The California Environmental Quality
Act, commonly known as CEQA, is foundational to the state’s
environmental protection efforts. The law requires proposed
developments with the potential for “significant” impacts on the
physical environment to undergo an environmental review.
California will always be
inextricably linked to its water resources. Water continues
to shape the state’s development and no resource is as vital to
California’s urban centers, farms, industry, recreation, scenic
beauty and environmental preservation.
But California’s relationship to water is also one that continues
to generate controversy.
Every five years the California Department of Water Resources
releases an updated version of the California Water Plan— a
comprehensive compilation of water data that guides future water
policy in the state. The plan is commonly referred to as Bulletin
Spurred by legislative mandate, the Water Plan serves as a guide
for state and local officials as they pursue adequate water
stewardship at a time of reduced allocations, drought and
California’s Legislature passed the
Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1972, following the passage of the
federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by Congress in 1968. Under
California law, “[c]ertain rivers which possess extraordinary
scenic, recreational, fishery, or wildlife values shall be
preserved in their free-flowing state, together with their
immediate environments, for the benefit and enjoyment of the
people of the state.”
In the Northern California community of Redding, he was a justice
of peace, a renowned water rights attorney in the law firm of
Carr and Kennedy and helped form the Anderson-Cottonwood
Irrigation District. He was often in the nation’s Capitol in
Washington, D.C., advocating for funds from Congress to get this
visionary project built for the benefit of all of California. In
his honor, the Judge Francis Carr Powerplant was named after him.
The East Fork begins in the mountains of California’s Sonora Pass
and after flowing through California and Nevada, it meets the
West Fork just south of Carson City. The West Fork forms at
California’s Carson Pass, running through California and into
Nevada to its junction with the East Fork.
Birthed in part by a long-ago federal
effort to create farmland, the Central Valley Project today is
one of the largest water storage and transport systems in the
world. In years of normal precipitation, it stores and
distributes about 20 percent of the state’s developed water
through its massive system of reservoirs and canals.
Climate change involves natural and man-made changes to weather
patterns that occur over millions of years or over multiple
In the past 150 years, human industrial activity has accelerated
the rate of change in the climate due to the increase in
greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide,
among others). Scientific studies describing this climate change
continue to be produced and its expected impacts continue to be
The Coachella Valley in Southern California’s Inland Empire is
one of several valleys throughout the state with a water district
established to support agriculture.
Like the others, the Coachella Valley Water District in Riverside
County delivers water to arid agricultural lands and constructs,
operates and maintains a regional agricultural drainage system.
These systems collect drainage water from individual farm drain
outlets and convey the water to a point of reuse, disposal or