It’s been a tumultuous year for the Imperial Irrigation District. On the energy side, IID canceled tens of millions of dollars in contracts following allegations of financial conflicts of interest against the consultant ZGlobal Inc. On the water side, the publicly owned utility was jolted by a court ruling that could make it more difficult to limit the use of Colorado River water by Imperial Valley farmers.
If you care about the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta or protecting California water rights, you should be very alarmed by something that just happened 3,000 miles away in the halls of Congress. Backed by southern California interests, the House Appropriations Committee just unveiled the fiscal year 2019 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill.
Today [May 17] the Department of Water Resources (DWR) entered into a Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement with the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA), forming a partnership for the design and construction of California WaterFix. “This agreement signals a key step toward implementation of WaterFix, and this partnership represents a true collaboration in the best interests of California,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth.
Get outta here. A Southern California congressman has slipped a rider into a federal spending bill that would exempt the Delta tunnels from lawsuits — pause to hear water attorneys howling like coyotes — including suits already brought by the city of Stockton and county of San Joaquin.
More than 100,000 Fresno homes will be part of a “groundbreaking” and “novel” three-month research study to see whether easing up on water restrictions and reducing fines for excessive water use will actually spur greater conservation by residents. The University of Chicago’s Energy and Environment Lab is working with the city’s Public Utilities Department on the summer pilot project.
California cities and towns may find themselves on a water budget in the next decade under a pair of bills approved Thursday by the legislature. The measures follow Gov. Jerry Brown’s call to make water conservation a permanent way of life in a state long accustomed to jewel-green lawns and suburban tracts studded with swimming pools.
As a result of California’s highly variable climate, the practice of storing water predates statehood. And for more than a century, storage projects in California have generated heated controversy. A century ago, John Muir led a famous and unsuccessful effort to stop the damming of Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Valley.
Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia watched with ill-disguised frustration as a hearing aimed at expediting state projects to restore habitat and control dust storms at the shrinking Salton Sea instead dissolved into discussion of why the efforts were falling further behind schedule. “We have a plan, we have money, there is additional money lined up, and we have a constituency — myself included — that is running out of patience,” Garcia (D-Coachella), chairman of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife, said.
The relatively dry 2017-18 winter in California resurfaced recent memories of drought conservation mandates. From 2013-16, urban water utilities complied with voluntary, then mandatory, water use limits as part of Executive Order B-37-16. Urban water utilities met a statewide 25 percent conservation target, helping the state weather severe drought. Winter rains in 2016-17 led to a reprieve from mandatory conservation.
Supporters argue that Prop. 68 is good for parks and good for improving water quality statewide. … Critics like state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, believe the debt payments on the bond will be anything but small.
Access to precise, real-time data about the amount of water in the Sierra Nevada snowpack has become more critical than ever, California water managers say, in order to assist them in making informed decisions about an ever-less-predictable supply of water. That’s why water managers came to a panel discussion about advancements in snow-measurement technology during an Association of California Water Agencies conference in Sacramento last week.
Effluent from Tijuana’s broken sewage system coming ashore in the United States has become a routine part of life on San Diego County’s southern coast. … It is this ugly history — and the sluggish reaction to it by the International Boundary and Water Commission, a joint U.S.-Mexico agency that oversees water treaties — that demands state and federal leaders respond with a sense of urgency.
On Tuesday, veteran Rep. Ken Calvert of Riverside County released a 142-page draft spending bill for fiscal year 2019 for the Interior Department and related agencies. Tucked into the bill, on page 141, is a brief provision that would prohibit state or federal lawsuits against “the Final Environmental Impact Report/Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan/California Water Fix … and any resulting agency decision, record of decision, or similar determination.”
Last week a diverse group of stakeholders celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Lower Yuba River Accord—a historic agreement to improve conditions for the river’s endangered fishes, maintain water supplies for cities and farms, and reduce conflict over competing uses for water. Here at the PPIC Water Policy Center we frequently refer to the Yuba Accord as a model for modern water management in California.
With the release of California’s budget trailer bill came proposed new legislation on Friday that would add an Administrative Hearing Office within the State Water Resources Control Board. If passed, the newly formed Administrative Hearing Office would provide a neutral, fair and efficient forum for adjudications.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and two other water districts that agreed to fund the California Waterfix tunnel project announced today [May 14] the formation of a public agency that will be charged with its design and construction. … The California Department of Water Resources also announced that it has created the Delta Conveyance Office …
Advocates gathered in Merced, and similar demonstrations were held around the state, according to advocates, to get elected officials to support Senate Bill 623, which aims to provide a stable source of funding to implement California’s Human Rights to Water, Assembly Bill 685 from 2012.
California’s Salinas Valley, one of the world’s most productive farming areas, faces a groundwater emergency. The problem is seawater intrusion into freshwater aquifers, which are the region’s lifeblood. The issue has been understood for a long time.
In a pointed message Wednesday, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said drought and low flows continue on the Colorado with no end in sight, so it’s up to those who rely on the river to stave off a coming crisis.
The Bureau of Reclamation proposes to grant Alameda County Water District $750,000 for its Rubber Dam #3 Fish Ladder Project through a CALFED Water Use Efficiency Grant. The total project cost is $7.1 million. The proposed action will improve anadromous fish passage in the urban reach of the Alameda Creek watershed while maintaining ACWD’s water supply operations at its groundwater recharge facilities.