American Pickers to Film in California

Source: American Pickers on History Channel   |  2016-01-29
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This hit show follows two of the most skilled pickers in the business, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, as they embark on an epic road trip across the U.S. in search of America’s most valuable antiques from motorcycles, classic cars, and bicycles to one-of-a-kind vintage memorabilia. Photo courtesy American Pickers on History Channel

California is excited to welcome Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz and Antique Archeology to the area. The team will film episodes of their hit series American Pickers throughout California. Filming is scheduled for early March.

American Pickers is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique “picking” on History. This hit show follows two of the most skilled pickers in the business, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, as they embark on an epic road trip across the U.S. in search of America’s most valuable antiques from motorcycles, classic cars, and bicycles to one-of-a-kind vintage memorabilia. Mike and Frank are on a mission to recycle America, restore forgotten relics to their former glory, and learn a thing or two about American history along the way.

American Pickers is looking for leads and would love to explore what you may have. They are on the hunt for interesting characters with interesting and unique items.  Some of what they look for: vintage bicycles, toys, unusual radios, movie memorabilia, advertising, military items, folk art, vintage musical equipment, vintage automotive items, early firefighting equipment, vintage clothing, pre-50’s western gear.

American Pickers is produced by Cineflix Productions for History. New episodes air Wednesdays at 9pm E.T. on History.

If you have a large collection or want to refer someone to Mike and Frank, email: your name, number, address and description of the collection and photos to: americanpickers@cineflix.com (855) OLD-RUST.

Abriter Foster Family

The California State Board of Equalization (BOE) will consider lowering the excise tax rate for gasoline by 2.2 cents for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016-17 during its Feb. 23rd, 2016 meeting in Culver City. If adopted, the excise tax rate on gas will be 27.8 cents per gallon from July 1st, 2016 through June 30th, 2017. The current excise tax rate of 30 cents per gallon remains in effect until June 30th, 2016.

“Californians overpaid gas tax last year due to a bizarre and complex formula that most people don’t understand,” said Board of Equalization Vice Chair George Runner. “When prices fall we must lower the rate to ensure fairness. The cut will be a welcome and much-deserved tax break for Californians, who currently pay more taxes at the pump than drivers in other states.”

California drivers pay two types of state taxes on gas: sales tax, which is a percentage of the price and a per-gallon excise tax. Before AB x8 6 and SB 70—collectively referred to as the “fuel tax swap”—took effect in 2010, drivers paid the full sales tax rate (then 8.25 percent), and an excise tax rate of 18 cents per gallon. The fuel tax swap lowered the sales tax rate on gasoline to 2.25 percent and requires the BOE to set a per-gallon excise tax rate annually before March 1st. This excise tax rate is calculated such that drivers still pay the same amount in overall taxes at the pump that they would have paid before the swap.

In FY 2014-15, the BOE collected nearly $5.4 billion in excise tax for the state’s Motor Vehicle Fuel Account, which helps pay for highways, roads and other public transportation projects. The sales tax on gasoline also helps fund a variety of state and local road programs.

How the rate is determined

The excise tax rate takes into account a number of factors including: forecasted gas price, forecasted amount of gallons sold, sales tax revenue that would have been collected prior to the fuel tax swap, and tax revenue over- or under-collected in the prior fiscal year. The rate ensures that over a three-year period, motorists do not pay more or less in overall gas taxes than they would have prior to the swap.

The five-member California State Board of Equalization (BOE) is a publicly elected tax board. The BOE collects $60 billion annually in taxes and fees, supporting state and local government services. It hears business tax appeals, acts as the appellate body for franchise and personal income tax appeals, and serves a significant role in the assessment and administration of property taxes. For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit the California Tax Service Center.


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Board of Equalization Vice Chair George Runner today issued the following statement regarding a BOE staff proposal to cut the excise tax on gasoline by 2.2 cents per gallon for the 2016-17 fiscal year, effective July 1st:

“Californians overpaid gas tax last year due to a bizarre and complex formula that most people don’t understand. When prices fall we must lower the rate to ensure fairness. The cut will be a welcome and much-deserved tax break for Californians, who currently pay more taxes at the pump than drivers in other states.

“In addition to tax relief, Californians need a clear tax system that’s easy to understand. The current gas tax formula is a convoluted scheme enacted by the governor and Legislature in 2010. The lack of transparency continues to erode public confidence; the public deserves to know how much tax is being collected and how it’s being spent.

“Some will use this adjustment as an opportunity to clamor for tax increases. The reality is that there is more than enough money available to repair our roads without raising taxes. It’s all about spending priorities.”

The Board of Equalization will consider and vote on the proposed tax rate change at its Feb. 23rd, 2016 meeting in Culver City.


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Guard Against Mosquito Bites

Source: CDPH  |  2016-02-09

California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith today advised that although there is no evidence of mosquitoes carrying Zika virus in California, people should always take steps to avoid mosquito bites, including removing standing water and wearing insect repellant when necessary. Californians should also be advised of international travel alerts for the countries where Zika virus is circulating. 

“Although no one has contracted Zika virus in California, mosquito bites can still be harmful and the public should take steps to protect themselves,” said Dr. Smith. “Help reduce the risk of mosquito bites by removing standing water from around your home and wearing mosquito repellant when appropriate.”  

As of Jan. 29, 2016, there are six confirmed cases of Zika virus in California, all of which were contracted when traveling in other countries with Zika virus outbreaks in 2013 (1), 2014 (3) and 2015 (2). CDPH will continue monitoring for any confirmed cases in California and will provide weekly updates every Friday. To protect patient confidentiality, specific locations of infected patients cannot be disclosed.   

Zika virus is primarily transmitted to people by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, the same mosquitoes that can transmit dengue and chikungunya viruses. These mosquitoes — which are not native to California — have been identified in 12 California counties, although there are no known cases where the mosquitoes were carrying the Zika virus in this state. The six confirmed cases of Zika virus in California were acquired in other countries.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued a travel alert (Level 2-Practice Enhanced Precautions) for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing: American Samoa, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and Puerto Rico.

People traveling to these and other countries with known Zika virus risk should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, including:

Use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol for long lasting protection. If you use both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent. Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding can and should choose an EPA-registered insect repellent and use it according to the product label

Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants

Use air conditioning or window/door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home or hotel, sleep under a mosquito bed net

Help reduce the number of mosquitoes outside by emptying standing water from containers such as flowerpots or buckets

The CDC and CDPH have also issued guidance for pregnant women recommending they avoid countries where Zika virus is circulating. Pregnant women who cannot avoid travel to these countries should talk to their health care provider and take steps to avoid mosquito bites. The CDC and CDPH have also provided guidance for physicians on the evaluation of pregnant women and infants who may have been exposed to Zika virus.

Most people infected with Zika virus will not develop symptoms. If symptoms do develop, they are usually mild and include fever, rash and eye redness. If you have returned from an affected country and have fever with joint pain, rash within two weeks, or any other symptoms following your return; please contact your medical provider and tell the doctor where you have traveled. While there is no specific treatment for Zika virus disease, the best recommendations are supportive care, rest, fluids and fever relief.

There is concern that Zika virus may be transferred from a pregnant woman to her baby during pregnancy or delivery. Preliminary reports suggest that Zika virus may cause microcephaly (abnormal fetal brain development). This possibility has not been confirmed and is being actively investigated. CDPH has requested that health care providers report suspected Zika virus disease or associated conditions of microcephaly to local health departments. Local health departments will report cases to CDPH, which is coordinating referral of any specimens to CDC for diagnostic testing.

For more information on Zika virus disease and other mosquito-borne illnesses, please visit the CDPH Zika virus information webpage.


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The Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers to be on the lookout for unscrupulous return preparers, one of the most common “Dirty Dozen” tax scams seen during tax season.

The vast majority of tax professionals provide honest, high-quality service. But there are some dishonest preparers who set up shop each filing season to perpetrate refund fraud, identity theft, and other scams that hurt taxpayers. That’s why unscrupulous preparers who prey on unsuspecting taxpayers with outlandish promises of overly large refunds make the Dirty Dozen list every year.

“Choose your tax return preparer carefully because you entrust them with your private financial information that needs to be protected,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Most preparers provide high-quality service but we run across cases each year where unscrupulous preparers steal from their clients and misfile their taxes.”

Return preparers are a vital part of the U.S. tax system. About 60 percent of taxpayers use tax professionals to prepare their returns.

Illegal scams can lead to significant penalties and interest and possible criminal prosecution. IRS Criminal Investigation works closely with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to shutdown scams and prosecute the criminals behind them.

Choosing Return Preparers Carefully

It is important to choose carefully when hiring an individual or firm to prepare your return. Well-intentioned taxpayers can be misled by preparers who don’t understand taxes or who mislead people into taking credits or deductions they aren’t entitled to in order to increase their fee. Every year, these types of tax preparers face everything from penalties to even jail time for defrauding their clients.

Here are a few tips when choosing a tax preparer:

  • Ask if the preparer has an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). Paid tax return preparers are required to register with the IRS, have a PTIN and include it on your tax return.

  • Inquire whether the tax return preparer has a professional credential (enrolled agent, certified public accountant, or attorney), belongs to a professional organization or attends continuing education classes. A number of tax law changes, including the Affordable Care Act provisions, can be complex. A competent tax professional needs to be up-to-date in these matters. Tax return preparers aren’t required to have a professional credential, but make sure you understand the qualifications of the preparer you select. IRS.gov has more information regarding the national tax professional organizations.

  • Check the preparer’s qualifications. Use the IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications. This tool can help you find a tax return preparer with the qualifications that you prefer. The Directory is a searchable and sortable listing of certain preparers registered with the IRS. It includes the name, city, state and zip code of: Attorneys, CPAs, Enrolled Agents, Enrolled Retirement Plan Agents , Enrolled Actuaries, Annual Filing Season Program participants.

  • Check the preparer’s history. Ask the Better Business Bureau about the preparer. Check for disciplinary actions and the license status for credentialed preparers. For CPAs, check with the State Board of Accountancy. For attorneys, check with the State Bar Association. For Enrolled Agents, go to IRS.gov and search for “verify enrolled agent status” or check the Directory.

  • Ask about service fees. Avoid preparers who base fees on a percentage of their client’s refund. Also avoid those who boast bigger refunds than their competition. Make sure that your refund goes directly to you—not into your preparer’s bank account.

  • Ask to e-file your return. Make sure your preparer offers IRS e-file. Paid preparers who do taxes for more than 10 clients generally must file electronically. The IRS has processed more than 1.5 billion e-filed tax returns. It’s the safest and most accurate way to file a return.

  • Provide records and receipts. Good preparers will ask to see your records and receipts. They’ll ask questions to determine your total income, deductions, tax credits and other items. Do not rely on a preparer who is willing to e-file your return using your last pay stub instead of your Form W-2. This is against IRS e-file rules.

  • Make sure the preparer is available. In the event questions come up about your tax return, you may need to contact your preparer after the return is filed. Avoid fly-by-night preparers.

  • Understand who can represent you. Attorneys, CPAs, and enrolled agents can represent any client before the IRS in any situation. Non-credentialed tax return preparers who participate in the IRS Annual Filing Season Program, can represent clients in limited situations. However, other tax return preparers cannot represent clients before the IRS on any returns prepared and filed after Dec. 31st, 2015.

  • Never sign a blank return. Don’t use a tax preparer that asks you to sign an incomplete or blank tax form.

  • Review your return before signing. Before you sign your tax return, review it and ask questions if something is not clear. Make sure you’re comfortable with the accuracy of the return before you sign it.

  • Report abusive tax preparers to the IRS. You can report abusive tax return preparers and suspected tax fraud to the IRS. Use Form 14157, Complaint: Tax Return Preparer. If you suspect a return preparer filed or changed the return without your consent, you should also file Form 14157-A, Return Preparer Fraud or Misconduct Affidavit. You can get these forms on IRS.gov.

To find other tips about choosing a preparer, better understand the differences in credentials and qualifications, research the IRS preparer directory, and learn how to submit a complaint regarding a tax return preparer, visit www.irs.gov/chooseataxpro.

Remember: Taxpayers are legally responsible for what is on their tax return even if it is prepared by someone else. Make sure the preparer you hire is up to the task.


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Recruiting 2016 Citizens Academy Class

Source: Sacramento County DA Office  |  2016-02-08

The Academy’s 2015 graduates. Photo courtesy Sacramento County DA’s Office

The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, the Sacramento Police Department and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department are proud to announce their 16th Annual Citizens Academy.

The academy was created to improve communication, foster a better understanding and develop relationships between members of the criminal justice system and citizens, including those from different ethnic, cultural, and faith-based communities. Since the start of the academy in 2002, there have been 15 graduating classes with more than 860 participants.

The program provides an overview of the criminal justice system (law enforcement roles, responsibilities and challenges) and engages citizens from all backgrounds in discussion, participation, and mutual learning about issues within the criminal justice system. New topics this year include a panel discussion on sensitive current events and “outside the box” approaches to the justice system.

Representatives from the District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, law enforcement, the judiciary, and community organizations will present information, answer questions, and address community concerns.

There is no cost to participants. The 10-week course is held Tuesday evenings starting April 5th, 2016 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the new location: (APAPA) Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association’s Office - 4000 Truxel Road, suite 3, Sacramento 95834.

The deadline for submitting applications is March 11th, 2016. Application forms can be found here: http://www.sacda.org/communityrelations/citizens-academy/. Program Contact: Erica Sevigny at (916) 874.5251 or sevignyer@sacda.org.

 

 


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No Ship of Fools for These Cruise Acts

Story by David Dickstein  |  2016-02-08

Comedian Chas Elstner adjusts his routine between West Coast and East Coast cruises. Photo courtesy Chas Elstner

Garry Carson has heard it thousands of times on cruise ship elevators and as passengers walk into the theater where he’s about to perform: “I don’t like magic, but let’s see if the guy is any good.”

Some entertainers would have bruised egos not being recognized in a crowded place, especially one as small as an elevator. But after working cruise ships for roughly 5 months a year for 18 years, the well-traveled comedy magician knows the life of taking an act on the road where there are no roads.

“These people are not there because they love or even like magic,” said Carson, pointing out a big difference between playing land-based shows and those on the high seas.

Except for special sailings featuring live performances by major acts, virtually no one books a cruise based on the onboard entertainment.

Then there’s the matter of demographics. Carson has noticed that the funny stuff that kills in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia doesn’t get the same reaction in Asia. “I have to get into the mindset of not relying on the comedy being as strong as the magic and mystery or laughter being as loud if I’m performing in certain areas of the world,” Carson said.

It’s not just an international hurdle for these guest performers; audiences on cruises out of Long Beach and San Pedro aren’t the same as those embarking in New York and Galveston. References about grunge rock and coffee houses might work on Alaskan cruises sailing out of Seattle, but greeted with crickets on itineraries originating from Miami.

This hurdle is higher for stand-up comedians, hypnotists and, as Carson knows, magicians because their acts inherently rely heavily on audience participation. As Carson noted during a recent Mexican Riviera cruise out of San Pedro, on the Norwegian Jewel, people go on faith, expecting to laugh if it’s a comedy act, be amazed if it’s a magic show and do both if a hypnotist is about to go on stage.

What’s a cruise ship entertainer to do?

“An old clown gave me this piece of advice: Never play the audience,” said veteran comedian Chas Elstner, who before doing stand-up on 300 cruises and at countless land-based clubs was going for yucks as a featured clown for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. “There are so many nuances that you just sort of have to play through it all.”

Elstner, from inside Carnival Conquest’s Punchliner Comedy Club, elaborated on what types of nuances.

“Like with cruises out of L.A., it seems the first night is hit or miss,” he said. “They take a day to get energized. It can’t be because they’re tired from traveling since most live within a short drive to the port. I can’t figure it out. But then the second and third night, it’s like, oh my God, California audiences just become wonderful.”

For cruises out of the East Coast, New York in particular, Elstner said audiences take their time warming up to a comic. “They want you to prove you’re a funny guy first, and then they’ll allow you to do your act,” he said.

Tough crowds have also been the experience for master hypnotist Asad Mecci with cruises out of New York.

“You really have to hammer them right away,” said the Toronto-based entertainer. “New Yorkers want to see how confident you are on stage. If they feel as though you’re hesitating when you’re delivering your lines they will definitely make trouble for you. When New Yorkers love you they really love you. When they hate you they really hate you.”

Cruises leaving Los Angeles area ports draw audiences that are, in Mecci’s words, “more chilled out and relaxed.”

“It is stereotypical but it’s the truth,” he said. “They’re a laid back, chilled out, relaxed, fun group of people.”

His take on audiences from southern states depends on whether they hail mostly from Dixie, meaning out of such ports as New Orleans and Mobile, or the handful of Floridian harbors.

“Southerners, in particular, are really rooting for you,” Mecci said. “Out of Florida you’ll get some cat calls and other types of heckling, where in New Orleans it’s dead quiet during the parts I’m telling jokes and tales.”

Mecci stopped short when asked which region of the U.S. spawns the most entertaining hypnotized subjects, but he did say that participants out of New Orleans are a blast.

“I just think their energy level is super high,” he said. “They’re excited to be in the theater watching the show and that kind of translates on stage as well.”

As a comic, turned cruise director, turned comic, Mark Hawkins has performed before audiences of all regions many times over. While he’ll respond with an “of course” when asked if L.A. cruisers are different than those from New York—“You can see that just walking around the ship” —he says that regional variances disappear as they enter the lounge.

“When they become an audience, the reality is people are people,” Hawkins said moments before taking the Punchliner stage aboard the Carnival Conquest. “The demographics are very different, but the people are very much the same.”

A pet peeve of Hawkins, one of the few he doesn’t joke about in his act, is the myopia of certain comics, particularly those who pander to audiences with regional material just for easy laughs.

“There’s comedians who bring a Southern act to cruises out of Texas and doing jokes that start with, ‘Hey, how many people here love the Waffle House?,’ and they get immediate applause. They are these things peppered in the act to get applause, and comedians who do this annoy me because they’re insulting the audience. I hate when people say people in the South are stupid. They’re not. They’re smart, they’re cool, they’re hip, and you should treat them like they’re smart and cool and hip.

“It annoys me when comics complain about regional differences. Yes, they have different accents, but they’re still just people—they’re married, they’ve got problems, and when you stop treating them like they’re different they treat you with more respect.”

Hawkins describes his act as “very personal,” drawing much of his material from being a husband and father of two daughters just doing as best he can. “About 10 years ago I found there are certain things that are universal and I made the show as common as I could. It’s hard to offend somebody when I’m talking about me.”

Another cruise favorite whose shows are personal in nature is musical comedian Steve Moris. Working for Princess, Disney, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity, the Southern California-raised entertainer has performed on more than 600 cruises since 2004. With a guitar always within reach, his sets are sprinkled with Beach Boys music and two decades’ worth of stories harkening back to when he opened for the group and would jam with Brian Wilson and gang during concerts. Because his routines are heavy on classic Baby Boomer-era tunes, and yarns about how he and his siblings were parented and comical self-deprecation, Moris said he doesn’t feel the need to modify material based on where a cruise originates.

“No matter where I go working cruise ships, everybody loves the music—it cuts right through,” said Moris from the Regal Princess’ Vista Lounge, where he performed to an audience the prior night. “I don’t change the act because I talk about growing up as a Baby Boomer, and everyone can relate to what mom and dad did. The music I add to the act is universal.”

That doesn’t mean he considers his crowds as cookie-cutter. His takes on playing before East Coast and West Coast prove that.

“The toughest crowds I may have—may have—are from the New York area, which is ironic because both sides of my family came from Brooklyn,” Moris said. “And as for cruises out of Southern California, I don’t change any of my material—I just slow it down…he says laughing, quote/end-quote.”


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Smile Kingdom Dental Participates in Free Dental Day

Story and photo by Margaret Snider  |  2016-02-08

Denis Castillo, 9, of Citrus Heights and Jose Juarez, D.D.S., owner of Smile Kingdom Dental, give thumbs up as Denis receives dental treatment.  “He is receiving a very big filling on one of his adult teeth,” Juarez said. “…He did wonderful.”

Imagine a whole office of dental professionals working all day without compensation, just because they want to help kids. That is what happened on Saturday, Feb. 6th at the Smile Kingdom.

Smile Kingdom Dental owner and operator Jose Juarez, D.D.S., his practice manager Danielle Mendoza, dental assistants Aida Camper and Robyn Alongi, and office volunteer Erin Castleberry, worked an entire day to give qualified kids the chance to overcome their dental problems. The Sacramento District Dental Society (SDDS) program also sent a dentist, Dr. Penumetcha, and her assistant to help with the higher volume this year.

Last year at Juarez’s office just six patients came to receive treatment on the special day set aside. Others were scheduled but did not show. This year, 17 patients were treated and there was only one no-show, perhaps indicating that the process is becoming more clear to parents of the children who are screened and recommended for the program. Work done included 17 exams, cleanings, and fluoride treatments, 100 x-rays, 16 fillings, one root canal, three crowns, and seven extractions—totaling a dollar value of $14,026.

The dental treatment performed at no cost for patients at the Smile Kingdom Dental office is the culmination of a long process that begins each year with the schools. Under the SDDS program, schools in a five county region—Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, Amador, and El Dorado—may opt to have dental screenings performed for the children by volunteer dentists associated with the dental society’s charity dental program. The dentists do screenings at the various schools in the fall.

According to Erin Castleberry, students are given a score of one, two, or three. “One means they look good, two means they probably should see a dentist, and three means [the dentist] visually can see urgent needs,” Castleberry said. The school follows up on those rated with a three to see if they have dental insurance. If they do not have insurance, those children are referred to the SDDS Smiles for Kids program.

Castleberry, who worked previously for SDDS, now works as an administrative specialist for the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District. “I worked with the program for 10 years, so it’s kind of my baby,” Castleberry said. “[The kids] come in scared. A lot of times they come in with a lot of problems, and oral health in kids is so important. It really affects their whole overall health in their whole body, so it’s really important to get them off on a good start.”

Alongi works now for the California Dental Association Foundation, and was back just to help out. “I love to give kids a smile day,” Alongi said. “It brings me back to my dental assistant roots and being in the community helping the dentists help the kids.” She worked in x-ray and sterilization.

A limited number of dental offices participate, which Castleberry estimates at 25 to 40 offices in the entire five county region. “From what I know,” said Practice Manager Danielle Mendoza, “we are the only ones in Rancho Cordova participating with this charity.”

If the child needs work from a specialist, something that can’t be done on that day at that office such as orthodontics or another specialty, the parents are instructed to call SDDS and the dental society has a list of specialists who will complete the treatment at no cost.

For more information about the dental program, please contact your school and ask if they participate in the SDDS annual dental screening.


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State Water Project Allocation Boosted

Source: DWR  |  2016-02-01

With winter storms slowly boosting water supply, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) today increased its water delivery estimate for most recipients from 10 percent of requests for the calendar year, as announced in December, to 15 percent.

“Our modest increase underscores the fact that we still have a critical water shortage after four-plus years of drought that we don’t know when will end,” said DWR Director Mark Cowin. “One look at our low reservoirs tells us that we need a lot more wet weather before summer.”

Although there is no exact formula for ending the drought and conditions vary region by region, a rough guidepost is that approximately 150 percent of average winter precipitation — rain and snow — would significantly ease statewide conditions, with the major exception of groundwater depletion.

The State Water Project (SWP) delivery estimate (allocation) may be increased further if storms continue to build rainfall and snowpack totals. The 29 public agencies that receive SWP water (State Water Project Contractors) requested 4,172,786 acre-feet of water for 2016. With today’s allocation increase, they will receive 631,115 acre-feet.

Collectively, the SWP Contractors serve approximately 25 million Californians and just under a million acres of irrigated farmland.

It is important to note that nearly all areas served by the SWP also have other sources of water, among them streams, groundwater, and local reservoirs.

Key reservoirs are beginning to rise from early winter storms, but remain low.

Lake Oroville in Butte County, the State Water Project’s principal reservoir, was recorded recently as holding 1,366,061 acre-feet, 39 percent of its 3.5 million acre-foot capacity and — 60 percent of its historical average for the date. Shasta Lake north of Redding, California’s and the federal Central Valley Project’s (CVP) largest reservoir, was holding 2,138,566 acre-feet, 47 percent of its 4.5 million acre-foot capacity and 71 percent of its historical average. San Luis Reservoir, a critical south-of-Delta pool for both the SWP and CVP, reflects the same trend of lower reservoir storage this year. San Luis was holding 641,729 acre-feet, 31 percent of its 2 million acre-foot capacity and 41 percent of normal for the date. Folsom Lake, a CVP reservoir near Sacramento, is holding 398,523 acre-feet of its 977,000 acre-foot capacity, 79 percent of average for the date.

Though still critically low, many reservoir levels have dramatically risen from recent storm runoff. Groundwater aquifers recharge more slowly, with many in the Central Valley sinking toward record levels.

Last year’s (2015) 20 percent allocation was the second lowest since 1991, when agricultural customers of the SWP got a zero allocation and municipal customers received 30 percent of requests. In 2014, SWP deliveries were five percent of requested amounts for all customers.

The last 100 percent allocation — difficult to achieve even in wet years largely because of Delta pumping restrictions to protect threatened and endangered fish species — was in 2006. SWP allocations in recent years:

2015 – 20 percent

2014 – 5 percent

2013 – 35 percent

2012 – 65 percent

2011 – 80 percent

2010 – 50 percent

2009 – 40 percent

2008 – 35 percent

2007 – 60 percent

2006 – 100 percent

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. declared a drought state of emergency on Jan. 17th, 2014 and followed up with statewide water conservation mandates. Since then, the state has been swept by drought-fueled forest fires, vast tracts of farmland have been fallowed and some communities have scrambled for drinking water.

Long-range weather forecasts are uncertain, and there is no way to know if this winter will deeply dent the state’s historic drought.

DWR’s California Data Exchange Center (CDEC) Web sites show current water conditions at the state’s reservoirs and weather stations.

Reservoirs: http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cdecapp/resapp/getResGraphsMain.action

Precipitation: http://cdec.water.ca.gov/snow_rain.html

Snow: http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cdecapp/snowapp/sweq.action

While the early winter rain and snowpack are promising, this may yet prove to be a fifth consecutive year of drought in California. To learn about all the actions the state has taken to manage our water system and cope with the impacts of the drought, visit Drought.CA.gov. Every Californian should take steps to conserve water; find out how at SaveOurWater.com.


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