What a difference a year makes, I’m [Kirsten James] thinking as I head to Sacramento for meetings with legislators and company members of Connect the Drops, a campaign my organization spearheaded to drive smart water use in California. Last year, more than 90 percent of the state was experiencing some level of drought – today, just 8 percent is.
Soon Californians will know exactly how much their water utilities are leaking. Senate Bill 555, a law passed by the state Legislature in 2015, requires large urban water utilities – those treating more than 3,000 acre-feet (3.7 million cubic meters) of water annually or with more than 3,000 connections – to file water loss audits starting in October. There are 410 utilities subject to the law.
On March 8, 2017, the State Water Quality Control Board (“SWRCB”) released a draft emergency regulation that would impose new fees on some groundwater extractors. Written comments are due by Friday, April 7, 2017. The purpose of the draft regulation is to recover the costs of state intervention in local sustainable groundwater management under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), more specifically, under Water Code section 10735 et seq.
A package of bills introduced by California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and three Southern California lawmakers would make the existing federal clean water, clean air and endangered species protections state law.
This November, California voters will almost certainly vote on whether to authorize billions of dollars of taxpayer spending for a water bond. But crucially, the next few weeks will determine what water bond will be on the ballot in November – how much borrowing it authorizes, what it spends that money on – and whether it is a good investment in California’s water future.
A bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday, July 21, clears the way for two water districts to extend their systems to a neighborhood on the Wildomar-Menifee border that has been plagued by a poor quality, unreliable water supply.
In signing this year’s budget, Gov. Jerry Brown dedicated $832 million from California’s burgeoning cap-and-trade program to affordable housing and mass transit, including his embattled high-speed rail project. Also tucked into the legislation are directions to set aside agricultural land on the periphery of cities.
If Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers want voters to weigh in this year on a multibillion-dollar water bond – a big if – they will need to compromise on what may seem like an arcane point: Who controls the money earmarked for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta?
From the Los Angeles Times, in the Capitol Journal column by George Skelton:
So let me get this straight: The state government is telling us we can’t hose down the driveway and should feel guilty about watering the lawn. But it’s OK for somebody to pump all the groundwater he wants?
From the Los Angeles Times, in a commentary by Jon Healey:
As much as Republicans might yearn for deep-blue California to fall into the deep blue ocean, the GOP-led House Appropriations Committee agreed this week to provide $5 million to support the development of an earthquake early warning system that could help reduce the injuries and damage caused by a big quake.
From the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW):
California now has an official state amphibian: the California red-legged frog
(Rana draytonii),a state species of special concern. … Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 2364 (V. Manuel Pérez, D-Indio) into law June 28.
If 200-year flood protection isn’t secured — or at least a financial and implementation plan in place by July 1, 2016 — development of the Great Wolf Resort and family entertainment zone, The Trails at Manteca, and other residential projects in southwest Manteca won’t take place.