Let it Rain, Let it Rain, Let it Rain.
Some dairy farmers in Sonoma County have a storm-runoff capture system that can provide backup water for times when local reservoirs go dry. Neil McIssac has such a system and currently it has captured 670,000 gallons so far this season which is enough to provide water to his 700 cows for a month. Runoff from rain and snow represents a potential large new supply for cities and snow. The Pacific Institute estimates between 420,000 and 630,000 acre-feet of water can be saved. That would provide between 1.7 Million and 2.5 Million people water for one year in southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area. An acre foot is equivalent to 326,000 gallons.
There has been much criticism of California officials for letting too much water flow into the ocean. The long proposed Sites Reservoir which has not been built would have captured nearly a half million acre-feet of storm water the first six weeks of this year according to an analysis by the Sites Project Authority.
Environmental groups worry that capture efforts could hurt wetlands and rivers which could leave salmon and other threatened species with too little water.
The State Department of Water Resources is fast tracking approval for projects which would pump at least 1l6 trillion gallons into underground aquifers.