Topic: Legislation — California and Federal

Overview

Legislation — California and Federal

Today Californians face increased risks from flooding, water shortages, unhealthy water quality, ecosystem decline and infrastructure degradation. Many federal and state legislative acts address ways to improve water resource management, ecosystem restoration, as well as water rights settlements and strategies to oversee groundwater and surface water.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers OK $4 billion for parks, water projects

Immigration and housing dominated the headlines from Sacramento this year. But with little fanfare, state lawmakers working with Gov. Jerry Brown also approved a sweeping measure to provide $4.1 billion in new funding for parks and water projects — everything from building Bay Area hiking trails to expanding Lake Tahoe beaches to constructing new inner city parks in Los Angeles.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Oroville-inspired dam inspection bill racing against legislative deadline

The north state assemblyman who represents Oroville, where the threat of a dam collapse in February forced 188,000 downstream residents to evacuate, is racing to tighten inspection standards before the end of the legislative session Friday night.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Will anti-water pumping legislation be brought back from the dead?

Late last week, we suggested watching this space for possible revival of Assembly Bill 1000, legislation to halt a controversial water-pumping project in the Mojave Desert that’s being pushed by the politically connected firm Cadiz, Inc.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: $200 million for Salton Sea in California bond measure

Earlier this month, a proposed bond measure in the California Legislature had included $280 million to pay for building thousands of acres of ponds, wetlands and other dust-control projects around the Salton Sea. This week, after negotiations among lawmakers, the amount earmarked for the Salton Sea was slashed to $200 million.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California could mandate new Salton Sea geothermal plants at 11th hour

As state lawmakers debate far-reaching bills that could reshape the energy landscape in California and across the West, some groups are urging the Legislature to require new geothermal power plants at the Salton Sea before a key deadline Tuesday* night — but those groups can’t agree on what the geothermal mandate should look like.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Capitol Roundup: Parks and Water Bond

Update at 12:59 p.m.: California legislative leaders have reached agreement on a bill that would place a $4 billion dollar parks and water bond on the June 2018 ballot.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Deep drought stirred action on California’s right to water

Though the nation’s first state law to assure the human right to safe water and sanitation was enacted in California in 2012, not much happened immediately afterward. The law existed in a dormant state, like a seed waiting for a storm. The storm eventually came, but, as it happened, it was a lack of rain that brought the seed to flower.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

California lawmakers leave some of the biggest bills for the final days

Key bills awaiting a final vote … Parks and water bond: Senate Bill 5 would place a nearly $4 billion bond measure for parks and water projects on the June 2018 primary ballot.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

California’s clean-water-for-all experiment begins to deliver

Hundreds of thousands of California residents, perhaps as many as one million of the 39 million people in the state, do not have safe drinking water or toilet facilities.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

California passes bill to protect scientific data from federal censorship

Soon after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, a page on climate change vanished from the White House website, sending a chill through the scientific community. Within weeks, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, proposed a bill to protect whistleblowers and safeguard data collected by scientists …

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

Bill targeting Cadiz water transfer dies in Senate committee

A bill designed to block the transfer of groundwater from the remote San Bernardino County desert died in Sacramento on Friday after failing to advance beyond the Senate appropriations committee.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Flood insurance is a mess, and Harvey won’t make Congress any more likely to fix it

Hurricane Harvey is sure to add more crushing debt to the National Flood Insurance Program, which is already $25 billion in the red. So when Congress resumes on Tuesday, will it immediately act to fix this troubled program?

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Democrats seek $4 billion bond for water, flood control, parks

As torrential rains and dangerous flood waters pummel large swaths of Texas and parts of Louisiana, California lawmakers are eying legislation to prevent similar damage from from the state’s own disasters.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

AP explains: Harvey shows strain on flood insurance program

The massive flooding Harvey has caused in Texas and Louisiana comes as Congress weighs renewing a federal flood insurance program that continually pays out more than it takes in through premiums, potentially leaving taxpayers on the hook for $24.6 billion and counting.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Federal flood insurance program in limbo on Capitol Hill as Harvey’s toll mounts

The devastation Hurricane Harvey has wrought in southeastern Texas has brought new focus to the National Flood Insurance Program — and to a pending Republican effort to restructure and partially privatize an industry that has been effectively subsidized with tens of billions of federal taxpayer dollars.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California drinking water could soon be taxed

For the first time Californians would pay a tax on drinking water — 95 cents per month — under legislation aimed at fixing hundreds of public water systems with unsafe tap water.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Trump team goes to bat for NRA-backed bill, deleting Park Service concerns

Under the bill, the National Park Service would be prevented from regulating the hunting of bears and wolves in Alaska wildlife preserves, including the practice of killing bear cubs in their dens. It also would be prevented from regulating commercial and recreational fishing within park boundaries and from commenting on development projects outside park boundaries that could affect the parks.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Billionaire helping to get funds for San Joaquin Valley clean water

Tom Steyer, the San Francisco billionaire and environmentalist, promised his support Tuesday for a proposed safe and affordable drinking water fund to help communities with contaminated water in the San Joaquin Valley. … Steyer met with about a dozen water advocates at the nonprofit Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability in downtown Fresno who urged him to throw his clout behind Senate Bill 623. 

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: East Bay lawmaker touts water bill with recycling plant as backdrop

Though it may not stop the state’s Twin Tunnels project from diverting Delta water down south, Congressman Jerry McNerney hopes his new bill to invest in recycling projects will ensure water districts are frugal with the essential, but limited resource.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Parks and water bond linked to housing deal at California Capitol

As California lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown work to hammer out an affordable housing deal that includes a multi-billion dollar bond measure, they’re also negotiating a parks and water bond that would advance at the same time.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California’s largest water supplier says federal water bill goes too far

The measure, called the “Gaining Responsibility on Water Act” or GROW Act, has already passed the US House, largely along party lines. Supporters, including many Central Valley Republicans and farmers, say it would cut the red tape that prevents dams and water storage projects from being built.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Local entities oppose funding sources for drinking water bill

A bill making its way through the state Legislature is seeking to improve quality and access to drinking water quality by creating a new state fund, but some local entities are opposing how the bill plans to raise money for this goal.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Legislation — From toilet water to drinking water

This legislation might be hard to swallow: Lawmakers are considering a bill that would clear the way for California communities to put highly treated wastewater directly into the drinking water supply. … Jennifer Bowles, executive director of the Water Education Foundation, said the California public is more open to the idea of recycling water these days because of the recent five-year drought.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

First step in implementing California groundwater law successful

California was one of the last states in the West to pass a law to manage groundwater. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act into law in 2014.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Legislature, don’t mess with California’s water umpire

As California water becomes an increasingly precious and contentious resource, the state needs an umpire with the power to enforce laws against illegal diversions and protect the rights of the public and others with enforceable claims to state water.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

House bill redirects river flows from fish to farms

Republican-backed federal legislation with strong support from agricultural communities in California aims to eradicate salmon from much of the San Joaquin River. It will nullify numerous laws protecting wetlands and waterways in order to provide farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta with more northern California water.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma County supervisor to testify before US Senate panel about local water initiatives

Shirlee Zane, the chairwoman of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, is set to appear before a Congressional panel in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss the county’s efforts to better manage its water supply and respond to major storms. … Zane intends to tell senators about two initiatives led by the Sonoma County Water Agency, of which she is also a board member. 

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Unlikely allies push bill to solve California drinking water crisis

As the summer sun was warming up on a July morning, a crowd of nearly 100 people gathered on the north steps of the California Capitol, many having arrived stiff-legged after a four-hour bus ride. … Most were San Joaquin Valley residents, including children as young as 5, who woke up before dawn to travel to the state capital to voice their support for Senate Bill 623, the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Oroville Dam, other flood-safety projects would be fast-tracked under new bill

Work to strengthen Oroville Dam, shore up downstream levees and other types of flood-prevention projects would be eligible for fast-tracked state approval under new California legislation lawmakers will consider when they return from summer recess next month.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

The drought is over. Why are Republicans in Congress fighting for more water for farmers?

The drought may be over and Central Valley farmers are getting more water than they have in years, but that hasn’t stopped congressional Republicans from resurrecting a bill that would strip environmental protections for fish so more water can be funneled to agriculture. … Some version of [Rep. David] Valadao’s bill has been introduced off and on since 2011 without success. 

Aquafornia news PolitiFact California/Capital Public Radio

McCarthy ignores key facts in claim on California water storage

One of the biggest backers for building new dams and reservoirs in California is House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield. … As part of his push for the bill, H.R. 23, McCarthy made a claim about the dearth of water storage construction in the state in recent decades.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: GOP push to shift state water policy away from conservation

With a friend in the White House and their party in control of both chambers of Congress, House Republicans have embarked on their most ambitious effort yet to change the way water flows in California. Legislation that the House sent to the Senate last week outlines a bold effort to build big new dams and shift water from fish, birds and other wildlife to farms in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news E&E News

House panel to review Endangered Species Act bills

The Endangered Species Act will come in for a spanking and a possible face-lift Wednesday as the House Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on five ESA-related bills. Authored by four Republicans and one rural Democrat, the individual measures pick away at several pieces of the 1973 law that’s outlasted many previous congressional forays.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Congressman McNerney presents bill as alternative to twin tunnels (with audio)

Congressman Jerry McNerney from Stockton presented a bill Monday as an alternative to the Twin Tunnels that will concentrate on ways to create new water.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Congressman McNerney outlines Delta tunnels alternative

[U.S. Rep. Jerry] McNerney’s bill comes at a crucial time, as various government agencies and water districts make a series of decisions this summer and fall about whether the $17 billion tunnels project should move forward.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Federal water legislation: ‘It’s going to be a fight’

Whatever the prognosticators say, the latest effort by south San Joaquin Valley Republicans to wring more water out of the Delta is undeniably ambitious. A bill that cleared the House of Representatives last week requires the Delta to be governed by 20-year-old water quality standards that scientists say are inadequate for the estuary’s freshwater ecosystem.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Flood insurance rates could rise for homeowners under proposal

Congress is considering sweeping changes to the debt-laden National Flood Insurance Program that could jack up flood insurance rates for hundreds of thousands of homeowners under a bill that a Florida real estate group called “devastating.”

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California water bill passes House, but Democrats vow to fight it in the Senate

Some of California’s decisions about how to use its water would be relegated to the federal government under a bill passed by the House on Wednesday.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Congress battles over water priorities in California

Fish or farms? The House this week will tackle the question, which for years has triggered a tug-of-war between growers and environmentalists.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Bill would curb Cadiz desert water project

The battle over plans by a Los Angeles company to sell water pumped from aquifers underneath Mojave Desert conservation areas heated up again this week when state legislation was amended to require a new round of state reviews.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Foam fight: As California balks at state ban, activists target local level

Foam burger boxes and ice cream cups could eventually go the way of the flimsy plastic shopping bag — banned throughout California. It’s not likely to happen this year.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Senate committee to hear conservation bills

Several recently amended bills on long-term conservation and drought planning are set for hearing July 11 in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Political Notes: Dam safety bill advances

A bill that requires two state agencies to re-evaluate dam inspection reports and sets new rules for the reports unanimously passed in the Senate Natural Resources Committee. 

Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

Bill by LaMalfa seeks to streamline outdoor visits

A bill in Congress aims to make recreation on federal lands more accessible although critics are wary the legislation would open the door to widespread fees for the use of public lands.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

That rotten egg smell is from a dying California lake

State Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, says the state needs millions more to help protect the [Salton Sea's] sensitive ecosystem. A pair of measures advancing in the Legislature aim to speed up state restoration efforts, and ask voters next year to approve a $500 million general obligation bond to improve environmental and air quality conditions.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California faces its first big deadline for groundwater law

The SGMA [Sustainable Groundwater Management Act] is now kicking into gear as its first major deadline arrives: By June 30, counties and regional water managers must form “groundwater sustainability agencies,” or GSAs – the task forces that will eventually be responsible for developing their own sustainable groundwater use plans. Districts that fail or choose not to create a GSA will be subject to intervention by the State Water Resources Control Board.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Pentagon, Trump are at odds on climate change

An amendment to the annual defense policy bill requiring the Pentagon to submit a report on the national-security threats posed by climate change was approved by members of the Republican-led House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

As wildfires rage out West, Congress fights over forest policy

With wildfire season raging in western states, Congress is embroiled in a battle over how best to fight the fires. … That’s why lawmakers are considering the “Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017.”

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Rep. Chu bill would protect 31,000 acres of Angeles Forest as wilderness

About 31,069 acres of rugged, pristine mountain land, plus 25 miles of year-round waterways located within the Angeles National Forest would be granted federal protection as wilderness areas and scenic rivers, according to a bill introduced Friday in Congress.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Rep. McClintock’s bill to streamline dam permits passes House

Dam permits would be funneled through a single federal agency in an effort to speed up new water storage projects under a bill that passed the House on Thursday.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Bill aims to help California save water for a not-so-rainy day

After years of drought, the state of California is bracing for water. Lots of it. … Congress is trying to help manage such drastic shifts in California’s water levels.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Budget moves forward with some spending on water projects

Gov. Jerry Brown had asked for $387 million from the water bond approved by voters in 2014 to pay for flood control, but lawmakers trimmed the request to $111 million.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California hones drinking water affordability plan

Nearly five years ago, the California Legislature declared that the state’s residents have a right to “safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water.” Passage of the landmark law provoked a practical question that has always dogged the noble ideals of the right-to-water movement: how does a state government or municipal utility ensure clean and affordable water for all? … Staff members at the California Water Resources Control Board are now taking a full swing at the affordability component of the right-to-water legislation.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Environmental bills go down to defeat in California Senate

Despite all of the bills passed on to the Assembly from the Senate before last week’s deadline, the only three bills lawmakers rejected in the Senate were environmental ones.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Amid groundwater crisis, California bill would require well-drilling information

California farmers have long been able to get permits to drill new wells in areas where groundwater levels are falling without publicly saying how much water they intend to pump. That would change under a bill approved this week by the California Senate.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California state senators want to stop the public from smoking at California beaches and parks

Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Concord) said his bill would address the health problems caused by smoking but also the harm done to the environment by discarded cigarette butts and the fire danger posed by the practice.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Assemblyman proposes bill to warn renters in flood zones

AB 646, which has passed two committees and could go to the Assembly floor next week, would require landlords throughout California to provide written notification to those renting in “a special flood hazard area or an area of potential flooding.”

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Most California farm-water suppliers are breaking this law. Why doesn’t the state act?

During California’s epic five-year drought, most of the state’s irrigation districts didn’t comply with a 2007 law that requires them to account for how much water they’re delivering directly to farmers, a Bee investigation has found. State regulators are largely powerless to stop them, but they don’t seem too bothered by it.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Feinstein bill would provide farmworkers path to citizenship

Lourdes Cardenas, who has picked grapes in Fresno County for 14 years, wants some assurance she won’t be separated from her family or continue to “live in fear” of deportation as a worker in the country without legal permission.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Congress budget deal protects water programs

The Trump administration’s talk of slashing environmental programs in fiscal year 2018 did not translate into big cuts in a 2017 spending agreement negotiated by Congress. President Trump signed a budget deal on May 5 that keeps the government operating through September 30. Notably, the agreement does not include huge cuts to water and environment programs — elimination of rural water grants, for instance, or a one-third cut to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — that the president targeted in his 2018 budget proposal. 

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Could management shift to states even if public lands remain federally owned?

State legislators across the West introduced bills this year encouraging Congress to revisit the idea of wholesale land transfers — ceding large parcels of land to the states, which could then sell the land for development and extraction, or manage it for the public. Those bills face an uphill battle.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Bills seek to provide $140 million to fishing fleets

The two bills written by [Congressman Jared] Huffman and [Congresswoman Jackie] Speier would provide nearly $22.5 million in relief funds to the Yurok Tribe to aid salmon fishing communities and salmon restoration and monitoring projects. The bills would also provide more than $117 million for California Dungeness crab and rock crab fishermen affected by the delayed 2015-16 season.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Effort to ban plastic water bottles in national parks would end under budget deal

At the behest of the International Bottled Water Association, Congress is preparing to approve a must-pass budget bill that includes language aimed at restoring the sale of water in disposable plastic bottles in all national parks. For nearly six years, national parks have had the option of banning bottled-water sales as a way to reduce plastic litter and waste management costs.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Earthquake early warning system nets $10.2 million in Congress’ budget deal

The budget deal reached in Congress this week penciled in $10.2 million for an earthquake early warning system for California and the rest of the West Coast for the budget year that ends in September.

Aquafornia news The Associated Press/Eureka Times-Standard

No fishery disaster relief funds in Congress’ $1 trillion spending bill

Then-Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker declared a fisheries disasters for nine West Coast fisheries in January, including for the 2015-16 crab season in California and the 2016 salmon season for the Yurok Tribe. California 2nd District Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) was one of 17 members of Congress who drafted a bipartisan letter to congressional party leaders in early April urging that they include the disaster funds in the new spending bill. 

Aquafornia news Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon

House Natural Resources Committee backs bill protecting transmission lines

A bill intended to prevent dying trees damaged by drought from falling onto utility lines on publicly owned federal land, sparking wildfires and electricity blackouts, passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

New bill would change CDFA’S relationship with farmers of color

A new bill unanimously approved by the Assembly Agricultural Committee Wednesday could significantly alter the way the California Department of Food and Agriculture works with farmers of color. 

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Yuba County pushes legislation on illegal diversion of river water for pot grows

In 2015, a Nevada County man believed to be running a marijuana cultivation site hauled a 500-gallon tank into Yuba County and filled it by diverting water from the Yuba River, which is not illegal under current law. Yuba County supervisors and the district attorney recently signed a letter of support for a bill that would amend the Water Code to address that type of situation.

Aquafornia news Associated Press/Eureka Times-Standard

Congress working to prevent government shutdown; fishery disaster funds up in the air

[California 2nd District Congressman Jared] Huffman and a bipartisan group of 16 other legislators are urging congressional appropriation committees to include fisheries disaster funding in the spending bill for fishing fleets in Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California, which includes the California crab fleet and the Yurok Tribe salmon fishing fleet.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Delta levee and ratepayer protection bills pass first hurdle

Two bills that would protect Delta levees and ratepayers were passed in the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee on Tuesday. Assemblyman Jim Frazier’s two bills — AB 732 and AB 791 — passed through their first hurdle. 

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Yearly dam inspection bill proposed

State-maintained dams and reservoirs will be inspected every year if a new bill can make it through the California Legislature.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

California Democrats prepare to battle GOP over Endangered Species Act

California  Democrats are moving a bill through the Legislature that would require the state to have environmental laws that are equal to or tougher than regulations in the federal endangered species, clean air, and clean water acts. Those laws were signed by then-President Richard Nixon in the 1970s, ushering in a new era of environmental protections.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Delta could be designated state’s first national heritage area

Congress will yet again consider whether the Delta should be designated as California’s first “national heritage area.” But don’t get too excited. This is the fourth go-around.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Letter calls for approval of fishery disaster funds

A bipartisan group of congressional representatives sent a letter to House and Senate leaders Wednesday urging them to include disaster relief funds for nine West Coast crab and salmon fisheries in a government spending bill this month.

Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

Amid controversy, Nunes returning to Fresno to talk water

Rep. Devin Nunes, the Republican congressman from Tulare who’s been at the center of a political firestorm in Washington, D.C., is scheduled to address water issues at a meeting of agricultural lenders Friday in Fresno. … Nunes is one of 13 co-sponsors of H.R. 23, a water bill offered in January by Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Bill would expand protections for California’s rivers (with audio)

A bill to expand protections for California’s wild and scenic rivers is working its way through the state legislature.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California bill aims to make it harder for megaprojects to sidestep state environmental law

Two years ago, the Los Angeles Rams did something unheard of in California development politics: In just six weeks, the team went from unveiling plans for an 80,000-seat stadium to earning final approval from the Inglewood City Council.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Six water bills to watch so far this spring in California’s Legislature

It’s early in the legislative season in California, but already a few bills are emerging that those following water issues in the state will want to watch.

Aquafornia news Western Water on Tap

Senators call for equity and competitiveness in new water bond allocation

The Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee passed a proposed $3.5 billion water and parks bond measure Tuesday, with members calling for an assurance that if approved by California voters in 2018, the funds would be equitably distributed throughout the state. The bond, Senate Bill 5 by Sen. Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, includes $500 million for flood protection investments that were just added after the recent floods to address the state’s urgent needs.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California water bills are starting to trickle out on Capitol Hill

With a Republican in the White House and the GOP controlling Congress, Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., said Tuesday that he was hoping to build on last year’s legislation that was loved by farmers and loathed by environmentalists.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California lawmakers vow to protect federal environmental laws (with audio)

California senate Democratic leaders announced proposed legislation aimed at strengthening environmental regulations that they say President Donald Trump could weaken.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

State Sen. McGuire pushes environmental protections for state

On Thursday, North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire was part of a group leading the way in state environmental protection measures it hopes will counter potential changes to federal law.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Lawmakers propose adopting federal environmental protections they fear President Trump will drop

Fearing a federal rollback of longstanding protections for air quality, clean water, endangered species and workers’ rights, California Democrats are pursuing legislation that would cement those environmental and labor regulations in state law.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Amid Oroville emergency, California Legislature moves to make flood-control fixes

As heavy winter storms continue to hammer California, the Legislature is launching a review of dam and levee safety and bracing for major investments necessary to shore up flood control throughout the state.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California farmers hope Congress and Trump team can deliver irrigation drain deal

The political terrain appears favorable for a mega-million-dollar irrigation drainage deal, with Congress still fully in Republican hands and California’s sprawling Westlands Water District with influential allies. But there are complications.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Westlands’ irrigation drainage deal gets extended for one year so Congress can act

Westlands Water District and Justice Department officials have given themselves, and Congress, another year to finish a controversial irrigation drainage plan.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Governor’s funding plan for climate, drought

Governor Brown has released a proposed budget that reaffirms the state’s commitment to boosting drought resiliency and battling climate change. … Although state money represent only a fraction of California’s total water sector spending (13%—the rest is mostly locally funded), it is an important piece of the funding pie. 

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Democrats pave the way toward spending $1 trillion on roads, ports and other projects

A lot more money could fuel improvements to California’s highways, airports and rail lines under a 10-year, trillion-dollar infrastructure plan proposed by Senate Democrats on Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A key reform of California’s landmark environmental law hasn’t kept its promises

Overhauling the environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act, is a perennial issue at the Capitol, and the measure benefiting the Warriors arena was one of the most high-profile CEQA reforms in recent years.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

House renews focus on curbing government regulations

The Republican-led House on Thursday approved a bill that would require congressional approval before any major regulation can take effect, a reflection of GOP frustration with what they consider onerous rules from eight years of the Obama administration.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Some Californians can drink what astronauts drink: recycled wastewater (with audio)

A new law in January would allow districts to bottle 1000 gallons of purified recycled water a year. … The bottles won’t be on store shelves.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Obama signs bill securing $415 million for Lake Tahoe

With the stroke of a pen Friday President Barack Obama solidified $415 million in federal funding for projects in and around Lake Tahoe, along with providing funding for drought relief in California and other water projects.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Obama signs bill for Flint water, California drought

President Barack Obama signed a bill Friday authorizing water projects across the country, including $170 million to address lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, and $558 million to provide relief to drought-stricken California.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Stormier times for California’s water expected under new law

The first winter storm of 2017 to drop welcome rain over the rivers, pumps, pipes and canals that move California’s water north to south likely will open a new era of tension over how much water goes to fish or farms under a new U.S law.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Obama signs big California water and flood control bill

President Barack Obama on Friday quietly signed and bequeathed to President-elect Donald Trump a massive infrastructure bill designed to control floods, fund dams and deliver more water to farmers in California’s Central Valley.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Fact check: Feinstein way off the mark when she said ‘tens of thousands’ of California farmers going bankrupt

Urging her fellow lawmakers to pass a bill that would send more of California’s water to the arid farm fields of the San Joaquin Valley, Sen. Dianne Feinstein gave an impassioned speech Friday about the threat facing family farmers.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Long-sought flood control projects eased passage of California water bill

Flood control concerns in the Sacramento area and Merced County helped drive a big water bill that won overwhelming congressional approval despite heated conflict over other California provisions.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

What does the new federal water bill mean for California? For one, a big win for farmers

California farmers and Southern California cities were aghast last winter when much of the heavy rainfall that fell in Northern California washed through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and out to sea. 

Aquafornia news USA Today

California Senate titans Boxer and Feinstein spar over bill

Both California senators took to the floor Friday to take opposite sides in a debate over provisions of a national water resources bill that allows more water to be pumped south to Central Valley agriculture at the expense of the salmon industry.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Congress approves bill on California drought, Flint water

Congress has approved a wide-ranging bill to authorize water projects across the country, including $170 million to address lead in Flint, Michigan’s drinking water and $558 million to provide relief to drought-stricken California.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

After years of drama, farmers score a big win in California water battle

The California water bill now ready for the president’s signature dramatically shifts 25 years of federal policy and culminates a long and fractious campaign born in the drought-stricken San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: A problem ‘too big to ignore’ — how years of congressional wrangling led to a water compromise

Few people expected a California water fight in the final days of a lame-duck Congress, and fewer still expected landmark water legislation to pit the state’s U.S. senators against each other in the last moments of their 24-year partnership.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Early spending proposals from Senate, Assembly Democrats (with audio)

Senate Democrats introduced a $13 billion package of measures that would provide money for street and bridge repair, urban parks, transit systems, trade corridors, water infrastructure and affordable housing.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: House approves California water plan that splits state’s Democratic senators

The House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved the biggest federal reset of California water use in a generation, setting the stage for easier dam-building, more recycling and potentially happier Central Valley farmers.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California drought bill victory could be short-lived: Sen. Barbara Boxer pledges filibuster as one of her last acts

The water policy measure overwhelmingly passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday to build long-term water infrastructure across the Golden State is headed for a showdown with outgoing Sen. Barbara Boxer, who plans to mount a filibuster in the Senate on Friday as one of her final acts in Congress.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

House to clear stopgap spending, water projects measures

Also on deck is separate legislation to authorize water projects that has sparked a major battle between environmentalists and agricultural interests over legislation to allow more of California’s limited water resources to flow to Central Valley farmers hurt by the state’s lengthy drought.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

The race to turn stormwater from gray to green

Newly passed bills in California are helping turn attention to green infrastructure projects that can help cities take advantage of stormwater to replenish groundwater, increase water supply and decrease water pollution.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California’s water future will change as a result of this bill set for House approval

A California water bill set for House approval on Thursday that’s split the state’s two Democratic senators will make it easier for the incoming Trump administration to build new Western dams.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: White House voices opposition to California water measures added to big bill

The White House on Tuesday voiced doubts about controversial California water legislation that has already caused an unusually public split between the state’s two Democratic senators.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

House, Senate leaders reach deal on California drought, Flint

House and Senate leaders reached agreement Monday on a bipartisan bill to authorize $170 million for Flint, Michigan, and other cities beleaguered by lead in drinking water, and to provide relief to drought-stricken California.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Boxer, Feinstein in angry split over new California water bill plan

A controversial California water bill that’s sparked years of fighting has been added to a fast-moving measure, boosting the chance the water measures will pass Congress but sharply dividing the state’s U.S. senators.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Last-minute push for California drought legislation creates friction between Feinstein and Boxer

House Republican leaders and California’s senior senator announced Monday a new attempt to pass legislation that would increase water deliveries to San Joaquin Valley agribusiness and Southern California. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Boxer slams water bill rider backed by Feinstein

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, teamed up Monday to slip a legislative rider into a giant end-of-year water infrastructure bill that would override endangered species protections for native California fish for the purpose of sending water to San Joaquin Valley farmers.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California targets dairy cows to combat global warming

California is taking its fight against global warming to the farm. … But dairy farmers say the new regulations will drive up costs when they’re already struggling with five years of drought, low milk prices and rising labor costs.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Westlands Water District irrigation drainage plan approved by House committee

A key House committee on Wednesday approved a big irrigation drainage deal with California’s politically potent Westlands Water District, opening another front in the state’s ongoing conflict over water, money and power.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: ‘Sustainable’ groundwater? It’s not a universal standard in California

Next year, a new California law will revolutionize how the state manages its groundwater. … There is an entirely different category of California groundwater, however, that is exempt from SGMA [Sustainable Groundwater Management Act]. These are the “adjudicated” groundwater basins, so-called because the rules for managing them has been decided in a court of law. 

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Westlands Water District irrigation drainage bill set for House approval

California’s politically resurgent Westlands Water District is set to win House committee approval Wednesday of a big irrigation drainage plan that’s opposed by Northern California’s Democrats.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Lake Tahoe Restoration Act not included in House version of water bill

League to Save Lake Tahoe is calling for public support to help secure federal funds for the preservation and restoration of Lake Tahoe.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

In this California congressional district, water is more important than Donald Trump

The signs vie for space with political campaign placards at intersections along State Route 43 as a constant reminder to Central Valley residents. “No water, no jobs.”

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

California designs first statewide water affordability program

Prompted by a 2015 state law, the State Water Resources Control Board has begun designing a program to provide state aid to individuals and families who need help paying their water bills. Due to the Legislature by February 1, 2018, California is determined to be the first to use state funds to subsidize water service for poor residents, water rate experts say.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: Submeters — A new incentive for California tenants to save water

If you live in an apartment in California, you don’t pay for the water you use – not directly, anyway. … On September 26, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 7, a law drafted by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis. It requires new apartment buildings constructed after January 1, 2018, to include submeters for every rental unit and to bill of tenants accordingly.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Six new California laws impacting water

The end of September meant both the end of the 2016 water year and a deadline for signing new legislation. In the past few weeks California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bevy of new bills into law, many of them addressing drought or water issues in the state.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Brown signs water projects bill aiding Friant-Kern farmers

The AB 935 water projects bill by Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, authorizes $7 million in state money to build pumps to move water north to about Terra Bella via reverse flow pump-back facilities still to be built.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Earthquake alerts could begin within 2 years

Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill creating a program for a statewide earthquake early warning system in California. State Senator Jerry Hill authored the legislation.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Deal reached to keep US government running, help Flint

The Flint measure, set for a vote Wednesday as an amendment to a separate water projects bill, would authorize $170 million to help Flint and other cities with water emergencies.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California projects fill water resources bill

Flood control efforts in California’s Central Valley get a boost in sprawling water legislation that reaches the House floor Tuesday. 

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

Legal Commentary: New California law amends water supply planning laws

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Senate Bill 1262 into law, representing an initial attempt to incorporate groundwater management requirements under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act into two of California’s water supply planning laws. … SGMA was adopted in 2014 and, for the first time in California, establishes statewide requirements for establishing sustainable groundwater management in all basins designated by the California Department of Water Resources as medium- or high-priority.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Democrats press talks as showdown vote looms on funding bill

Democrats opened a last-minute push Tuesday for new talks on must-do legislation to prevent the government from shutting down this weekend, fight the Zika virus and help flood-ravaged Louisiana rebuild.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Why California may ban new small water agencies

California’s goal of ensuring universal access to safe drinking water, as mandated in the 2012 Human Right to Water Bill, will come a step closer to being met if Gov. Jerry Brown signs a new measure into law that halts the creation of new small, unsustainable ­– and in many cases dangerous – water districts in the state.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

This Los Angeles County water district will be forced to reform after Gov. Brown signs bills

Two reform bills aimed at the Central Basin Municipal Water District — introduced after a state audit slammed the district for political corruption last year — were signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Merced County flood control work initiated in World War II gets new Senate help

The United States was fighting World War II when lawmakers first wrote Merced County flood protection into law. It’s been there ever since.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Senate’s odd couple forge unlikely alliance on environment

The oddest of Senate odd couples – California Democrat Barbara Boxer and Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe – have accomplished something highly unusual in this bitter election year: significant, bipartisan legislation on the environment that has become law.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Senate approves $415 million Lake Tahoe Restoration Act

The Senate approved the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015, which was included as part of a $10-billion water projects bill, on Thursday, Sept. 15.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Senate approves bill for water projects

The Senate approved a $10 billion water projects bill Thursday that includes emergency funding for Flint, Michigan – nearly a year after officials declared a public health emergency because of lead-contaminated water.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Lake Tahoe protection and Sacramento flood control in Senate bill

California’s Salton Sea and state-straddling Lake Tahoe would receive funding for environmental restoration under a bill set for Senate approval Thursday. More controversial water-related efforts remain stuck in Capitol Hill limbo, however.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Senate boosts bill for water projects, $220 million for Flint

The Senate voted to move forward Monday on a $10 billion water projects bill that includes $220 million in emergency funding for Flint, Michigan, and other communities beset by lead-contaminated water.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: With hopes fading, lawmakers meet on energy bill

Prospects for the energy bill have dimmed amid partisan disputes over oil drilling, water for drought-stricken California and potential rollback of protections for the gray wolf and other wildlife, among other issues.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

With nod to Flint crisis, Senate weighs a $9 billion water infrastructure bill

With senators in a standoff over annual spending bills, the chamber is expected as soon as Wednesday to take up a bipartisan, $9 billion measure that would authorize spending on the nation’s water infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California’s heavy water users could face penalties if drought persists

Locked in a multi-year drought, California’s urban water suppliers have, for the most part, happily enforced rules that prohibit specific wasteful water practices, such as hosing down driveways and over-watering lawns.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers enter final weeks of Congress seeking success

The real action, and probably the last chance for myriad California proposals, will come in a post-election session set to start Nov. 14, when the expiring Congress will consider a sprawling omnibus funding package.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Forest Service, Mammoth Mountain ski resort land swap nears end after 5 years

A Sierra Nevada land swap that would add 1,317 acres to three national forests in exchange for about 30 acres serving the prominent Mammoth Mountain ski resort is nearer completion.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

California water guzzlers to face new penalties, possible public disclosure of names

A law signed late Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown requires retail urban water suppliers with more than 3,000 customers to put in place rules that define “excessive water use” and impose them during drought emergencies.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Does California’s environmental protection law impede development? Five things to know about CEQA

In a competing study, a pro-environmental group pushed back at the notion that CEQA is impeding growth and driving up home prices. … Californians have been skirmishing over CEQA reform for over a decade.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Lawmakers pass drought bill to help homeowners drill deeper wells

A drought relief bill providing $15 million in loans and grants to homeowners to deepen dry wells passed the Assembly unanimously, Assemblyman Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Bill targeting water secrecy scrapped in California Senate

Strong opposition in the Legislature has scuttled a bill that would have required agencies in California to release information about water use by businesses such as farms and golf courses.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Water-use disclosure bill sinks in California Senate

A measure to expand public disclosure of commercial, industrial and other institutional water uses in California fell far short of passage in the state Senate on Friday. … Another bill this year also sought more disclosure as part of a “drought-shaming” campaign to discourage excessive water use.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Wildfires could get emergency funding under deal to end ‘fire borrowing’

[New York Democratic Sen. Chuck] Schumer’s frustration has sparked an unusual alliance with Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo and Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, who for years have sponsored a bill to get Congress to treat wildfires as national disasters.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

CEQA doesn’t stunt economic growth, study says

The study, sponsored by Oakland-based Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, found there’s no evidence that the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, has a retarding effect on the state’s economic prospertity.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

Local legislators reach compromise on Central Basin reform bills

State Sen. Ricardo Lara and Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia announced Friday a compromise on their proposed legislation to reform the Central Basin Municipal Water District.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg BNA

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Water bill may navigate 2016 congressional rapids

If a Water Resources Development Act of 2016 is passed by Congress this year, it will be accompanied by sighs of relief at seeing the infrastructure legislation successfully get back on a two-year schedule.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio NPR for Central California

Bill aims to increase Delta’s salmon population, decrease bass

The effort to preserve a healthy population of salmon in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a huge challenge. Those little salmon have a lot of factors working against them.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Senate bills address Western water conflicts and California national historic sites

California has a stake in a sprawling public lands package moving through the Senate, including controversial water provisions that don’t even name the state.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

House keeps California water provision in spending bill over Democratic objections

Provisions aimed at moving water around California remain in an appropriation bill after House Republicans on Wednesday rebuffed California Democrats’ attempts to have it removed.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: House sets stage for post-election showdown over California water

Controversial efforts to steer more water toward California farms advanced Wednesday in the House of Representatives, setting up yet another post-election showdown.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

$32 billion House Interior, EPA spending bill faces veto threat

A divided House is about to pass a $32 billion spending bill for the Interior Department and environmental regulations as Congress prepares to exit Washington for a seven-week recess, but the move seems to do little to advance GOP leaders’ hopes of fixing the Capitol’s shattered budget process.

Aquafornia news USA Today

Lawmakers debate benefits of holding water back to benefit endangered fish

Whether the temperature management of the runoff of Northern California water reservoirs, including Shasta Dam, results in improved survivability of endangered fish or uncertainty for human water users was debated at a House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing Tuesday.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California politicians still split on water legislation

Framed by a hearing Tuesday, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives will vote this week on whether to retain farmer-friendly California water provisions in an Interior Department funding bill for the fiscal year that begins in October.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Water for pot no longer unregulated

Within less than a year, as many as 50,000 marijuana growers in California could be required to obtain state permits for the irrigation water they consume. … This new ability to regulate water for marijuana growing is a result of SB 837, a state law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on June 27.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California drought and water bills are stuck on Capitol Hill

California water will retake the Capitol Hill stage in coming days, with compromise nowhere in sight. … Underscoring the many complications entangling California water, the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority and the Westlands Water District on Friday sued the federal Bureau of Reclamation over measures intended to protect endangered species.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Scientist: Culling predator fish won’t save salmon

A bill passed by U.S. House of Representatives seeks to limit predator fish, such as striped bass, in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to aid struggling salmon populations. But scientists say the strategy won’t work.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Facing historically low levels, Lake Mead officials are fending off a water war. Here’s how

This may be what the start of a water war looks like. Drought is draining the West’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, to historic low levels.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: House acts on Rep. Jeff Denham’s bill concerning Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta predator fish

Lawmakers are targeting striped bass in a farmer-backed effort to protect the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta’s salmon while trimming a 1992 environmental law.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Voters this fall could send millions for Salton Sea rehab

Assembly member Eduardo Garcia’s $3.1 billion bond proposal includes $25 million for air quality mitigation and the creation of wildlife habitat at the Salton Sea. The California Natural Resources Agency, thanks to a previous bill carried by Garcia, includes a list of shovel-ready projects on the lakebed. 

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: California’s groundwater sustainability challenge

California took a needed and much overdue step in 2014 when it passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) to regulate groundwater. The law will take decades to implement, but the first steps of the process are already underway.

Aquafornia news KPBS

Salton Sea restoration gets $80.5 million in state budget

The state budget Gov. Jerry Brown signed this week includes $80.5 million for restoration of the Salton Sea — more than California has ever allocated for the state’s largest and most troubled lake.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Groundwater could be a godsend, if we protect it

Our [Stanford University] new study published this week in the Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences concludes that the Central Valley has almost three times more fresh water underground than the state estimates. … Assembly Bill 1755, scheduled to be heard Tuesday by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water, establishes a shared water database for surface and groundwater and water diversions.

Aquafornia news USA Today

Forest Service pushes for fire funding change

Some forest fires should be considered natural disasters and their damage paid for like hurricanes and tornadoes, according to the chief of the U.S. Forest Service, who laments that 56 percent of his budget is going to suppressing fires. … A bill pending in the House would allow for supplemental appropriations, like those made for natural disasters like hurricanes, as needed. 

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Interlake Tunnel state funding cut 60 percent to $10 million, passes Assembly

Promised state funding for the increasingly costly Interlake Tunnel project in legislation backed by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, has been cut by 60 percent to $10 million, potentially risking long-term project financing.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Commentary: Defining a groundwater management system

In the past 30 years, perhaps no legislative effort to bolster the state’s water policy has received as much attention as the management of groundwater. This effort lead to the expansion of water district powers, the creation of special act districts with unique powers, the authorization of voluntary plans and finally culminated in the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and its trailing legislation.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Farm Beat: Salmon predation issue has new twists

The photo with this column can’t help but draw your eyes. It shows a baby salmon being removed from the gut of a non-native bass that preyed upon it on the Tuolumne River.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Bill targets secrecy in California water data

Farms and golf courses rank among the biggest water users in the Coachella Valley, but detailed information about how much water each of those businesses use is kept secret by the area’s largest water agency. That would change under a bill now before the California Legislature. 

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Should California limit the number of small, new water systems?

California’s drought has revealed that when it comes to water, not every community is equal. … Now, a bill by a Bay Area state lawmaker aims to slow the spread of little “mom and pop” water providers by making it very difficult to create new ones.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

No easy path to implementing California groundwater law (with audio)

The state’s new groundwater management laws mean Californians no longer have unfettered use of water underground.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

First step in California groundwater law stirs debate (with audio)

Two years ago, California became one of the last states in the West to pass a law to manage groundwater. … But the bigger battle may be putting the law into practice.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

New Rim of the Valley bill could add a nearly 200,000-acre greenbelt around Los Angeles

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area could soon double in size to link a vast chain of hills surrounding the Conejo, Crescenta, San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Simi valleys, according to a federal bill introduced Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Big steps ahead on regional groundwater management

By this time next year a lot of work needs to be done on a regional groundwater sustainability plan. … Every big task needs to start somewhere, and this week the public is being asked to join the conversation.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Keeping Capitol Park green with reclaimed water won’t come cheap

Drought-stressed Capitol Park will get $1.7 million for a reclaimed water project in the new state budget, even though the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal analyst concluded that the project won’t pencil out for more than a century and a half.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Sen. Feinstein: ‘We’ve got to reach consensus’ on drought bill

At the first hearing on Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s controversial drought legislation, it emerges that the Obama administration supports the bill. But a deeper look shows that many concerns remain, leaving consensus still in doubt.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Energy bill prospects dim in dispute over drilling, drought

Congressional efforts to approve the first major energy bill in nearly a decade are in jeopardy amid a partisan dispute over oil drilling, water for drought-stricken California and potential rollback of wildlife protections.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

Directors of troubled Central Basin water district say they don’t need reform bills

The directors of the Central Basin Municipal Water District, who in a scathing state audit in December were blasted for mismanagement and violating state law, are criticizing two bills in the Legislature that would bring additional reforms to the district.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Bill to protect oak woodlands moves to state Senate

A bill that would put in place efforts to restore the North Coast’s disappearing oak woodlands made it through the state Assembly unanimously Wednesday and now faces the gauntlet of the state Senate floor and various committees before reaching Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Effort to force vote on twin tunnels stalls

Assemblywoman Susan Eggman’s bill to force a public vote on the Delta twin tunnels has stalled in the state Legislature, her office reported Friday.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Fight over LGBT rights scuttles energy spending bill

A $37 billion bill to fund the Energy Department and water projects has crashed in the House, scuttled by a fight over LGBT rights.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Commentary: Westlands’ foes distort drainage compromise

In an election year, despite the usual suspects rallying against anything that would help Valley agriculture, the House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources has taken an important step to advance bipartisan legislation codifying a settlement between the federal government and the Westlands Water District.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

House wading into California’s long-running water war

Wading into a longstanding California water war, the House Wednesday endorsed a Republican plan to shift more water to San Joaquin Valley farmers and cut the flow for threatened fish and growers in another part of the state.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: House moves on California water bills, but toward what end?

The House of Representatives passed yet another set of controversial California water provisions Wednesday, sending a political signal and, perhaps, putting pressure on the Senate.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

House rejects bid to strip California water provision from appropriations bill

The House voted 247 to 169 Wednesday to keep to a measure affecting California’s drought in an appropriations bill.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

House measure supports shippers on ballast water dumping

A plan gaining support in Congress and backed by the cargo shipping industry would establish a nationwide policy for dumping ballast water into U.S. waterways that environmental groups say would open the door to more invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels, which have wreaked economic havoc from the Great Lakes to the West Coast.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Conflicts swirl around San Joaquin Valley irrigation drainage plan

A proposal to solve a long-running San Joaquin Valley irrigation drainage dispute between the Westlands Water District and the federal government is roiling a Congress already hung up on other California water fights.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Labor unions, environmentalists are biggest opponents of Gov. Brown’s affordable housing plan

Powerful opponents have emerged to fight Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to streamline affordable housing development — and their main reason isn’t about building homes.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

State’s congressional delegation debates water plans on the House floor (with video)

House Republicans are making another push for a bill addressing California’s drought, adding the text of a measure by Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) to two pieces of legislation headed to the Senate. … Here are some highlights from Tuesday’s back and forth among some California lawmakers.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California water bill has three possible paths for passage

House Republicans this week are adding a controversial California water bill to an unrelated Senate energy package, opening a new front in a fight that’s already put Democrats on the defensive.

Commands