[Matthew] Fienup, the director for economic research and forecasting at California Lutheran University, helped lead the charge to create the first groundwater market in California. For seven months, Fienup and Edgar Terry, a local farmer and senior adjunct professor at Cal Lutheran, worked with the Water Market Group – a coalition of regulators from the Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency, farmers, urban officials and environmentalists – to create a pilot of the first groundwater market in California.
California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act potentially opens the door for local groundwater markets. However, it does not provide guidance about when such markets might be useful and appropriate management tools. This report outlines a set of considerations designed to help decision makers and stakeholders evaluate whether and under what conditions a local groundwater market might be a viable tool that contributes to sustainably managing a particular groundwater basin.
There was no electricity when Vickie Buchanan’s family came to Diamond Valley in 1958. Nor were there many crops. But there was water, and as early settlers, Vickie’s parents were given priority access under a rule fundamental to Western water law: “first in time, first in right.” A steady flow of farmers followed, planting alfalfa and timothy hay grass in the high-desert soil of the central Nevada valley.
As Western states grapple with the best way to allocate dwindling water resources to meet multiple needs, water markets have emerged as one tool. But the idea is not without critics, such as Gary Wockner, who wrote a recent op-ed for Water Deeply about his skepticism that water markets will protect Western rivers. … I [University of Colorado law professor Mark Squillace] see things differently.
One of the worst droughts in state history is pushing water prices to record levels — fraying nerves, eroding bank accounts and stress-testing the state’s “water market,” an informal and largely hidden network of buyers and sellers.
The Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources have scheduled a negotiation session with seven Cross Valley Contractors on long-term conveyance contracts for the delivery of federal Central Valley Project water conveyed through state-owned facilities.
“Redding is looking to transfer some of its water to the parched Bella Vista Water District. A proposal to provide up to 1,200 acre-feet over the summer makes its way to the Redding City Council Tuesday night.”
“A lawsuit was filed Wednesday in federal District Court for the Eastern District of California against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, stating a proposed package of San Luis and Delta Mendota Water Authority transfers require a full environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act.”
From The Sacramento Bee, in a commentary by Mariel Garza:
“[Ken] Tucker stood before the Merced County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday pleading with the five officials and his fellow farmers not to try to stop a controversial water transfer deal that will ship groundwater from Merced County across the county line north to farmers in Stanislaus.”
“A federal appeals court says environmental reviews were properly done on the nation’s largest farm-to-city water transfer, the latest ruling to uphold a 2003 agreement on how California agencies divide that state’s share of Colorado River water.”
“The fight for water during the drought pitted Merced County farmers from opposite sides of the county against one another in an emotional and lengthy Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday. At issue was a controversial contract allowing two private landowners in Merced County to sell up to 23,000-acre feet of groundwater to Stanislaus County.”