Monday, Feb. 2, 2015

New eye in the sky

NASA satellite will watch the West's drought from space

United Launch Alliance's Delta II rocket took off Saturday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, carrying the SMAP satellite into orbit. BILL INGALLS/NASA

NASA

Wired

The launch of a small satellite won't fix the drought in the American West — now entering its fourth year — and it won't change the fact that January was the driest month in recorded California history. But the Soil Moisture Active Passive mission might at least tell scientists and farmers something new about that drought, and maybe how much worse it'll get.

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Water chief preaches conservation — and balance

Sacramento Bee

As full-time chair of California’s State Water Resources Control Board, Felicia Marcus has a key role in how California stewards its finite resources during a devastating drought. A fourth year of drought means another year of crisis management, and Marcus’ agency will have a pivotal role in much of it.

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State let oil companies drill into Valley aquifers

San Francisco Chronicle

For years, oil companies in drought-ravaged California have pumped wastewater from their operations into aquifers that had been clean enough for people to drink. They did it with explicit permission from state regulators, who were supposed to protect the increasingly strained groundwater supplies from contamination.

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