In the wake of the drought, California has made tremendous progress on climate-smart water solutions. But even as communities are forging ahead with recapture and reuse projects, we are seeing a gold rush of corporate water projects designed to profit off drought fears.
Thursday’s package, which the Senate could take up when it returns next week, includes money for Federal Emergency Management Agency’s nearly empty Disaster Relief Fund and for the financially-struggling National Flood Insurance Program.
From the San Jose Mercury News, in a commentary by Richard Santos:
In the midst of exceptional drought conditions, a new, locally controlled, drought-proof water source for Silicon Valley could not have come at a better time. The Santa Clara Valley Water District, in partnership with the cities of San Jose and Santa Clara, is celebrating the completion of the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center.
Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators are negotiating a new water bond that would go before voters in November. If negotiations break down in the next few weeks – and we hope they don’t – voters would decide on a flawed $11 billion water bond crafted in 2009.
Bureau of Reclamation Acting Commissioner Lowell Pimley announced that Reclamation will provide $1.29 million to nine projects for Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Feasibility Studies. These nine projects are located in California, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.
Lawmakers in Sacramento representing various factions in the water debate are squabbling over what to include in a bond they submit to voters on the November ballot, or whether to just scrap the whole thing and wait for a better time. There will probably be no better time.
“Capping a rare instance of congressional compromise, President Barack Obama signed a $12.3 billion water projects bill Tuesday, financing improvements ranging from a harbor expansion in Boston to flood control in Iowa and North Dakota. … The new law will pay for 34 new projects over the next 10 years.”
“President Obama on Tuesday signed authorization for 34 Army Corps of Engineers water-related projects nationwide, including a long-sought green light for restoration projects in Dry Creek, allowing badly needed reservoir water to continue to flow sufficiently to meet the needs in Sonoma and northern Marin counties without an estimated $300 million bypass pipeline.”
From The Sacramento Bee, in a commentary by U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Doris Matsui:
“Congress came together last month to pass the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 with overwhelming bipartisan support in both houses. The Senate approved it 91-7, and the House vote was 412-4; the entire California delegation supported it. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama signed the act.”
“About $120 million in new federal spending is headed for the greater Sacramento region over the next 18 months for water and flood-control projects.
“The funding, announced Tuesday, is part of a “work plan” budget allocation for the the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue projects through the current fiscal year, which runs through September.”
From the Eureka Times-Standard, in a commentary by Nicholas Bertell:
“The demand for water and water investments is going to continue and investors will see a continued number of ways to invest in our most valuable commodity. There are over 400 companies in the water business, but the easiest and probably the least expensive way to invest is through Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).”
“From the road skirting its property line, Freestone River Ranch looks like a flat, cattle-trodden pasture flanked by rolling hills. But Jay Ellis, founder of the private equity firm Sporting Ranch Capital Management, sees something sparkling in the distance. … Mr. Ellis isn’t particularly interested in drinking this water. The real value he saw when he bought this 204-acre ranch a year ago was as a premier private fishing retreat 20 minutes from Park City.