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.
California’s seismic construction requirements are designed to protect the lives of those inside. But even with the most modern codes, building to the state’s minimum requirements would leave even new buildings severely damaged in a major earthquake — to the point of being a complete loss.
The State Water Resources Control Board’s proposal to impose permanent conservation rules – such as prohibiting hosing down driveways, watering lawns less than two days after it rains and washing a car without attaching a shut-off nozzle to the hose – ran into a cascade of opposition.
Under the rules of the Endangered Species Act, once a species is discovered to be at risk of extinction, government agencies are required by law to take steps to save it. For years, critics have challenged that mandate, arguing that it undercuts the ability to weigh a species’ value or to consider the economic impact of its preservation — for instance, the cost of prohibiting logging in a valuable tract of forest.
As part of his final budget proposal, Gov. Jerry Brown wants new fees on water to provide clean and affordable drinking water to the approximately 1 million Californians who are exposed to contaminated water in their homes and communities each year. … About 100 state residents who lack access to clean drinking water will head to the Capitol today and join with several lawmakers to support Brown’s proposal …
Less than 1 percent of recent drinking water samples at California’s public schools showed elevated lead levels. But thousands more campuses still need to be tested, state officials said last week. A new law, AB 746, took effect in January requiring those tests at public schools over the next 16 months.
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Monday that seeks to beef up dam inspections following a near disaster that caused the evacuation of almost 200,000 people living downstream from the tallest one in the United States. The measure implements several recommendations from experts who reviewed the crisis at Oroville Dam last year.
The manager of a San Joaquin Valley water district seen as a model for how to manage toxic agricultural runoff was jailed last week in Fresno on charges of embezzlement and burying 86 drums of toxic waste on the water district’s property.
Water scarcity seems likely to be a recurring part of our future. Legislators in Sacramento, therefore, would be remiss to delay the adoption of a group of bills that would place the state on a path to ensuring more sustainable water supplies.
Everyone knows about the risk from Oroville Dam after the spillway crisis, but most of the dams in the north valley are considered to have a high-hazard potential. … New requirements for these high-risk dams, including annual inspections, will come into play if Gov. Jerry Brown signs the dam safety bill on his desk soon.
Members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are starting to shape the 2018 farm bill – a comprehensive food and agriculture bill passed about every five years. Most observers associate the farm bill with food policy, but its conservation section is the single largest source of funding for soil, water and wildlife conservation on private land in the United States.
A bipartisan group of members of Congress from California and other Western states had been pushing a policy fix that would create a new funding stream to fight fires, leaving more money for the U.S. Park Service to manage forests and prevent fires. Under current law, firefighting is not funded out of the same natural disaster account used to respond to hurricanes or tornadoes.
From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Bureau of Land Management oversees some of the nation’s most prized natural resources: vast expanses of public lands rich in oil, gas, coal, grazing for livestock, habitat for wildlife, hunting ranges, fishing streams and hiking trails.
In the United States, the largest single source of public conservation funding comes from an unexpected piece of legislation: the farm bill. Although the bulk of the farm bill focuses on commodity subsidies and nutrition assistance, the most recent version allocated more than $5 billion in annual funding for various conservation programs. The farm bill is also a venue to set policy and pilot new programs that grow conservation on working lands in order to balance production of crops, timber, and livestock with environmental quality.
Citing the need for more deliberation, California regulators delayed publication of a report that will outline their preferred plan to fund and manage a statewide program to help poor residents pay their water bills. As water rates increase in the United States, governments and utilities are exploring new forms of financial aid.
Worried about California’s dry winter? Interested in installing a rainwater capture system from your roof? A new state ballot measure written by an East Bay lawmaker and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown late Wednesday will put the issue before voters in four months.
A key deadline has passed to solve the irrigation drainage problem that caused massive bird deaths and deformities at Kesterson wildlife refuge. But a Westlands Water District official said Congress is still on track to pass legislation benefiting both the district, which delivers water to farms over an area the size of Rhode Island, and the federal government.
Dozens of Californians lost their lives in wildfires and other natural disasters in recent months. In response to the widespread emergencies, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators want to change insurance rules, emergency alert systems and debris removal policies and spend more money on fire protection.
California’s sweeping effort to regulate groundwater extraction is still in its infancy. But many community groups are already concerned that too little is being done to involve low-income and disadvantaged residents in managing aquifers dominated by agriculture. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, adopted in 2014, was a Herculean achievement for California.
Everyone in California would pay a monthly tax of 95 cents on their water bills, if SB 623 were to become law in its current form. The bill was introduced last year by Sen. William Monning of Carmel. It became a two-year bill available for passage in 2018.
A full slate of bills related to public lands, energy development and wildlife management are teed up for action when lawmakers return to Capitol Hill in 2018, and some of those bills may get taken up early in the year.
In a rare show of bipartisanship, the United States Senate has unanimously passed the Save Our Seas Act of 2017, which would reauthorize the NOAA Marine Debris Program for five years and encourage international cooperation to prevent and clean up plastic pollution.
The House Resources Committee has approved five different bills its members say will modernize the Endangered Species Act, passed in 1973. Critics accurately say the bills would gut the law, which hasn’t had a major rewrite since the 1980s. The law is a powerful statement in defense of creation that requires the federal government to protect all species, a message that goes all the way back to Noah’s Ark.
This year, the annual bill governing national defense policy almost settled a three-decades-old conflict in California over the drainage of toxic water from farm fields. Lawmakers finished resolving the differences between the House and Senate versions of the military bill, legislation that addresses troop numbers and overseas operations, on Nov. 8.
Participants of this tour snake along the San Joaquin River to learn firsthand about one of the nation’s largest and most expensive river restoration plans.
The San Joaquin River was the focus of one of the most contentious legal battles in California water history, ending in a 2006 settlement between the federal government, Friant Water Authority and a coalition of environmental groups.
Recognizing widespread public concern over drinking water contamination, Congress approved a five-year, $7-million study of the human health consequences of perfluorinated compounds, a class of chemicals that came to national prominence in the last two years amid detection in the water of hundreds of communities, households, and military bases.
Restoration and protection of forested source watersheds is a proven tool to reduce flood intensity, increase water supply and storage, improve timing and amount of water releases – especially for the hot summer months – and improve water quality. … In 2016, California enacted my [Assembly member Richard Bloom] bill, Assembly Bill 2480, which acknowledged the importance of these water banks as the essential complement to our built water system infrastructure.
This year, the annual bill governing national defense policy almost settled a three-decades-old conflict in California over toxic water draining from farm fields. Lawmakers finished resolving the differences between the House and Senate versions of the military bill, legislation that addresses troop numbers and overseas operations, on Wednesday.
California’s most important federal water reform law – the Central Valley Project Improvement Act – will celebrate its 25th anniversary on October 30. … The law was an historic effort to protect and restore California’s wetlands, rivers, migratory waterbirds, salmon and other fish species, and also to promote more sustainable water supplies for a drought prone state.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, would define hydropower as a renewable energy source and streamline the way projects are licensed, with primary authority granted to a single federal agency. Lawmakers approved the bill Wednesday, 257-166.
Reps. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, and Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, Monday introduced to a bill that would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to conduct an additional environmental review of the Oroville Dam. The congressmen would like to see a review done before the commission approves the relicensing of the dam under state Department of Water Resources’ management.
Gov. Doug Ducey’s office is pushing a series of controversial proposals to overhaul state water management. One reason is to assure investors that Arizona has enough water for future economic development.
House Republicans are targeting environmental rules to allow faster approval for tree cutting in national forests in response to the deadly wildfires in California. … The GOP bill is one of at least three being considered in Congress to address wildfires.
In what one economic development expert calls a “unique case” of a tribe’s water rights claims being backed by all players, Arizona senators John McCain and Jeff Flake on September 7 filed a new bill to ratify the Hualapai Tribe’s water settlement, an agreement negotiated between the tribe, Arizona, the federal government and others. … The bill, if enacted, will provide the tribe with 4,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water.
An unprecedented wave of destructive hurricanes has brought the long-struggling federal flood insurance program to the brink. Now Congress faces tough questions about whether to again bail out the nearly 50-year-old program and how to implement reforms to make it more sustainable, secure and cost-effective.
This was a busy year for water policy in the California Legislature. Governor Jerry Brown signed more than a dozen bills affecting the way we manage water. The bills cover a wide range of issues, from funding water infrastructure to reporting on new groundwater wells in overdrafted basins.
The way water is acquired and distributed throughout the Santa Clarita Valley changed forever Sunday when Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill creating one new all-encompassing water district for the SCV.
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.
Now, as a series of deadly fires rages in Wine Country, serious questions are once again being asked about the safety of overhead electrical wires in a state prone to drought and fierce winds. On Wednesday, Cal Fire said that investigators have started looking into whether toppled power wires and exploding transformers Sunday night may have ignited the simultaneous string of blazes.
At the root of the problem is the fact that forest fires are not treated like other natural disasters. While the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can tap emergency funds for hurricane or tornado response, the U.S. Forest Service has to raid its other program budgets – including fire prevention – if it runs out of firefighting funds.
If you want a new well in California, you might have to let your neighbors know how much water you plan to pump. That’s if it’s tapping a critically overused aquifer, and if a bill on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk survives calls for a veto.
Year after year, owners of professional sports teams and developers of proposed skyscrapers have pleaded with California lawmakers to grant relief for their projects from the state’s environmental regulations. They’ve found a largely receptive audience.
It was 11:59pm last Friday, and Assembly Bill 313 sat silently in the Senate Appropriations Committee, where it had slumbered untouched for weeks. … It’s a bill backed by water agencies and despised by environmentalists – and its passage was crucial to the fate of the four-billion-dollar parks and water bond.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 …
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Water Education for Latino Leaders is convening a statewide educational water conference in Sacramento for California local elected officials.
Local elected officials can make a difference for all Californians by taking the necessary steps to understand the dynamic of California water to assure adequate clean water for our communities, protect our natural resources and our local economies. WELL’s hope is to facilitate understanding towards comprehensive long-term water policies that will sustain California’s economy and quality of life.
The Water Education Foundation is an organizing partner.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.