Something monumental happened on August 25 in California water management that received almost no media attention: It became official policy to reconnect the state’s major rivers with their floodplains. The action by the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, an obscure panel appointed by the governor, clears the way for the state to embrace projects that allow floods to recharge groundwater. … The timing coincides with two other major state programs.
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.
“A major roadblock to completion of critical levee repairs in Sacramento’s Natomas basin was cleared Tuesday when President Barack Obama signed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act into law.”
“In Congress, seniority still matters. Although lawmakers can no longer earmark funds for home-state projects, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has written into a massive water bill a measure that promises to bring more money to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.”
“The House passed the closest thing so far this year to an infrastructure bill – a $12 billion-plus bipartisan measure authorizing 34 water projects, ranging from flood protection in California and North Dakota to deepening the Port of Savannah and widening a Texas-Louisiana waterway that services the oil industry.”
“The House of Representatives, on a vote of 412-4, approved legislation to move an array of Sacramento-area flood control projects forward, concluding [Rep. Doris] Matsui’s nearly four-year quest for the bill.”
“We may be in the midst of drought, but the state this month is launching what will likely be a controversial study of Delta levees — specifically, which ones should receive public funds to make them more resilient in the face of future floods.
“Officials want to prioritize the levees to determine which ones get the money, and, by extension, which of the low-lying agricultural islands protected by those levees are most important.”