From The Sacramento Bee, in a commentary by Jay Lund, Jeffrey Mount and Ellen Hanak:
As the effects of the drought worsen, two persistent water myths are complicating the search for solutions. One is that environmental regulation is causing California’s water scarcity. The other is that conservation alone can bring us into balance.
From the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:
In light of the unprecedented drought, the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection adopted emergency regulations to conserve water for fish habitat and drinking water for Californians. The regulations became effective June 19.
State officials on Wednesday issued new water curtailment orders to thousands of users and adopted emergency regulations that allow them to more quickly crack down on people who ignore orders to stop diverting water from drought-stricken rivers and streams, including the upper Russian River.
Six weeks after ordering thousands of California water users to stop diverting from rivers and streams amid the worst drought in a generation, state officials say only 31 percent have bothered to respond by sending back the required forms. Now, their efforts to force the rest to comply are prompting threats of lawsuits and economic chaos.
After more than 10 hours of often emotional testimony Tuesday by Stanislaus County farmers and other California water users, the State Water Resources Control Board delayed deciding what to do regarding conflicting water rights.
The skirmish over a scarce amount of water intensified Tuesday as state water regulators considered emergency rules that would allow them to cut off Central Valley farmers without the usual formal process.