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 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.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

‘Deeply disappointed’ with Garamendi bill — Delta congressman faces pushback from his own allies

Long considered an ally of Delta advocates, U.S. Rep. John Garamendi introduced legislation this week that appears likely to test that reputation. … The Feinstein-Garamendi bills are pitched as a more moderate alternative to a bill by U.S. Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, that already has passed the House.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Sen. Dianne Feinstein pushes Senate subcommittee for water bill to address California’s drought

El Niño’s rains didn’t end California’s drought, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein urged Senate colleagues Tuesday to hurry and find a compromise on a package of bills to address the water crisis in the West.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California water bill — Here’s why it’s so hard for Congress to pass

Five years into California’s latest drought, a major water bill compromise can seem as far away as ever. The perennial conflict, often summed up as fish vs. farms, subtly surfaced again Tuesday at a key Senate hearing.

Aquapedia background

Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)

A new era of groundwater management began in 2014 with the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which aims for local and regional agencies to develop and implement sustainable groundwater management plans with the state as the backstop.

When fully implemented, SGMA is expected to effectively administer groundwater pumping, though it remains to be seen if some of the damage done to aquifers is irreparable. Without SGMA, however, there is no hope for management.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: A question for the ages — Can Congress pass a California water bill?

California’s two Democratic senators remain somewhat out of sync over proposed water legislation, underscoring its ambiguous future on the eve of a big hearing.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: U.S. Senate approves $37.5 billion measure to fund energy, water

The Senate on Thursday approved a $37.5 billion measure to fund energy and water programs next year, the first of the 12 spending bills lawmakers must approve to keep the government operating.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California irrigation-drainage disputes targeted in new bill

California’s tireless water warriors have something fresh to fight over, with the introduction of a bill to resolve an irrigation drainage dispute that affects three modest-sized San Joaquin Valley water districts, as well as the much bigger Westlands Water District.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California Senate backs bill to fine excessive water users

The California state Senate has passed legislation that seeks to crack down on people who use too much water during droughts.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Hydroelectric power officials bemoan federal regulations

Federal burdens dampen California’s hydroelectric power potential, PG&E and Turlock Irrigation District officials told lawmakers Tuesday. … In 2013, President Barack Obama signed into law two bills intended to streamline the approval process for small hydroelectric projects.

Aquafornia news Desert Sun

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Federal water bill would boost Salton Sea projects

A major water resources bill introduced Tuesday in the Senate would allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to partner with local governments and other agencies – not just California officials – on projects to address the problems of the shrinking Salton Sea. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Republican Senate effort again fails to block water rule

Democrats have again blocked a Republican proposal that would have forced the Obama administration to withdraw a federal rule to protect small streams and wetlands from development and pollution.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: A predator fish in California has lost its White House support

A still-controversial 1992 law intended to boost California’s striped-bass population can be scaled back, the Obama administration now believes. … Another bill, by Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, to revise a water-recycling grant program established in the 1992 law likewise secured administration support Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Too many water straws in the ground? — Wolk bill would require permits for well construction

Where’s the water? Somebody’s got to ask that question, state Sen. Lois Wolk says, before even more new wells can be drilled in California.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Pushing for tunnels vote: Eggman bill clears Assembly committee

Six years ago, a bill to force a public vote on the peripheral canal went before a state Assembly committee. It died there without a vote.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Senate nears approval of wide-ranging energy bill

The Senate is poised to pass a wide-ranging energy bill that would promote a variety of energy sources and speed federal approval of projects to export liquefied natural gas to Europe and Asia.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Delta tunnels bill mandating voter approval advances

A California Assembly committee on Tuesday moved to force a public vote on a controversial water conveyance project.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

You could vote on controversial Delta water tunnels plan in 2018

An Assembly committee gave its approval Tuesday to legislation that would require California voters approve of Gov. Jerry Brown’s $15-billion water plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Delta tunnel critics put project to votes

For all the plaudits Gov. Jerry Brown gets from Democrats these days, there are still two big things dividing him from numerous members of his party: the Delta tunnels.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Budget dispute over Tahoe funding

Deep in Gov. Brown’s 2016-17 budget was a big surprise for Lake Tahoe – the lake was cut out of its expected share of a $475 million environmental pie. Two years ago, California voters approved Proposition 1, a complex, $7.12 billion water bond package.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Drought proposals in Congress are so last century

Politicians in Washington could have passed laws four years ago that would be yielding benefits today. These would be things like assistance with groundwater recharge, water conservation on farms, stormwater capture and wastewater recycling. I [Matt Weiser] call these non-nuclear options, because they don’t peg the Geiger counter in many lobbying offices in the land.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Sacramento Valley rice growers have water, but markets have turned for the worse

Surface water supplies have returned to normal for most rice growers in the Sacramento Valley. … However, now that farmers are ready to fire up their tractors to plant rice, commodity prices have taken a nose-dive. 

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Bills advance on water market, groundwater management

Legislation aimed at creating a centralized online water market platform cleared the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee on April 12. … SB 1317 by Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis), also known as the Aquifer Protection Act, would require cities and counties overlying high and medium priority basins to apply conditions to permits for new wells by July 1, 2017. 

Aquafornia news Central Valley Business Times

Bill to protect state’s aquifers, groundwater moves forward

Legislation to protect California’s aquifers and groundwater resources from permanent damage due to over-pumping has been approved by the state Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water on a 6-2 vote.

Aquafornia news The Davis Enterprise

Coast Range Conservancy bill moves forward

Building on last year’s declaration of the Berryessa Snow Mountain Region as a National Monument by President Obama, the California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water voted 6-2 Tuesday to approve a bill that establishes a state conservancy to protect, preserve and restore the Northern Inner Coast Range.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California drought and drainage bills could collide on Capitol Hill

The politics of California water is becoming three-dimensional chess in Congress as lawmakers balance competing anti-drought ideas with a proposed San Joaquin Valley irrigation drainage settlement that’s going to get bigger.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: House Republicans reopen the bidding on California water bill

House Republicans intent on storing more California water and redirecting it to farms have resurrected some familiar and controversial ideas, this time as part of a must-pass spending bill.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Arizona wants legal assurances California won’t take its stored water

Arizona and California are arguing over Colorado River water again — this time over whether it should be inscribed in law that California can’t take Arizona’s share of river water that’s left in Lake Mead to prop up lake levels.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

US Sen. Dianne Feinstein says water wars tougher than assault-weapons ban (with video)

Moments before release of a crucial snowpack survey Wednesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein warned against loosening the mandatory water restrictions imposed last year by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

4 things to know about federal drought legislation

Congress is about to try again to help ease California’s drought. … Discerning the helpful proposals from the hyperbole can be difficult. So as a guide to the process, Water Deeply offers the following four themes to watch as the bills are debated.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Blog: Four things to note in federal drought legislation

Congress is about to try again to help ease California’s drought. A handful of bills — some new, some held over from last year — will come up for debate in the weeks ahead. The subject is as partisan as the presidential race, and a lot more complicated.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

Here is a how a new bill would reform the embattled Central Basin water board

A second state legislator plans to introduce legislation that would add appointed members to the embattled Central Basin Municipal Water District’s now elected Board of Directors that were slammed in a state audit for “poor leadership,” violating state law and spending money inappropriately.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Water district proposal voted down in Paso Robles (with video)

Landowners in the Paso Robles wine country have voted down a proposal to create a new water district to manage their groundwater basin.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Blog: Will Human Right to Water resolution really help?

California is the first state to have a law declaring the human right to water, and now it also has a resolution from the Water Board prioritizing it. … In Poplar, California, an unincorporated Central Valley town of low-income, largely Hispanic residents, two of three community wells are contaminated with nitrates. The other one is going dry.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Bill aims to give crab industry $138 million in disaster relief

The bill proposed by [Rep. Jackie] Speier and [Rep. Jared] Huffman — the Crab Emergency Disaster Assistance Act of 2016 — seeks to appropriate about $138 million in disaster funds to fishermen and small businesses, including restaurants, that were banking on the commercial season. Sen. Barbara Boxer is expected to introduce its companion bill on Monday.

Aquafornia news The Davis Enterprise

Sen. Wolk introduces Aquifer Protection Act

State Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, introduced a package of water measures Friday, including legislation halting the proliferation of new wells to slow the depletion of aquifers, and avoid permanent damage to the state’s groundwater resources.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

House Republicans seek to open up national forests to mining, logging

Congress is to consider two bills that would allow states to hand over vast tracts of federal land for mining, logging or other commercial activities – just weeks after the arrest of an armed militia that took over a wildlife refuge in Oregon in protest at federal oversight of public land.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Old tensions boil over once more in House hearing on California water

The year’s first congressional hearing on California’s water crisis incited stern voices and familiar feuds Wednesday, but showed no sign of legislative progress.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Daylight saving time could end in California

Hence Assembly Bill 2496, which would end the [daylight saving time] practice in California, undoing a law that voters approved back in 1949 via Proposition 12. At the time, a ballot statement in favor argued altered summertime hours would bolster “public health and industrial efficiency” by improving worker safety, limiting juvenile delinquency, saving water, preventing car crashes and aiding farmers.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California water politics could get choppier with new House bill

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, said his proposal would provide for new dams, spur water transfers and fund emergency drought aid.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Should desalination play a bigger role in California’s water future?

When it comes to finding new sources of drinking water for residents of a coastal state mired in drought, some say desalination gets little respect in Sacramento.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: ‘Excessive water users’ fine would elevate drought-shaming to California policy

As California enters its fifth year of a historic dry period and residents buckle down to reduce urban water use by one-fourth, a novel strategy adopted by the East Bay water utility has turned the spotlight on the region’s most wasteful consumers – among them the rich and famous – and could become the basis for statewide policy.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

New limits on California well-drilling sought

Warning that a drought-driven surge in well drilling is causing the earth to sag and imperiling long-term water supplies, a California senator wants to place more stringent limits on new wells.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California releases draft regulations for groundwater management (with audio)

The Department of Water Resources has now released the first draft regulations to manage groundwater sustainably. The plan lays out the steps local public agencies will need to take to prevent chronic groundwater overdraft.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Try the treated wastewater, California legislator says

Water scarcity, always an issue in California, has preoccupied policy makers more than usual during a multi-year drought. Many want the state to consider more opportunities to recycle and reuse water.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

House backs bill to require EPA notification in lead cases

The House on Wednesday approved legislation to clarify the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to notify the public about danger from lead in their drinking water – the first action by Congress to respond to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Feinstein water policy bill could signal a compromise in sight

Sen. Dianne Feinstein filed a 184-page water policy bill Wednesday, calling it one of the most difficult bills she’s worked on in 23 years representing California.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Sen. Dianne Feinstein tries yet again with California water bill

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Wednesday relaunched a big California water bill, in what might be cast as the triumph of hope over experience.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Bill seeks to improve, preserve American River Parkway (with audio)

A bill (AB 1716) introduced in the California state Assembly would protect and improve the American River Parkway in Sacramento County. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Flint water crisis a focus as Senate takes up energy bill

Legislation to address the water crisis in Flint, Michigan is likely as the Senate takes up a bipartisan bill on energy policy.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Lawmakers want to put Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels plan before voters

Lawmakers representing the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta, the heart of California’s water system, have introduced a bill that would make Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial twin tunnels project subject to statewide voter approval.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Lawmaker pushes for public vote on any Delta water project

In a largely symbolic show of opposition to Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta water project, a Stockton lawmaker said Friday she is introducing legislation to require public approval of such plans.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Most of San Joaquin Valley on state list of critically overdrafted groundwater basins

The state Department of Water Resources on Thursday released a list of 21 groundwater basins and subbasins that are overdrafted, causing land subsidence, chronically lowered groundwater levels and, in the case of the Salinas Valley, seawater intrusion.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Obama says budget includes more money for water systems

The federal government is investing more money this year to help local governments improve their water systems, and about $80 million will go to Michigan next week, President Barack Obama told the nation’s mayors on Thursday.

Aquafornia news Oregon Public Broadcasting

PacifiCorp pursues dam removal after collapse of Klamath Agreement

PacifiCorp is now trying to reach a quick deal with federal and state regulators to remove four aged dams on the Klamath River. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Feinstein water plan would fund recycling, desalination and storage

California’s congressional delegation continued to wrangle over how to respond to the Golden State’s water crisis Thursday when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released what she called a “discussion draft” of proposed legislation.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Two years later, water agencies receive final round of ‘emergency drought’ aid (with audio)

It turns out “emergency drought relief” can take up to two years to distribute. On Wednesday, California regulators awarded the final pieces of the $680 million drought aid package Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers approved in March 2014.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: If you’re 26, these California water disputes have lasted longer than you’ve been alive

The now-distant December of 1988 was a big month for California water lawsuits that would last a generation and eventually land in Congress’ lap, where their ripples linger to this day.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

House approves bill to block stream-protection rule for coal

The Republican-controlled House approved a bill Tuesday blocking new Obama administration regulations designed to reduce the environmental impact of coal mining on the nation’s streams.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Clashes on California water resume in DC with introduction of drainage bill

U.S. lawmakers from California have more political turbulence ahead of them with the introduction Tuesday of a bill to settle a long-running San Joaquin Valley irrigation drainage dispute.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Punk rock and Plato are touchstones for incoming Assembly speaker

On Monday, he’ll [Anthony Rendon], be voted into one of the top political posts in California, the speaker of the Assembly. … But early in his first term, he charged into a high-profile and politically thorny issue: water.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Demise of Klamath River deal could rekindle old water-use battles

The complicated pact, backed by the states of California and Oregon, called for the removal of four hydroelectric dams, settled water rights disputes and spelled out water allocations for irrigators and wildlife refuges in the Klamath Basin.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Lawmaker wants to throw the checkbook at water hogs

Legislation introduced this week would require the state’s 411 urban water districts to set local limits on household water consumption during drought emergencies.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Governor Brown’s state budget includes Salton Sea funding

Gov. Jerry Brown’s $122.6 billion budget plan out Thursday contained $80.5 million for the restoration of habitat at the shrinking Salton Sea, the creation of a longterm plan for the lake’s management, and is raising hopes for its restoration, officials said. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Governor Brown’s budget earmarks big money for natural disasters

[Gov. Jerry] Brown’s $170.7 billion budget proposal includes a $719 million one-time drought package, including an extra $215 million to the state’s emergency fund for battling big blazes.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Lawmakers look Down Under to help state get over the drought

Don’t be surprised to see a flurry of new legislative proposals in 2016 that push toilet water recycling, rooftop water tanks and underground systems to filter sewer sludge for field irrigation in California. Call it the Australian plan.

Aquafornia news KLCC NPR for Oregonians

Klamath Agreement supporters will decide future of compromise (with audio)

Congress has adjourned for the year without authorizing the Klamath water agreements. And now the locally-negotiated compromises will expire at the end of the year unless signees decide to extend.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Congress backs bill banning microbeads in soap, body wash

Plastic microbeads used in soaps, body washes and other personal-care products will be phased out starting in 2017 under legislation approved by Congress and sent to the president.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Senate approves bill to overhaul chemical regulation

A bill to set safety standards for tens of thousands of chemicals that now are unregulated is one step closer to becoming law.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Corps of Engineers to get $1.3 billion funding boost in budget bill

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will receive a 27 percent spending boost in a $1.1 trillion budget bill working its way through Congress this week.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

GOP members blame Feinstein for blocking drought language

Debate over a plan to address California’s drought continued Friday as the Republicans in the state’s delegation held a news conference blaming Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) for not supporting their bid to insert the plan into a must-pass spending bill.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Drought worries weren’t enough to force agreement on Calif. water bill

California lawmakers’ repeated failures to agree on legislation to resolve the state’s seemingly endless battle over how to use its water resources raise new questions about whether they’ll ever be able to find a compromise. This year, the climate looked ripe for an agreement.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Angry California Republicans call drought bill dead for the year

The utter collapse of negotiations means a California water package that in its latest manifestation spanned 92 pages will not be slipped into a much larger, much-pass omnibus federal spending package needed to keep the federal government open. 

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

2 House bills would open California public lands to off-road vehicles

Off-road vehicles could again be roaring through Fresno County’s western hills and Southern California’s desert under bills weighed Wednesday by a House panel.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought relief language proposed by California Republicans

Document, obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Californians clash as GOP seeks $300 million for drought in spending bill

California Republicans will continue trying to include language addressing the state’s drought in a must-pass bill to fund the federal government, over objections from the state’s Democratic delegation.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A deal to remove four Klamath River dams is in danger of collapse

Five years after a high-profile deal was struck to remove four hydroelectric dams and improve conditions on one of the West Coast’s prime salmon rivers, the agreement is on the verge of collapse for lack of action by Congress.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Feinstein-McCarthy clash dooms prospects for drought law for year

A closed-door attempt to rewrite California water law crashed late last week in a public row between Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy that could doom drought legislation for yet another year.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

‘Power struggle’ over local groundwater

A new law regulating groundwater use for the first time in California is decades away from being fully implemented. But already, it is clear how difficult it will be for local water providers to comply. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Democrats criticize GOP attempt to insert drought plan in federal spending bill

California Democrats are fuming over an attempt by the state’s Republican House members to insert language addressing the state’s drought into a must-pass bill to fund the federal government.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Amid complaints about secrecy, California water bill bogs down again

A California water bill that skeptics say has been cloaked in excessive secrecy will probably miss its Capitol Hill train this year. … The latest plot turn in California water politics bears a striking resemblance to past Capitol Hill narratives.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Oregon congressman releases draft Klamath River bill

Four weeks before a set of hard-won water agreements in the Klamath River Basin of Oregon and California will collapse, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, an Oregon Republican, published draft legislation to rescue the deal and prevent water relations in the contested basin from souring.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Off-roaders may again have access to federal land in Fresno County

In a classic Capitol Hill tradeoff, conservatives would get the Clear Creek Management Area reopened to off-roaders while liberals would secure new wilderness and wild-and-scenic river designation for other federal lands.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: With Klamath bill uncertain, dam relicensing moves forward

The process to relicense the hydroelectric dam system on the Klamath River will likely move forward if Congress fails to act by the end of the year on historic settlement agreements to remove four of the dams.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Councilman pushes for limits to artificial turf installations

A California law – that was passed to respond to the drought – allows artificial turf on all residential property. But, a Sacramento city councilman says the law should allow cities to restrict its use.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Tensions, threats as California’s new groundwater law takes shape

The tensions in Kings County offer just a taste of what’s expected in cities and towns throughout California’s farm belt over the next few years as local officials work to enact the state’s first-ever groundwater regulations.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Salton Sea — Are changes ahead for troubled shorelines?

The first significant restoration project has begun at the Salton Sea, where declining water levels have triggered widespread odors, unhealthful blowing dust and shrinking habitat for birds.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Dueling drought relief bills reveal stark differences

As California enters the fifth consecutive year of unprecedented drought, Congress is debating two competing bills designed to provide federal drought relief to California agriculture. The proposals reveal stark differences in proposed federal water and environmental policy.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Human cost rises as old bridges, dams and roads go unrepaired

From coast to coast, the country’s once-envied collection of bridges, dams, pipelines, sewage treatment plants and levees is crumbling.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: A new law stops gold dredging

Gold is, of course, no longer even a minor factor in California’s economy. But for decades, the 49er spirit has survived in a few thousand semi-professional hobbyists who have used small suction dredges to gather gold-bearing gravel from streams.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Key provision for groundwater regulation approved (with audio)

It’s been one year since California Governor Jerry Brown signed a landmark law to manage the state’s groundwater. The California Water Commission has approved new groundwater basin boundaries – the first major step in implementing the law.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California lawmakers head to Australia to study drought response

While the rest of us hope for a strong El Niño this winter, California lawmakers are looking to farther-flung locales for solutions to the state’s historic drought, now deep into its fourth year.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Commentary: Congress can help California with comprehensive water plan

As Congress considers an appropriate response to the Western drought, our experience in California gives us a keen sense of how Congress can best help. … I [California Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird] take passage of Proposition 1 as a resounding endorsement of a constructive approach that does not pit urban or agricultural users against one another and does not undermine water rights or environmental protection laws.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

Blog: New water laws address groundwater, marijuana

As the California legislative session came to a close, Governor Brown signed more than 20 bills that address different aspects of water policy, ranging from water conservation and measurement to water quality. Two bill packages took important steps toward improving groundwater management and reducing the negative environmental impacts of marijuana farming.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Bill closes loophole in state ag land preservation program

Of the many bills signed by Gov. Jerry Brown this month, one was inspired by closed-door negotiations by the state costing Humboldt County hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Mokelumne ‘wild and scenic’ bill passes

A portion of the Mokelumne River in the Mother Lode may be one step closer to being declared “wild and scenic,” after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill late last week.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Salton Sea survival boosted

The California Natural Resources Agency will move forward with the projects in the coming months and work with Colorado River officials to accelerate planning, permitting and construction, the governor’s office said. 

Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP

Legal Commentary: Governor signs Sustainable Groundwater Management Act Part II: Groundwater adjudications meet groundwater management

On October 9, 2015, Governor Brown completed what is probably one of the most remarkable two years in water legislation in California’s history. … In signing SGMA, the Governor pledged that during the 2014/15 legislative session, he would submit a proposal to streamline groundwater adjudications. With the signing of AB 1390 (Alejo) and SB 226 (Pavley), the Governor kept his promise.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

New mining law may prompt litigation actions

Among the batch of bills signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last week is one that sets new water quality regulations on certain types of mining popular in the North Coast area and could result in the state lifting its ban on new mining activity that began in 2009. 

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA)

Governor signs groundwater adjudication bills into law

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed into law two groundwater bills, AB 1390 (Alejo) and SB 226 (Pavley), that establish an improved process for groundwater adjudication in the state. Both bills take effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California cannabis regulations signed into law

Rules governing pesticides and water discharge will apply to cannabis, newly classified as an agricultural product. [Gov. Jerry] Brown directly addressed pot’s ecological implications in a signing message, saying he would direct the state Natural Resources Agency to “identify projects to begin the restoration of our most impacted areas in the state.”

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Leaky water pipes losing billions of gallons targeted by new state law

With California mired in the worst drought in state history, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed into law a measure aimed at reducing the billions of gallons of water lost every year across the state from leaks in aging and cracked water pipes in hundreds of city water systems.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Restrictions on water rates get newfound opposition from Gov. Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown is picking a fight over a two-decade-old law that can make it difficult to increase water rates, raising the possibility of a new battle over the issue at the ballot box next year.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Jerry Brown clears way for artificial turf, blasts Prop. 218

With California withering through a multiyear drought, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed legislation banning cities and counties from prohibiting drought-tolerant landscaping, including synthetic grass and artificial turf.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown orders study aiming to restore parts of shrinking Salton Sea

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill to require the Salton Sea Authority, working with the Natural Resources Agency, to study projects to restore parts of the rapidly shrinking Salton Sea, a huge and troubled body of water considered a health menace.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California to phase out microbeads used in soaps, toothpaste

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Thursday requiring California to phase out the use of microscopic exfoliating beads in personal care products sold in the state starting in 2020 to protect fish and wildlife.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun Washington Bureau

Drought relief legislation proves challenging in D.C.

Thursday’s Senate committee hearing on legislation to provide drought relief in the West showed why passing anything on this issue is so difficult.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Senators drill into California water bill

Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, [Sen. Lisa] Murkowski convened the two-hour hearing Thursday primarily to consider significantly different House and Senate versions of California water legislation. The morning hearing was the first to be held specifically on the bills.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Plastic microbeads and state coal investments banned as Gov. Jerry Brown signs new laws

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed 23 new environmental bills into law, banning tiny plastic beads in cosmetics that scientists say are polluting the ocean and San Francisco Bay, toughening oil pipeline laws and requiring the state’s massive pension funds to sell off their coal stocks.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Westlands Water District agreement a retreat from previous U.S. plan

Five years ago, a U.S. Interior Department official outlined the terms of potential legislation to resolve a lingering battle over badly drained farmland in the Westlands Water District.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

State legislation could lift gold mining ban

For a local tribe and environmental groups, recently passed state legislation that would require a certain method of gold mining to comply with the state’s clean water regulations could be the key to resolving long-standing environmental concerns and litigation.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: California groundwater law tests state’s capacity to oversee a vital resource

On September 16, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown, cheerfully triumphant, signed into law the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which many observers assert is the most significant addition to California’s water protection code in a century.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Diving in on groundwater law

For years, an obscure team of water wonks has met each month in a conference room at the California Water Service Co. offices in downtown Stockton. Their charge: To protect the region’s precious groundwater, an invisible natural resource as little-known as those who guard it.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

San Joaquin Valley officials lobby and learn on Capitol Hill

In an annual lobbying ritual, more than 30 officials from eight [San Joaquin] valley counties this week swarmed the hill in search of federal support for an assortment of projects and priorities. … What they got was a crash course in congressional politics, circa 2015.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Sen. Hertzberg proposes California reuse all treated water

With California in the fourth year of a drought, a state lawmaker has introduced a last-minute bill that would require half of treated wastewater to be used for beneficial purposes, including landscape watering, by 2026 and 100% usage by 2036.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California lawmakers approve ban on plastic microbeads

California lawmakers on Tuesday approved a measure banning the sale of personal care products that contain plastic microbeads starting in 2020.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Gov. Brown acts to protect homeowners installing artificial turf

California homeowners who replace their water-gulping grass lawns with artificial turf in response to the drought would be protected from sanctions by homeowner associations under one of 10 bills signed Friday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California law sows seed for artificial lawns

Drought-resistant artificial turf can’t be prohibited by California homeowners associations under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed Friday.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

After the drought: Private well owners left behind?

The state Legislature last month balked at a measure that would have provided $10 million for grants and low-interest loans to replace private dry wells. The bill is now in limbo, even though many lawmakers seemed to like it.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California fines oil companies for failing to report water use data

The state fined 30 oil companies on Thursday for failing to meet a deadline to report information about the source, volume and disposal of water used in oil and gas production.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

Blog: The Drought and Californians’ views on climate policy

The California Legislature is considering bills that would expand state efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. One, SB 32, would require that California reduce emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Another, SB 350, would require that petroleum use in cars be reduced by 50 percent, half of the state’s electricity come from renewable energy sources, and buildings double their energy efficiency—all by 2030. Our July statewide survey examined support for the goals of these bills.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

As wildfires rage and budgets dwindle, more federal funds sought for firefighting

The record wildfire season scorching the West is prompting renewed calls for Congress to change how it funds firefighting, a push that comes as the head of the Forest Service said the agency would soon exceed its firefighting budget for the year — again.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Thinking outside the pipe

Last month, U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney ripped the governor’s twin tunnels plan, calling it “misguided” and wasteful. … “But I can’t just say ‘No,’ ” McNerney said Tuesday after hosting a drought forum at the Robert J. Cabral Agricultural Center in south Stockton.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Lake Tahoe Summit addresses important issues

Nevada Congressman Mark Amodei recalled cleaning toilets at Sand Harbor. … Those were some of the stories business, state and federal leaders referred to during the 2015 Lake Tahoe Summit at Round Hill Pines Beach on Monday, Aug. 24.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Wildfire threat hangs over Lake Tahoe Summit (with audio)

Though there was no smoke in the sky, the threat of wildfires still hung over the annual Lake Tahoe Summit. 

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Political differences could peak at Lake Tahoe summit

The lawmakers convening Monday for a major Lake Tahoe conference confront a Capitol Hill conflict over how best to protect the much-beloved mountain region. They differ over money, environmental laws, timber harvesting and more.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: To protect Lake Tahoe, promote healthy forests

When elected officials from California and Nevada meet Monday for the 19th annual Lake Tahoe Summit, much attention will be given to the clarity of the lake and protecting the unique basin environment. Part of the discussion must include the health of our national forests and their associated watersheds.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Commentary: Protecting Lake Tahoe for future generations

There are many threats facing Lake Tahoe, and unless we take action, the pristine beauty [John] Muir described will soon be only a memory. We [Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.] joined our colleagues, Senators Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer, to introduce the bipartisan Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015, a bill to protect Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Basin for generations to come.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Leadership gap hinders federal drought response

The federal response to the Western drought has been hindered by high-level vacancies, bureaucratic caution and political calculations that have thrown sand in the gears.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Lawmaker wants label on food made with ‘fracking water’

A California lawmaker has proposed a new label for food irrigated with what he calls “fracking water.” … Oil companies sell Central Valley farms millions of gallons of treated wastewater every day for irrigation.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Activists see Sonoma County winegrowers’ proposed bill as a ‘water grab’

Environmentalists are mobilizing in protest of a would-be bill backed by the local wine industry that would create an irrigation district intended to protect the water rights of about 1,000 grape growers in the Russian River region.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Firefighting consumes Forest Service budget, sparks political clash

Lawmakers are seeking budget solutions amid a superheated political climate as the wildland fires now raging across California, Washington and other Western states burn through federal dollars as well as forests. A new report warns the funding problem will worsen.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Many snags ahead for Calif. water bills

Publicly and privately, California lawmakers are pushing to get a big water bill off its current glacial pace. But history cautions that California legislation this ambitious always takes time, and plenty of it.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Sen. Feinstein introduces $1.3-billion Calif. drought-relief bill

 Sen. Dianne Feinstein filed her long-awaited legislative response to California’s water crisis on Wednesday, hoping to broker a compromise that has eluded Congress through four years of fallow fields and brown lawns.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: More fires across Calif., but less acreage burned

The drastic drop in acres burned in the past year is in large part because of an increase in the number of crews and aircrafts CalFire was able to obtain through the state declaring a drought emergency last year, officials say.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Commentary: Partnership and collaboration crucial to solving Tahoe’s problems

We face major environmental challenges at Tahoe, including the uncertainties of climate change. … This month, our bi-state delegation in the U.S. Senate introduced the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Five questions crucial to future of California drought legislation

The House of Representatives’ passage Thursday of an ambitious and controversial California water bill now starts a round of maneuvering that will show whether a divided Congress can get its act together and legislate.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Congress approves funds to fight water hyacinth in the Delta (with audio)

Congress has approved an amendment to a proposed federal water bill that would add $1 million to the fight against water hyacinth in the Delta.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Senators introduce Lake Tahoe bill

Sponsored by U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-Nevada) along with Harry Reid (D-Nevada), Dianne Feinstein (D-California), and Barbara Boxer (D-California), the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act would authorize up to $415 million in federal funding over 10 years to help continue critical environmental restoration work at Lake Tahoe.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California drought bill roils Capitol Hill waters

A Republican-drafted California water bill approved by the House of Representatives on Thursday now faces a serious test in the Senate and beyond.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Bill advances to allow HOA members to install turf without fear of fines

A bill allowing residents of homeowners associations to install artificial turf without fear of fines was approved unanimously this week by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

House GOP set to pass another California water bill

House Republicans are making another push to pass legislation designed to bring more water to California’s farm belt despite criticism from the White House and congressional Democrats.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: House GOP’s California water bill still a long way from port

Four years into California’s latest devastating drought, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Thursday will pass another catch-all water bill that’s nowhere near done.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

CA water agencies resist bill to report water losses from leaky, broken infrastructure (with audio)

While water consumers are pressed to save every drop in the continuing drought, water utilities keep poor track of how much of their supply is lost before it ever reaches faucets – and at least some are resisting a bill to make them report those loses more frequently.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown signs bill barring fines for dead lawns during drought

Cities and counties will no longer be able to impose fines on residents for unsightly brown lawns while the state is in a drought, under a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday afternoon.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Report shows potential fracking problems (with audio)

The peer-reviewed study from the California Council on Science and Technology was required as part of fracking legislation the state passed in 2013. 

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California’s Matsui wants to bypass Congress on water recycling projects

New legislation in Congress could help accelerate the construction of wastewater recycling facilities in California in a bid to improve severe drought conditions in the state.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Republicans’ California drought bill triggers debate

A California water bill easily passed the Republican-controlled House Natural Resources Committee on a near party-line vote after a lengthy, heated debate between the two political parties.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: New drought-relief bill introduced in Congress

After touring water recycling facilities in Southern California last week, a Democratic congressman from San Rafael introduced an omnibus drought-relief bill Wednesday that will compete with Republican drought-response bills.

Aquafornia news Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard (KMTG) Natural Resources Law Blog

Blog: DWR releases discussion papers identifying key topics it will likely address in groundwater management regulations

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has a prominent role in implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA ["sigma"]). One of DWR’s key roles is to promulgate emergency regulations that further interpret and define how SGMA is to be implemented and complied with.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: House panel will approve California water bill, but then what?

It’s a familiar Capitol Hill script, where the ultimate plot twist for California water legislation would be bipartisan compromise that leads to relevant, real-world success.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California bill could allow tax on water wasters in drought (with audio)

A bill authored by Democratic Senator Bob Wieckowski would allow water districts to tax excessive water users up to 300-percent of the purchase price.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California paid sick leave, fracking, phone kill-switch laws take effect

In the end Senate Bill 4 regulating hydraulic fracturing pleased neither environmentalists nor the oil and gas industry, but supporters argue it imposes needed oversight by requiring well permits, disclosure of what chemicals are used, water testing and studies of fracking’s impact.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Congressman seeks to end California water wars with wastewater recycling, desalination

Northern California Rep. Jared Huffman came to Southern California to push his $1.4 billion drought bill and find some common ground in what he called the state’s water wars being waged in the halls of Sacramento and Washington.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Some addresses may be hidden as California well reports become public

After more than six decades of secrecy, the reports that water well drillers file with the state are set to become public under a bill signed into law this week.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: House Republicans revive California water wish list

House Republicans are swinging for the fences with an ambitious new, but familiar, California water bill introduced Thursday. … The legislation speeds studies for water storage projects, including proposals for raising Shasta Dam and building a new reservoir at Temperance Flat on the Upper San Joaquin River.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

House approves bill to overhaul chemical regulation

If enacted into law, the bill would be the first significant update to Toxic Substances Control Act since the law was adopted in 1976.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Reforming CEQA still vital work

The California Environmental Quality Act, signed into law more than 40 years ago, is a perfect example of how a political decree meant to do one thing can transmogrify into something else entirely.

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger LLP (BB&K)

Legal Commentary: Drought bill to combat water shortages passes in California Legislature

The California Legislature approved a budget bill that would grant the state authority to force water systems to consolidate to serve disadvantaged communities where a steady supply of clean drinking water is not available. Senate Bill 88 also would give public water suppliers the power to impose civil fines of up to $10,000 for violations of water conservation programs, impose new measuring and reporting requirements for water diversions, and suspend environmental review for certain drought-related projects. 

Aquafornia news Kronick Natural Resources Law Blog

Blog: Legislature passes hodgepodge of significant new water laws

Last week the Legislature passed Senate Bill 88, a collection of significant amendments and additions to law in the State’s continued effort to react, cope, and adapt to the ongoing drought.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California Legislature passes drought bill imposing fines, water system consolidation

A California budget bill that would allow the state to force consolidation of water systems, exempt certain water projects from environmental review and make other far-reaching changes in response to the drought cleared the Legislature on Friday over the angry objections of Republicans.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Development deals tied to state budget sidestep ‘green’ rules

The piecemeal approach to the 45-year-old California Environmental Quality Act, a law that has been a lightning rod for controversy, has frustrated defenders and critics alike.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Drought legislation part of budget package (with audio)

Late-emerging legislation designed to deal with the drought could be part of the budget package California lawmakers will vote on Friday.  Part of the legislation would give state water regulators the ability to force local water agencies to consolidate.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: CEQA exemptions for water projects inserted into budget bill

Some drought-related groundwater and water recycling projects would gain exemptions from the California Environmental Quality Act under late-emerging legislation at the Capitol. … The bill includes language related to the consolidation of water agencies, among other measures.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

Blog: Getting to groundwater sustainability

[David] Orth is general manager for the Kings River Conservation District, a California Water Commissioner, and a key participant in the negotiations leading up to the enactment of the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.We spoke at a recent event in Fresno about the challenges facing the new groundwater law.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: House Democrats float new California water bill

California water bills continue to fill the Capitol Hill hopper, and now one comes with a new twist. It’s crowd-sourcing drought solutions, in a long-shot bid to break a congressional stalemate. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: California’s water strategy deserves an open debate and real solutions

In response to the worst drought in our state’s long memory, our public institutions – with one unfortunate exception – are stepping up. … That’s why I [Rep. Jared Huffman] developed the kind of serious, comprehensive legislation this crisis demands.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Gov. Jerry Brown pushes budget measure to consolidate water agencies

The Brown administration is pushing late-emerging budget legislation to let state officials force the consolidation of troubled water systems with larger, better-funded agencies, with the goal of improving Californians’ access to safe drinking water after four years of drought.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

Blog: Let’s pull together to solve groundwater crisis (with video)

Last week, PPIC’s Water Policy Center and the California Water Institute at Fresno State co-hosted an event that brought together local experts representing agricultural, urban, and rural community perspectives. The discussion addressed the challenges of managing groundwater sustainably and implementing the new groundwater law in the San Joaquin Valley. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California lawmaker proposes steep tax for water guzzlers

California’s worst water-guzzling residents and businesses could get slapped with 300 percent taxes on their bills under drought-inspired legislation that was proposed Tuesday but faces a tough path before it could actually affect local water bills.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

A look at how California’s emergency drought money was spent

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a $687 million emergency drought-relief package last year, but about half of the money has yet to be awarded or spent.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: A year later, California drought-relief money is unspent

More than $320 million that was supposed to be rushed to drought-stricken California communities sits unspent in government bank accounts more than a year after lawmakers voted to use the money to provide water, protect wells from contamination and upgrade outdated water systems.

Aquafornia news Oakland Tribune

Editorial: CEQA fast track for Silicon Valley water recycling could include Delta tunnels

The governor’s obsession with building massive tunnels under the Delta could muck up what should be a simple issue: granting CEQA exemption requests for emergency drought projects. The request in the form of Trailer Bill 831 is part of the budget process for dealing with the drought.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Groundwater data bill passes California Senate

As California struggles to respond to a heightening drought emergency, state lawmakers are promoting legislation that would potentially increase scientific knowledge about the state’s shrinking groundwater reserves. On June 1, the California Senate passed SB 20 by a vote of 21 to 15. The bill requires public access to the groundwater information that well drillers file with the Department of Water Resources after completing a well.

Commands