what they mean for California’s water system.

Report

What If California’s Drought Continues?

By Ellen Hanak, Jay Lund, Jeffrey Mount, Peter Moyle ...

California is in the fourth year of a severe, hot drought—the kind that is increasingly likely as the climate warms. Although no sector has been untouched, impacts so far have varied greatly, reflecting different levels of drought preparedness. Urban areas are in the best shape, thanks to sustained investments in diversified water portfolios and conservation. Farmers are more vulnerable, but they are also adapting. The greatest vulnerabilities are in some low-income rural communities where wells are running dry and in California’s wetlands, rivers, and forests, where the state’s iconic biodiversity is under extreme threat. Two to three more years of drought will increase challenges in all areas and require continued—and likely increasingly difficult—adaptations. Emergency programs will need to be significantly expanded to get drinking water to rural residents and to prevent major losses of waterbirds and extinctions of numerous native fish species, including most salmon runs. California also needs to start a longer-term effort to build drought resilience in the most vulnerable areas.

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