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 Sonoma Index-Tribune

‘Damtastic!’ Newsom calls for Beaver Restoration Program

Sonoma wildlife conservationists had one word to describe Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed new Beaver Restoration program: “Damtastic!” Newsom floated the program as part of a May 13 presentation of his revised 2022-2023 fiscal budget. Pledging $1.67 million this year and $1.44 million in years thereafter, Newsom said the funds would go toward the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s efforts in developing “a comprehensive beaver management plan.” The North American Beaver is considered a “keystone species” by Fish and Wildlife …

Aquafornia news The Packer

Western senators moving to drought-proof future water supply

A group of senators has introduced the Support to Rehydrate the Environment, Agriculture and Municipalities, or STREAM, Act. The bill would increase water supply and modernize water infrastructure throughout the West. The three senators, all from states affected by the current drought, include Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). … Infrastructure improvements and additions work toward a long-term solution. And it’s important to think urgently, said the release.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

State funding to retire valley farmland could more than double under Gov. Newsom’s proposed budget

A state program aimed at retiring and repurposing farmland could get $60 million – more than doubling its current funding – under Gov. Newsom’s proposed budget. The Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program was created with $50 million from the 2021 state budget. The program helps pay for farmland to be taken out of production and repurposed to less water intensive uses. Farmers in the San Joaquin Valley have pumped groundwater for crops without limits for generations. But groundwater levels are plummeting …

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Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Assemblyman maneuvers to slow proposed river flow increases

Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, is maneuvering against a bill that seeks higher flows on local rivers. Assembly Bill 2639 would set a Dec. 31, 2023, deadline for the State Water Resources Control Board to complete its plan for tributaries to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. They include the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers. The decision would follow decades of wrangling over whether fish should get more water on the lower rivers at the expense of farms and cities.

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Aquafornia news California Water Research

Blog: California Senate proposes $2 billion program to balance water supply and water rights

The California Senate has proposed a $2 billion reconciliation framework to rebalance water supply and water rights, as part of proposed investments of $7.5 billion in state and federal funds spread over three years for climate resiliency. It is the most sweeping land retirement proposal since the landmark 1992 Central Valley Project Improvement Act.

Aquafornia news Herald and News

Flights over Klamath River provide view of dams set for removal

Four PacifiCorps dams — the J.C. Boyle, Copco No. 1 and No. 2, and Iron Gate — are scheduled to be removed as part of a controversial effort that advocates have said will restore the health of the river, fish and communities along the river, including several in the Upper Klamath Basin. Dam removal is something that has drawn heated discussion for and against for decades, highlighted in 2001 when decisions to not release water to Klamath Basin irrigators resulted in protests and demonstrations that drew national attention.

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Aquafornia news Congressman John Garamendi

News release: Garamendi secures wins for Bay Area and Delta infrastructure in Water Resources Development Act of 2022

Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA), who represents Solano Country and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in the 3rd Congressional District, released the following statement on the passage of the “Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2022” (H.R.7776) in the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure: “The biennial Water Resources Development Act strengthens flood protection, water resources, precious ecosystems, and more in communities across California and the nation”…

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: A conservation bill you’ve never heard of may be the most important in a generation

This blog is a short introduction to a lesser known federal bill that is one of the most significant pieces of fish and wildlife legislation in decades. In Spring of 2021, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) introduced the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. During July 2021, a separate adaptation of the act was also introduced in the Senate (S.2372) by Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). At its core, the bipartisan bill seeks to provide $1.39B in annual funding for state and tribal fish and wildlife agencies to protect and conserve declining species.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

North Coast trail plan complicated by US rail ruling

A ruling by federal regulators has put a damper on plans to turn 300 miles of rail line from Humboldt County to Marin County into the Great Redwood Trail. The Surface Transportation Board issued a decision Tuesday that it will not prioritize trail use … Maintaining the rail line along the Eel River is financially infeasible because of landslides and other risks, but the North Coast Railroad Co. wants to take over that portion of the line. … U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman and state Sen. Mike McGuire … issued statements saying they weren’t surprised by the decision, but that they are taking steps to ensure the “toxic coal train” doesn’t become a reality on the North Coast.

Aquafornia news GV Wire

Hurtado wants feds to probe hedge funds’ acquisition of water rights

State Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Bakersfield) and state Sen. Dave Cortese (D-San Jose) are calling for U. S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate possible drought profiteering and water rights abuses in the western states. … A county supervisor in Arizona joined the California state senators in calling for the investigation. … In addition to raising anti-trust questions, Hurtado and Cortese expressed concern about the potential for hedge funds to divert water intended for food production to cannabis growing operations.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Plastics industry targets Democrats to head off restrictions

In the current legislative session, lawmakers are working on a bill designed to reduce plastic waste. If they are unable to draft legislation by June 30, the issue will go straight to voters as a ballot measure. The initiative, the California Recycling and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, would require all single-use plastic packaging and food ware used in California to be recyclable, reusable, refillable or compostable by 2030. … Over the last year, research has shown the presence of these particles in human blood, healthy lung tissue and meconium — the first bowel movement of a newborn. They are also found in marine organisms, ocean water, air and soil.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Congressman Levin introduces bill to fund coastal protection

San Diego County lagoons and wetlands may get more funding for protection and restoration under the Resilient Coasts and Estuaries Act, introduced Tuesday by Reps. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano, and Brian Mast, R-Fla. The bill would authorize $60 million per year through 2026 for the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program, which distributes money to preserve the “conservation, recreation, ecological, historical, and aesthetic values of estuaries,” Levin stated. That funding could support conservation of local wetlands, including the San Mateo Creek, San Luis Rey River, San Elijo Lagoon and others…

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Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Petitions submitted for new groundwater management district

A proposal apparently headed to the November ballot would have voters in rural southeastern Arizona decide whether to create a new regulatory district to manage large-scale groundwater use for agriculture in an area where aquifer levels have dropped in recent years. A grassroots group collected sufficient voter signatures on petitions required under state law for a ballot measure on creation of an active management area in the Willcox basin in Cochise and Graham counties, myheraldreview.com reported. The management area would be Arizona’s first created through a petition drive. 

Aquafornia news KCBX - San Luis Obispo

Newsom proposes beaver funding

Governor Gavin Newsom is proposing funding to support what he calls a “creative climate solving hero” – the North American Beaver. The rodent is known to help restore drought-stricken areas of California by restoring wetlands and groundwater basins. The governor is initially requesting more than $3 million in the next few fiscal years to support and maintain a beaver restoration program within the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Aquafornia news KCRA - Sacramentok

California budget would turn Modesto-area park into state park

California is hoping to get a new state park. The site, now known as the Dos Rios Reserve, is just a 20-minute drive from Modesto and may be open to the public by next year if Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget is approved. The site is where two rivers, Tuolumne and San Joaquin, meet.

Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse Communications

California is spending big on repurposing—not saving—farmland, argue critics

California lawmakers and the governor are hashing out the final details for investing billions of state dollars into a drought relief plan with long-term water investments and some benefits to farmers.

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Aquafornia news Grist

Congress is routing climate policy through the Army Corps of Engineers

Even as President Biden’s signature climate change bill languishes in the Senate, Congress is poised to spend billions of dollars on ambitious new projects that would help the U.S. adapt to climate change. A bill that would authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to build infrastructure to protect against climate impacts is quietly sailing through Congress, demonstrating bipartisan support for measures to protect against flooding and sea-level rise. … The bill also allows the Corps to undertake drought response efforts in the West …

Aquafornia news Sen. Dianne Feinstein's Office

News release: Feinstein, Kelly, Sinema introduce bill to increase, modernize water supply

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) yesterday introduced S.4231, the Support to Rehydrate the Environment, Agriculture and Municipalities Act or STREAM Act, a bill that would increase water supply and modernize water infrastructure in California and throughout the West.

Aquafornia news Fox 13 - Salt Lake City

Utah lawmakers consider pipeline from Pacific Ocean to Great Salt Lake

A legislative commission is floating the idea of a pipeline to bring water from the Pacific Ocean into the Great Salt Lake. “There’s a lot of water in the ocean and we have very little in the Great Salt Lake,” said Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, who co-chairs the Legislative Water Development Commission. … The study would look at the cost to actually create a pipeline from the Pacific Ocean, across California and the Sierra-Nevada mountains, across the deserts of Nevada and ultimately into the Great Salt Lake in Utah.

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Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Interior authorizes $240 million for water infrastructure repair

The Interior Department is doling out more than $240 million for repairs to aging water infrastructure in the drought-ridden West, one of the first investments with ramifications for agriculture in the $1.5 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law enacted last year.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Alarming research on pesticide warrants curbs on its use

Even if you’ve never heard of imidacloprid, there’s a good chance the world’s most-used neonicotinoid pesticide is lurking somewhere in your home. Or on your dog. Or maybe even in your groundwater or drinking-water supplies. This insecticide, widely used for decades on fruits, vegetables and many other crops, has triggered growing concerns over its well-documented role in the dramatic declines of birds, bees, butterflies and other insects across the globe. … With imidacloprid being discovered in groundwater and drinking-water supplies across the state, state regulators — and legislators — finally are paying closer attention …
-Written by Jonathan Evans, legal director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s environmental health program.

Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Newsom pitches $75M in drought relief for agriculture

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s revised budget proposal would set aside $75 million to aid small agricultural businesses as the drought deepens. The one-time assistance would provide grants ranging from $30,000 to $50,000, depending on the amount of lost revenue. The program would prioritize businesses in the hardest hit regions, such as the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys…. Newsom’s budget plan would allocate $100 million for repairing conveyance canals, which was part of a 2021 budget deal. But it would not add anything further.

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Aquafornia news ACWA News

Monday Top of the Scroll: Governor Newsom’s proposed budget includes funding for drought

Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled his revised state budget for the 2022-’23 Fiscal Year. The $300.7 billion budget includes several priorities of interest to ACWA members, including funding for drought, climate change, forest management and more. Building upon last year’s three-year, $5.2 billion allocation to support drought response and long-term water sustainability, the governor’s revised budget includes an additional $2 billion for drought response and water resilience. This is part of the governor’s larger $47.1 billion climate package.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Opinion: High time for SCOTUS to clarify what constitutes ‘waters of the United States’

The 1972 Clean Water Act established federal authority over the “waters of the United States.” Congress did not offer further explanation of what was covered under that term, but the two federal agencies given authority by the Clean Water Act asserted broad power. The federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers required farmers, homeowners, commercial and industrial concerns and developers to obtain permits before digging a ditch for water run-off, shoring up existing erosion protection structures, or draining swampy land.
-Written by columnist Tom Campbell. 

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Proposed law makes new well permitting process permanent

New legislation introduced in the State Assembly aims to make the Governor’s March 28 order on new water well permits permanent. Assemblymember Steve Bennett (D-Ventura) and representatives from Visalia-based Community Water Center (CWC) introduced Assembly Bill 2201 on March 31 requiring local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) to evaluate new well drilling permits to ensure those wells will not negatively affect domestic wells nearby before the permits can be approved by county government. The law would codify Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order, which is temporary.

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Aquafornia news ABC30 Fresno

California Senate Bill 559 pushes for canal repairs to save water amid drought

Central California lawmakers, growers and advocates are calling on the state to invest in canal repairs that they say will help improve water security. The call for funding comes as the state experiences the third year of drought. SB 559, known as the State Water Resiliency Act, aims to fix canals that deliver water across Central California fully. Currently, $200 million has been allocated in the 2021 and 2022 budgets. But the bill’s author, State Senator Melissa Hurtado of Sanger, said that funding would only cover limited repairs.

Aquafornia news Desert Sun

California water agencies get $100 million for aging dams, canals

Southern California desert water districts with aging or failing infrastructure won big federal funding Monday, with more than $100 million allocated for major dam and irrigation canal upgrades that will benefit the Coachella Valley and Imperial County. The projects are part of $240 million awarded from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds by the U.S. Department of the Interior on Monday. Among the biggest beneficiaries is the Coachella Valley Water District, which will get $60 million for lateral replacement irrigation pipelines and more for work on the Coachella Canal.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Cash for farmworkers? California lawmaker says new $20 million idea will help amid drought

A Democrat lawmaker from the central San Joaquin Valley wants to put cash in the hands of eligible farmworkers to help them deal with the devastation of California’s drought. Proposed by State Sen. Melissa Hurtado, a Democrat from Sanger, Senate Bill 1066 would allocate $20 million to create the California Farmworkers Drought Resilience Pilot Project, a state-funded project that would provide unconditional monthly cash payments of $1,000 for three years to eligible farmworkers, with the goal of lifting them out of poverty.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

New bill aims to limit frenzy of California well drilling

In farming areas across the Central Valley, a well-drilling frenzy has accelerated over the last year as growers turn to pumping more groundwater during the drought, even as falling water levels leave hundreds of nearby homes with dry wells. Counties have continued freely issuing well-drilling permits in the years since California passed a landmark law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 … Some state legislators are now supporting a bill that they say would strengthen oversight and limit the well-drilling frenzy by requiring a review of permits for new wells by the same local agencies that are charged with managing groundwater.

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Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

California voters in November likely will decide on plastics – again

California’s inability to meet its long-stated goal of cutting solid waste by 75 percent by 2020 has prompted environmentalists to craft a ballot initiative targeting single-use plastic products – including a sharp limit on their production. The initiative on the Nov. 8 ballot marks the second time in six years that California voters have decided on plastics use. … The latest initiative, the California Recycling and Plastic Reduction Act, would require all single-use plastic packaging and foodware to be recyclable, reusable, refillable, or compostable by 2030.

Aquafornia news City News Service

LA votes to phase out single-use plastics at city facilities

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted Wednesday to begin the process to phase out single-use plastics at city facilities and city-sponsored events, as well as to take steps toward a potential citywide ban on polystyrene products such as Styrofoam. … Wednesday’s motion instructed the city attorney to draft an ordinance banning single-use plastic at city facilities and at events on city property. 

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

New state bill could require ‘blue carbon’ to offset coastal development

Public developments on the California coast would be required to capture carbon in wetlands or other natural systems under an Assembly bill that calls for projects to add “blue carbon” measures to their mitigation plans.  Blue carbon refers to coastal habitat such as wetlands, marshes, kelp forests and eelgrass beds that capture and store carbon in soil, plant matter and the sea floor.  AB 2593, authored by Assemblymember Boerner Horvath, D-Encinitas, would require projects on public lands to compensate for greenhouse gas emissions by building or contributing to blue carbon projects.

Aquafornia news Dana Point Times

Bipartisan legislation supports desalination research, projects

New legislation that U.S. Reps. Mike Levin and Nancy Mace introduced late last month could provide more grant funding to the study and advancement of desalination technology, benefiting endeavors including the proposed Doheny Ocean Desalination Project in Dana Point. If enacted, H.R. 7612, or the Desalination Research Advancement Act, would increase the number of research grants the Bureau of Reclamation is authorized to fund, raising the cap from $5 million to $20 million per year through the 2026 fiscal year.

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

Calif. awards $150M for groundwater management

In an effort to boost water supply reliability for millions of Californians, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has announced its first round of funding to 20 agencies responsible for managing critically overdrafted groundwater basins throughout the state. A total of $150 million in funding is being awarded to regional groundwater agencies through the Sustainable Groundwater Management (SGM) Grant Program. The funding will go toward projects focused on water efficiency, groundwater recharge, feasibility studies for alternative water supplies, and the installation of monitoring wells.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Public Radio

Bill introduced to ratify Hualapai Tribe water settlement

Congress will consider a bill finalizing a water rights settlement for the Hualapai Tribe in Arizona. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports, it will resolve the tribe’s longstanding claims to the Colorado, Bill Williams, and Verde rivers. Arizona Representative Tom O’Halleran introduced the bill to a House committee last week. It allows the Hualapai Tribe to divert 3,414 acre feet of water from the Colorado River each year. It also establishes a trust fund of $180 million to construct a project to convey the water to the Hualapai Reservation. A separate fund of $5 million will be set aside for carrying out the terms of the agreement.

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Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Hurtado’s ag, water bills advance in Senate

Two bills authored by Democratic State Senator Melissa Hurtado, who represents the 14th district that includes Porterville, advanced in the Senate on Wednesday. SB 1219, Hurtado’s State Water Resiliency and Modernization Act passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.  Hurtado’s bill to prevent foreign purchases of agricultural property, SB 1064, the Food and Farm Security Act also passed the Senate Agricultural Committee 4-0.  

Aquafornia news KRCR

New legislation seeks to return land to Yurok tribe

Congressman Jared Huffman introduced a new bill this week that aims to give land back to the Yurok Tribe. HR7581, known as the Yurok Lands Act, would expand the Yurok reservation boundaries and give the tribe more than 1,229 additional acres of U.S. Forest Service land. … By reclaiming land, the Tribe hopes to help keep local forests and salmon populations healthy.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Ag well drilling still under a cloud of confusion from Gov. Newsom’s drought order

Gov. Newsom’s emergency drought order that singled out agricultural wells for extra scrutiny is continuing to cause confusion and angst in some parts of the San Joaquin Valley, while other areas are stutter-stepping forward. Selma raisin farmer Tony Panoo was happy to finally have his well drilled on Monday after several tense weeks when his permit application was stuck between Fresno County and the Central Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA), which covers his 20-acre vineyard.

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Aquafornia news SJV Sun

Blog: Valley’s ‘water blueprint’ makes splash with statewide push for $6.5bil in water funds

A coalition of water stakeholder organizations from across California joined together to send a letter addressed to Gov. Gavin Newsom and six key legislators requesting action to address water issues. The nine page document dated April 19, 2022 was signed by 18 organizations and entities including the San Joaquin Valley Water Blueprint and 10 Southern California, four Bay Area and three trade groups. The letter laid out the need to include a $6.5 billion appropriation in the 2022-2023 General Fund budget to strengthen statewide drought and flood resilience.
-Written by Don Wright, a contributor to The San Joaquin Valley Sun. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California bill would pay farmworkers amid drought, climate crisis

As worsening drought conditions in California and the West take a heavy economic toll on agriculture, state legislators are considering a plan to pay farmworkers $1,000 a month to help them cover the cost of necessities. The bill is meant to assist farmworkers who have fewer crops to tend as climate change limits the window for each growing season and cuts the Golden State’s water supply.

Aquafornia news NRDC

Blog: 5 takeaways on California 30×30 report: land and freshwater

The state of California has released the final version of its Pathways to 30×30 report. Here are five things to know about the terrestrial conservation elements of this landmark effort: 1. Freshwater Conservation  The Pathways document is explicit about the critical need to expand protection of California’s rivers, streams, wetlands, and other freshwater resources … 

Aquafornia news Colorado Sun

Colorado bid to dry up water speculation is circling the drain

A move to dry up water speculation once and for all in Colorado ended at the legislature despite intense supply pressures from drought and water developers, as lawmakers said they’re loath to hurt farmers’ ability to sell their most valuable asset.  The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee tabled the anti-speculation bill after first accepting an amendment to turn it into a between-sessions study of the problem. Technically, the measure could be revived, but the bill’s sponsors say the issue is over for this year. 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Lawmaker says farmworkers need drought aid

A Democrat lawmaker from the central San Joaquin Valley wants to put cash in the hands of eligible farmworkers to help them deal with the devastation of California’s drought.  Proposed by State Sen. Melissa Hurtado, a Democrat from Sanger, Senate Bill 1066 would allocate $20 million to create the California Farmworkers Drought Resilience Pilot Project, a state-funded project that would provide unconditional monthly cash payments of $1,000 for three years to eligible farmworkers, with the goal of lifting them out of poverty.

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Aquafornia news Stanford News

Blog: Massive conservation effort

One of the most ambitious conservation efforts ever, California’s 30×30 initiative aims to protect plant and animal life across 30 percent of the state’s most critical land and water by 2030. Gov. Gavin Newsom has described the plan as an important step toward ensuring community well-being, equity, and economic sustainability while staving off mega wildfires, droughts, and other climate change-driven threats. Stanford University experts have informed 30×30 through their participation in public outreach sessions, meetings with the plan’s leadership and a letter of support signed by faculty members from all seven of the university’s schools.

Aquafornia news Redheaded Blackbelt

Blog: ‘Everyone knew it was coming’: Eel River waters continue to be diverted as PG&E granted annual license for the Potter Valley Project

No one was surprised by Thursday’s letter granting PG&E an annual license to run the Potter Valley Project until April of next year. And, while a last-minute mystery application did provide a few moments of titillating speculation, the enigmatic Antonio Manfredini failed to generate any real suspense. The 50-year license to operate the Potter Valley Project, which diverts water from the Eel River into the east branch of the Russian River to Lake Mendocino by way of a tunnel, a pair of dams and reservoirs, and a small hydropower plant, expired on April 14.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Post

Long Beach commission may further limit watering yards amid drought

The Long Beach Water Commission may upgrade the city’s water shortage level next week, which would bring with it new restrictions on when residents can water landscaping. Updating the city’s water shortage stage comes as California heads toward its third straight year of drought. The proposal to go to Stage 2, which would limit landscape irrigation to two days per week year-round, would take the city back to water conservation rules not seen since June 2016.

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Aquafornia news SJV Sun

Bill to aid farmworkers jilted by drought effects advances in Calif. legislature

A new bill aimed at bringing relief to farmworkers affected by the drought is now one step closer to becoming law. The bill, introduced by Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D–Sanger), aims to provide financial assistance to farmworkers struggling to afford basic necessities. Wednesday it passed in a state senate committee, four to one. Senate Bill 1066 aims to create a program called the California Farmworkers Drought Resilience Pilot Project. The project is a state-funded supplemental pay program that would give eligible farmworkers $1,000 for three years.

Aquafornia news High Country News

Why rural communities struggle to bring in much-needed federal grants

When overlaid with data about flood and wildfire risk, Headwaters’ analysis reveals areas with stark capacity barriers, often exacerbated by historical injustices, as well as high vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. … In theory, the $47 billion the infrastructure bill designates for climate resilience can help communities prepare for floods, fires, storms and droughts. But Headwaters’ analysis suggests that areas with low capacity might not submit requests in the first place.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Can I get help with my overdue water bill in California?

New guidelines were released in early April for a federally funded program meant to help low income families pay their outstanding water bills. The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program is part of an emergency effort to respond to the economic impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In California, the Department of Community Services and Development is the designated agency responsible for overseeing the program. The finalized state plan defines the scope of the program and how it will be implemented.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California hikes costs for flood protections in farm country

Climate change is worsening the already significant threat of flooding in California’s farm country, and state officials said Thursday that as much as $30 billion may be needed over three decades to protect the region, an increase from five years ago. Every five years, flood protection plans are updated for the Central Valley, where about 1.3 million people live at risk in floodplains. State officials released a draft of the latest update that calls for investing in levees, maintenance and multi-benefit projects that recharge aquifers and support wildlife while enhancing flood protection.

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Aquafornia news The Associated Press

California Senate OKs lower standard for indoor water use

Mired in an extreme drought, California lawmakers on Thursday took the first step toward lowering the standard for how much water people use in their homes — a move that won’t be enforced on individual customers but could lead to higher rates even as consumption declines. California’s current standard for residential indoor water use is 55 gallons per person per day…. The California Senate voted 28-9 on Thursday to lower the standard to 47 gallons per person per day starting in 2025; and 42 gallons per person per day beginning in 2030. The bill has not yet passed the Assembly, meaning it is still likely months away from becoming law. 

Aquafornia news ABC 23 Bakersfield

Farmworker relief bill one step closer to becoming law

A new bill aimed at bringing relief to farmworkers affected by the drought is now one step closer to becoming law. The bill, introduced by Senator Melissa Hurtado, aims to provide financial assistance to farmworkers struggling to afford basic necessities. Wednesday it passed in a state senate committee, four to one. Senate Bill 1066 (see the full text below) was introduced by Hurtado and aims to create a program called the California Farmworkers Drought Resilience Pilot Project.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Central

Opinion: Water policy threatens our food supply as much as war in Ukraine

As the Ukraine war kindles fears of rising food prices, the recognition of a secure domestic food supply – driven in large part by irrigated agriculture in the Western U.S. – is something we need to talk about. … Government water policy decisions made in California and Oregon are currently withholding once-reliable water from farmers in order to meet perceived environmental priorities. In simple terms, our own government is actually voluntarily directing measures that restrict water to farmers. Sadly, this diminishes our food production capacity, and with it, our national security.
-Written by Paul Orme and Dan Keppen, both of the Family Farm Alliance.

Aquafornia news Action News Now - Chico

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Gov. Newsom to ask legislature for $750M as state looks to conserve water

During Gov. Gavin Newsom’s visit to Butte County on Tuesday, Newsom said he will ask the legislature for $750 million to help with drought conditions. At the Hyatt Powerplant at Lake Oroville, which shut down last year due to record low lake levels, Newsom spoke about how the state needs a different approach to water conservation. Newsom already invested $5.2 billion in the past three years for water security for all Californians.

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Natomas CA levee project gets millions, could get more money

Hundreds of millions of new federal dollars are headed to the region to help fund the massive Natomas levee project. President Joe Biden has signed legislation that includes $157 million for an existing project in the Natomas Basin, as well as $17.9 million to begin construction in West Sacramento. In addition, Biden’s budget proposal for fiscal 2023, the 12 month period that begins Oct. 1, includes another $172 million for the levee project and $79.7 million to help the West Sacramento project.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

San Francisco Bay restoration bolstered by $53 million federal influx

Despite being the largest estuary on the West Coast and supporting both a highly diverse ecosystem and a multi-billion dollar economy, the San Francisco Bay Estuary was not getting its fair share of federal funding for restoration, according to local lawmakers and environmental organizations. That changed this year after Congress and President Joe Biden approved more than $50 million in funding to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for projects to restore lost wetlands, improve water quality, address pollution and bolster sea-level rise defenses throughout San Francisco Bay.

New EPA Regional Administrator Tackles Water Needs with a Wealth of Experience and $1 Billion in Federal Funding
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Martha Guzman says surge of federal dollars offers 'greatest opportunity' to address longstanding water needs, including for tribes & disadvantaged communities in EPA Region 9

EPA Region 9 Administrator Martha Guzman.Martha Guzman recalls those awful days working on water and other issues as a deputy legislative secretary for then-Gov. Jerry Brown. California was mired in a recession and the state’s finances were deep in the red. Parks were cut, schools were cut, programs were cut to try to balance a troubled state budget in what she remembers as “that terrible time.”

She now finds herself in a strikingly different position: As administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 9, she has a mandate to address water challenges across California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii and $1 billion to help pay for it. It is the kind of funding, she said, that is usually spread out over a decade. Guzman called it the “absolutely greatest opportunity.”

Western Water By Gary Pitzer

Explainer: The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act: The Law, The Judge And The Enforcer

The Resource

A groundwater pump in the San Joaquin Valley. Groundwater provides about 40 percent of the water in California for urban, rural and agricultural needs in typical years, and as much as 60 percent in dry years when surface water supplies are low. But in many areas of the state, groundwater is being extracted faster than it can be replenished through natural or artificial means.

Western Water California Groundwater Map Layperson's Guide to Groundwater Gary Pitzer

With Sustainability Plans Filed, Groundwater Agencies Now Must Figure Out How To Pay For Them
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: California's Prop. 218 taxpayer law and local politics could complicate efforts to finance groundwater improvement projects

A groundwater monitoring well in Colusa County, north of Sacramento. The bill is coming due, literally, to protect and restore groundwater in California.

Local agencies in the most depleted groundwater basins in California spent months putting together plans to show how they will achieve balance in about 20 years.

Foundation Event

Water 101 Workshop: The Basics and Beyond
Virtual Workshop Occurred Afternoons of April 22-23

Our Water 101 Workshop, one of our most popular events, offered attendees the opportunity to deepen their understanding of California’s water history, laws, geography and politics.

Taught by some of the leading policy and legal experts in the state, the workshop was held as an engaging online event on the afternoons of Thursday, April 22 and Friday, April 23.

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

Understanding Streamflow Is Vital to Water Management in California, But Gaps In Data Exist
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: A new law aims to reactivate dormant stream gauges to aid in flood protection, water forecasting

Stream gauges gather important metrics such as  depth, flow (described as cubic feet per second) and temperature.  This gauge near downtown Sacramento measures water depth.California is chock full of rivers and creeks, yet the state’s network of stream gauges has significant gaps that limit real-time tracking of how much water is flowing downstream, information that is vital for flood protection, forecasting water supplies and knowing what the future might bring.

That network of stream gauges got a big boost Sept. 30 with the signing of SB 19. Authored by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa), the law requires the state to develop a stream gauge deployment plan, focusing on reactivating existing gauges that have been offline for lack of funding and other reasons. Nearly half of California’s stream gauges are dormant.

Foundation Event University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law Jenn Bowles Nick Gray

Water 101 Workshop: The Basics and Beyond

The Water Education Foundation’s Water 101 Workshop, one of our most popular events, offered attendees the opportunity to deepen their understanding of California’s water history, laws, geography and politics.

Taught by some of the leading policy and legal experts in the state, the one-day workshop held on Feb. 20, 2020 covered the latest on the most compelling issues in California water. 

McGeorge School of Law
3327 5th Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95817
Western Water Gary Pitzer

Bruce Babbitt Urges Creation of Bay-Delta Compact as Way to End ‘Culture of Conflict’ in California’s Key Water Hub
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Former Interior secretary says Colorado River Compact is a model for achieving peace and addressing environmental and water needs in the Delta

Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt gives the Anne J. Schneider Lecture April 3 at Sacramento's Crocker Art Museum.  Bruce Babbitt, the former Arizona governor and secretary of the Interior, has been a thoughtful, provocative and sometimes forceful voice in some of the most high-profile water conflicts over the last 40 years, including groundwater management in Arizona and the reduction of California’s take of the Colorado River. In 2016, former California Gov. Jerry Brown named Babbitt as a special adviser to work on matters relating to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the Delta tunnels plan.

Western Water California Groundwater Map Layperson's Guide to Groundwater Gary Pitzer

As Deadline Looms for California’s Badly Overdrafted Groundwater Basins, Kern County Seeks a Balance to Keep Farms Thriving
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: Sustainability plans required by the state’s groundwater law could cap Kern County pumping, alter what's grown and how land is used

Water sprinklers irrigate a field in the southern region of the San Joaquin Valley in Kern County.Groundwater helped make Kern County the king of California agricultural production, with a $7 billion annual array of crops that help feed the nation. That success has come at a price, however. Decades of unchecked groundwater pumping in the county and elsewhere across the state have left some aquifers severely depleted. Now, the county’s water managers have less than a year left to devise a plan that manages and protects groundwater for the long term, yet ensures that Kern County’s economy can continue to thrive, even with less water.

Western Water Gary Pitzer

California Officials Draft a $600M Plan To Help Low-Income Households Absorb Rising Water Bills
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: State Water Board report proposes new taxes on personal and business income or fees on bottled water and booze to fund rate relief program

Filling a glass with clean water from the kitchen tap.Low-income Californians can get help with their phone bills, their natural gas bills and their electric bills. But there’s only limited help available when it comes to water bills.

That could change if the recommendations of a new report are implemented into law. Drafted by the State Water Resources Control Board, the report outlines the possible components of a program to assist low-income households facing rising water bills.

Water 101 Workshop: The Basics and Beyond
One-day workshop included optional groundwater tour

One of our most popular events, our annual Water 101 Workshop details the history, geography, legal and political facets of water in California as well as hot topics currently facing the state.

Taught by some of the leading policy and legal experts in the state, the one-day workshop on Feb. 7 gave attendees a deeper understanding of the state’s most precious natural resources.

 Optional Groundwater Tour

On Feb. 8, we jumped aboard a bus to explore groundwater, a key resource in California. Led by Foundation staff and groundwater experts Thomas Harter and Carl Hauge, retired DWR chief hydrogeologist, the tour visited cities and farms using groundwater, examined a subsidence measuring station and provided the latest updates on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

McGeorge School of Law
3327 5th Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95817
Western Water Douglas E. Beeman Douglas E. Beeman

What Would You Do About Water If You Were California’s Next Governor?
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Survey at Foundation’s Sept. 20 Water Summit elicits a long and wide-ranging potential to-do list

There’s going to be a new governor in California next year – and a host of challenges both old and new involving the state’s most vital natural resource, water.

So what should be the next governor’s water priorities?

That was one of the questions put to more than 150 participants during a wrap-up session at the end of the Water Education Foundation’s Sept. 20 Water Summit in Sacramento.

Western Water Layperson's Guide to Groundwater Gary Pitzer

Novel Effort to Aid Groundwater on California’s Central Coast Could Help Other Depleted Basins
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Michael Kiparsky, director of UC Berkeley's Wheeler Water Institute, explains Pajaro Valley groundwater recharge pilot project

Michael KiparskySpurred by drought and a major policy shift, groundwater management has assumed an unprecedented mantle of importance in California. Local agencies in the hardest-hit areas of groundwater depletion are drawing plans to halt overdraft and bring stressed aquifers to the road of recovery.

Along the way, an army of experts has been enlisted to help characterize the extent of the problem and how the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 is implemented in a manner that reflects its original intent.

Western Water California Water Bundle Gary Pitzer

Statewide Water Bond Measures Could Have Californians Doing a Double-Take in 2018
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Two bond measures, worth $13B, would aid flood preparation, subsidence, Salton Sea and other water needs

San Joaquin Valley bridge rippled by subsidence  California voters may experience a sense of déjà vu this year when they are asked twice in the same year to consider water bonds — one in June, the other headed to the November ballot.

Both tackle a variety of water issues, from helping disadvantaged communities get clean drinking water to making flood management improvements. But they avoid more controversial proposals, such as new surface storage, and they propose to do some very different things to appeal to different constituencies.

Foundation Event University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law

Water 101 Workshop: The Basics and Beyond
Event included optional Delta Tour

One of our most popular events, Water 101 details the history, geography, legal and political facets of water in California as well as hot topics currently facing the state.

Taught by some of the leading policy and legal experts in the state, the one-day workshop gives attendees a deeper understanding of the state’s most precious natural resource.

McGeorge School of Law
3285 5th Ave, Classroom C
Sacramento, CA 95817

Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)

A man watches as a groundwater pump pours water onto a field in Northern California.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.

SGMA defines “sustainable groundwater management” as the “management and use of groundwater in a manner that can be maintained during the planning and implementation horizon without causing undesirable results.”

Publication

The 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
A Handbook to Understanding and Implementing the Law

This handbook provides crucial background information on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, signed into law in 2014 by Gov. Jerry Brown. The handbook also includes a section on options for new governance.

Aquapedia background

Salton Sea

Salton Sea

As part of the historic Colorado River Delta, the Salton Sea regularly filled and dried for thousands of years due to its elevation of 237 feet below sea level.

The most recent version of the Salton Sea was formed in 1905 when the Colorado River broke through a series of dikes and flooded the seabed for two years, creating California’s largest inland body of water. The Salton Sea, which is saltier than the Pacific Ocean, includes 130 miles of shoreline and is larger than Lake Tahoe

Aquapedia background

Safe Drinking Water Act

Safe Drinking Water Act

The federal Safe Drinking Water Act sets standards for drinking water quality in the United States.

Launched in 1974 and administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Safe Drinking Water Act oversees states, communities, and water suppliers who implement the drinking water standards at the local level.

The act’s regulations apply to every public water system in the United States but do not include private wells serving less than 25 people.

According to the EPA, there are more than 160,000 public water systems in the United States.

Western Water Magazine

Changing the Status Quo: The 2009 Water Package
January/February 2010

This printed issue of Western Water looks at some of the pieces of the 2009 water legislation, including the Delta Stewardship Council, the new requirements for groundwater monitoring and the proposed water bond.

Western Water Magazine

Overdrawn at the Bank: Managing California’s Groundwater
January/February 2014

This printed issue of Western Water looks at California groundwater and whether its sustainability can be assured by local, regional and state management. For more background information on groundwater please refer to the Founda­tion’s Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater.

Western Water Magazine

Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Quality: A Cause for Concern?
September/October 2012

This printed issue of Western Water looks at hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in California. Much of the information in the article was presented at a conference hosted by the Groundwater Resources Association of California.

Western Water Magazine

Water Policy 2007: The View from Washington and Sacramento
March/April 2007

This issue of Western Water looks at the political landscape in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento as it relates to water issues in 2007. Several issues are under consideration, including the means to deal with impending climate change, the fate of the San Joaquin River, the prospects for new surface storage in California and the Delta.

Western Water Magazine

Are We Keeping Up With Water Infrastructure Needs?
January/February 2012

This printed issue of Western Water examines water infrastructure – its costs and the quest to augment traditional brick-and-mortar facilities with sleeker, “green” features.

Western Water Magazine

Dollars and Sense: How We Pay for Water
September/October 2009

This printed issue of Western Water examines the financing of water infrastructure, both at the local level and from the statewide perspective, and some of the factors that influence how people receive their water, the price they pay for it and how much they might have to pay in the future.

Western Water Magazine

Making the Connection: The Water/Energy Nexus
September/October 2010

This printed issue of Western Water looks at the energy requirements associated with water use and the means by which state and local agencies are working to increase their knowledge and improve the management of both resources.

Western Water Magazine

Mimicking the Natural Landscape: Low Impact Development and Stormwater Capture
September/October 2011

This printed issue of Western Water discusses low impact development and stormwater capture – two areas of emerging interest that are viewed as important components of California’s future water supply and management scenario.

Western Water Magazine

A Call to Action? The Colorado River Basin Supply and Demand Study
November/December 2012

This printed issue of Western Water examines the Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study and what its finding might mean for the future of the lifeblood of the Southwest.

Western Water Magazine

Nitrate and the Struggle for Clean Drinking Water
March/April 2013

This printed issue of Western Water discusses the problems of nitrate-contaminated water in small disadvantaged communities and possible solutions.

Video

The Klamath Basin: A Restoration for the Ages (20 min. DVD)

20-minute version of the 2012 documentary The Klamath Basin: A Restoration for the Ages. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues related to complex water management disputes in the Klamath River Basin. Narrated by actress Frances Fisher.

Video

The Klamath Basin: A Restoration for the Ages (60 min. DVD)

For over a century, the Klamath River Basin along the Oregon and California border has faced complex water management disputes. As relayed in this 2012, 60-minute public television documentary narrated by actress Frances Fisher, the water interests range from the Tribes near the river, to energy producer PacifiCorp, farmers, municipalities, commercial fishermen, environmentalists – all bearing legitimate arguments for how to manage the water. After years of fighting, a groundbreaking compromise may soon settle the battles with two epic agreements that hold the promise of peace and fish for the watershed. View an excerpt from the documentary here.

Video

Shaping of the West: 100 Years of Reclamation

30-minute DVD that traces the history of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and its role in the development of the West. Includes extensive historic footage of farming and the construction of dams and other water projects, and discusses historic and modern day issues.

Maps & Posters

San Joaquin River Restoration Map
Published 2012

This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, features a map of the San Joaquin River. The map text focuses on the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, which aims to restore flows and populations of Chinook salmon to the river below Friant Dam to its confluence with the Merced River. The text discusses the history of the program, its goals and ongoing challenges with implementation. 

Maps & Posters

Carson River Basin Map
Published 2006

A companion to the Truckee River Basin Map poster, this 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, explores the Carson River, and its link to the Truckee River. The map includes Lahontan Dam and Reservoir, the Carson Sink, and the farming areas in the basin. Map text discusses the region’s hydrology and geography, the Newlands Project, land and water use within the basin and wetlands. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region, Lahontan Basin Area Office.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Water Rights Law
Updated 2020

The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Water Rights Law, recognized as the most thorough explanation of California water rights law available to non-lawyers, traces the authority for water flowing in a stream or reservoir, from a faucet or into an irrigation ditch through the complex web of California water rights.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Water Recycling
Updated 2013

As the state’s population continues to grow and traditional water supplies grow tighter, there is increased interest in reusing treated wastewater for a variety of activities, including irrigation of crops, parks and golf courses, groundwater recharge and industrial uses.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Water Marketing
Updated 2005

The 20-page Layperson’s Guide to Water Marketing provides background information on water rights, types of transfers and critical policy issues surrounding this topic. First published in 1996, the 2005 version offers expanded information on groundwater banking and conjunctive use, Colorado River transfers and the role of private companies in California’s developing water market. 

Order in bulk (25 or more copies of the same guide) for a reduced fee. Contact the Foundation, 916-444-6240, for details.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to the State Water Project
Updated 2013

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the State Water Project provides an overview of the California-funded and constructed State Water Project.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management
Published 2013

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication that provides background information on the principles of IRWM, its funding history and how it differs from the traditional water management approach.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater
Updated 2017

The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication that provides background and perspective on groundwater. The guide explains what groundwater is – not an underground network of rivers and lakes! – and the history of its use in California.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Flood Management
Updated 2009

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Flood Management explains the physical flood control system, including levees; discusses previous flood events (including the 1997 flooding); explores issues of floodplain management and development; provides an overview of flood forecasting; and outlines ongoing flood control projects. 

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to California Water
Updated 2021

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to California Water provides an excellent overview of the history of water development and use in California. It includes sections on flood management; the state, federal and Colorado River delivery systems; Delta issues; water rights; environmental issues; water quality; and options for stretching the water supply such as water marketing and conjunctive use. New in this 10th edition of the guide is a section on the human need for water. 

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project
Updated 2021

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project explores the history and development of the federal Central Valley Project (CVP), California’s largest surface water delivery system. In addition to the project’s history, the guide describes the various CVP facilities, CVP operations, the benefits the CVP brought to the state and the CVP Improvement Act (CVPIA).

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to the Delta
Updated 2020

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Delta explores the competing uses and demands on California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Included in the guide are sections on the history of the Delta, its role in the state’s water system, and its many complex issues with sections on water quality, levees, salinity and agricultural drainage, fish and wildlife, and water distribution.

Aquapedia background

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Litigation

For more than 30 years, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has been embroiled in continuing controversy over the struggle to restore the faltering ecosystem while maintaining its role as the hub of the state’s water supply.

Lawsuits and counter lawsuits have been filed, while environmentalists and water users continue to clash over  the amount of water that can be safely exported from the region.

Aquapedia background

National Environmental Policy Act

Passed in 1970, the federal National Environmental Policy Act requires lead public agencies to prepare and submit for public review environmental impact reports and statements on major federal projects under their purview with potentially significant environmental effects.

According to the Department of Energy, administrator of NEPA:

Aquapedia background

Judge Wanger Rulings

Federal Judge Oliver Wanger overturned a federal scientific study that aimed to protect Delta smelt in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquapedia background

Groundwater Legislation

California has considered, but not implemented, a comprehensive groundwater strategy many times over the last century.

One hundred years ago, the California Conservation Commission considered adding  groundwater regulation into the Water Commission Act of 1913.  After hearings were held, it was decided to leave groundwater rights out of the Water Code.

Aquapedia background

Federal Reserved Rights

Federal reserved rights were created when the United States reserved land from the public domain for uses such as Indian reservations, military bases and national parks, forests and monuments.  [See also Pueblo Rights].

Aquapedia background

Federal Endangered Species Act

Federal Endangered Species Act

The federal government passed the Endangered Species Act in 1973, following earlier legislation. The first, the  Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966, authorized land acquisition to conserve select species. The Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969 then expanded on the 1966 act, and authorized “the compilation of a list of animals “threatened with worldwide extinction” and prohibits their importation without a permit.”

Aquapedia background

California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act

North Fork of the American River,  a section deemed wild and scenic. 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.”

Rivers are classified as:

Aquapedia background

California Endangered Species Act

California was the first state in the nation to protect fish, flora and fauna with the enactment of the California Endangered Species Act in 1970. (Congress followed suit in 1973 by passing the federal Endangered Species Act. See also the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES.)

Aquapedia background

Area-of-Origin and California Water

The legal term “area-of-origin” dates back to 1931 in California.

At that time, concerns over water transfers prompted enactment of four “area-of-origin” statutes. With water transfers from Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Valley to supply water for San Francisco and from Owens Valley to Los Angeles fresh in mind, the statutes were intended to protect local areas against export of water.

In particular, counties in Northern California had concerns about the state tapping their water to develop California’s supply.

Western Water Excerpt Gary PitzerRita Schmidt Sudman

Changing the Status Quo: The 2009 Water Package
January/February 2010

It would be a vast understatement to say the package of water bills approved by the California Legislature and signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last November was anything but a significant achievement. During a time of fierce partisan battles and the state’s long-standing political gridlock with virtually all water policy, pundits at the beginning of 2009 would have given little chance to lawmakers being able to reach com­promise on water legislation.

Western Water Excerpt Gary PitzerRita Schmidt Sudman

Thirty Years of the Clean Water Act
Nov/Dec 2002

This year marks the 30th anniversary of one of the most significant environmental laws in American history, the Clean Water Act (CWA). The law that emerged from the consensus and compromise that characterizes the legislative process has had remarkable success, reversing years of neglect and outright abuse of the nation’s waters.

Western Water Excerpt Rita Schmidt Sudman

The Davis Administration and California Water
Mar/Apr 1999

In January, Mary Nichols joined the cabinet of the new Davis administration. With her appointment by Gov. Gray Davis as Secretary for Resources, Ms. Nichols, 53, took on the role of overseeing the state of California’s activities for the management, preservation and enhancement of its natural resources, including land, wildlife, water and minerals. As head of the Resources Agency, she directs the activities of 19 departments, conservancies, boards and commissions, serving as the governor’s representative on these boards and commissions.

Western Water Excerpt Rita Schmidt Sudman

CVP Improvement Act Update
May/Jun 1997

Two days before our annual Executive Briefing, I picked up my phone to hear “The White House calling… .” Vice President Al Gore had accepted the foundation’s invitation to speak at our March 13 briefing on California water issues. That was the start of a new experience for us. For in addition to conducting a briefing for about 250 people, we were now dealing with Secret Service agents, bomb sniffing dogs and government sharpshooters, speech writers, print and TV reporters, school children and public relations people.