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 McClatchy Washington, DC, Bureau

Why the farm bill matters to Californians

California agriculture interests will find the farm bill Congress passed this week largely means more of the same. … The farm bill helps agricultural producers — whose business interests can often run contrary to environmental well-being — protect the environment, providing money so they don’t have to pay more out of pocket in order to be environmentally conscious.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Feinstein pushes to extend controversial water law despite environmental concern

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is joining forces with House Republicans to try to extend a controversial law that provides more water for Central Valley farms, but with a sweetener for the environment: help with protecting California’s rivers and fish. The proposed extension of the WIIN Act, or Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, would keep millions of federal dollars flowing for new dams and reservoirs across the West.

Related Commentary:

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

More than 100K acres would be added to the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument with this sweeping conservation bill

A sweeping conservation bill introduced Wednesday by U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris would expand the boundaries of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument to include popular hiking trails north of Pasadena and create a federally designated recreation area along the San Gabriel River, including the western portion of the Puente-Chino Hills.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

New proposal would allow California to issue bonds for wildfire prevention efforts

State Sen. Benjamin Allen (D-Santa Monica) introduced the Wildfire, Drought and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2020 as another tool the state can use to offset a pattern of increasingly destructive and deadly blazes. 

Aquafornia news E&E News

Feinstein, McCarthy push rider to fund Calif. storage plans

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Friday backed a bid by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to extend provisions in a 2016 bill to shuttle more water from the Golden State’s wet north to farms and cities in the arid south.

Related Editorial:

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, DC, Bureau/The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Huge Delta water deal backed by Dianne Feinstein, Jerry Brown, Kevin McCarthy

California’s most senior Democrat and most powerful Republican in Washington are teaming up to extend a federal law designed to deliver more Northern California water south, despite the objections of some of the state’s environmentalists. While controversial, the language in their proposal could help settle the contentious negotiations currently underway in Sacramento on Delta water flows — the lifeblood of California agriculture as well as endangered salmon and smelt.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, DC, Bureau

Trump promised California $500 million extra for fire prevention. It was an error.

After touring the devastation of the Camp Fire in Paradise, Calif. on Saturday, President Donald Trump announced that the federal government would provide an additional $500 million in funding to the 2018 farm bill for forest management to help mitigate future fires.

Related Article:

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Senate OKs Coast Guard bill with ballast water compromise

The U.S. Senate approved a compromise policy Wednesday on dumping ship ballast water in coastal ports and the Great Lakes, a practice blamed for spreading invasive species that damage the environment and the economy. The plan, part of a $10.6 billion Coast Guard budget authorization bill, includes provisions sought by environmentalists as well as the cargo shipping industry.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: President Trump approves funding for water projects that could mean more California reservoirs

President Donald Trump signed a bipartisan infrastructure bill this week that could lead to raising the Shasta Dam and funding other reservoir projects. The plan is to spend $6 billion throughout the country over 10 years.

Related Article:

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Congress approves massive water-projects bill

Congress has approved a sprawling bill to improve the nation’s ports, dams and harbors, protect against floods, restore shorelines and support other water-related projects. If signed by President Donald Trump, America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 would authorize more than $6 billion in spending over 10 years for projects nationwide, including one to stem coastal erosion in Galveston, Texas, and restore wetlands damaged by Hurricane Harvey last year.

Water 101 Workshop: The Basics and Beyond
One-day workshop includes optional groundwater tour the next day

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 gives attendees a deeper understanding of the state’s most precious natural resource.

McGeorge School of Law
3327 5th Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95817
Aquafornia news EdSource

New California law requires day care centers to test for lead in water

A law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown will expand California’s requirement to test water in schools for lead to day care centers and pre-schools that serve nearly 600,000 children. The law marks the first time California’s day care centers have been required to test for lead in water. Only two other states require both K-12 schools and day care centers to do such testing.

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Senate passes aviation bill with $1.7 billion in disaster aid

The Senate has passed legislation that would provide $1.7 billion to help residents of the Carolinas and elsewhere recover from recent natural disasters. … The bill also makes changes to Federal Emergency Management Agency programs that would allow more disaster aid to be used on projects that reduce the damage from future storms, such as rebuilding levees and buying out landowners in flood plains.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Lawmakers debate fix after conservation fund lapses

A popular program that supports conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the country expired after Congress could not agree on language to extend it. Lawmakers from both parties back the Land and Water Conservation Fund, but the program lapsed Monday amid dispute over whether its renewal should be part of a broader package of land-use and parks bills.

Aquafornia news University of Denver Water Law Review

12,734 Miles and Counting: The 50th Anniversary of Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of Law

Fifty years ago, the tide was turning in the war in Vietnam, the civil rights movement was in full swing, and the cold war was raging—but American industry was booming. The United States Congress and the Lyndon B. Johnson administration, however, recognized the danger that industry and development posed, particularly to America’s rivers. Responding to that threat, President Johnson signed the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act (“the Act”) into law on October 2, 1968.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

California bans controversial giant ocean fishing nets

Ending years of controversy and debate, Gov. Jerry Brown late Thursday signed a new law phasing out the use of giant ocean fishing nets used to catch swordfish, but blamed for accidentally killing sea turtles, dolphins and other sea creatures. The bill, SB 1017 by state Sen. Ben Allen, D-Redondo Beach, requires the state to set up a program to buy back nets and fishing permits from commercial fishermen who work in the state’s drift gill net fishery.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

House votes to extend 20-year lease to cattle ranches on Point Reyes National Seashore

A years-long disagreement between cattle ranchers and conservation groups over which grazing animals should get precedence on the grasslands covering Point Reyes National Seashore — dairy cows or native Tule elk — took a step toward being settled on Tuesday, when the House of Representatives passed a bill in favor of the ranchers.

Related Article:

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Congress seeks species law changes after grizzly hunt barred

Galvanized by court rulings protecting grizzly bears and gray wolves, Congressional Republicans on Wednesday pushed sweeping changes to the Endangered Species Act despite strong objections from Democrats and wildlife advocates who called the effort a “wildlife extinction package.” Republicans began with a morning vote in the House Natural Resource Committee to strip protections from gray wolves across the contiguous U.S.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Governor Brown signs climate change insurance bill in California

California will begin looking at ways to insure wetlands, dunes, forests, and other natural infrastructure against the ravages of climate change under a bill that Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed Sept. 21.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California becomes the first state to restrict plastic straws at restaurants

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed the nation’s first state law barring dine-in restaurants from giving customers plastic straws unless they are requested, saying discarded plastic is “choking our planet.” Brown cited the damage that discarded plastic has done to marine life and its threat to human health.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Congress passes spending deal — Includes energy/water programs

The three-bill bundle includes: … — $44.6 billion for energy and water programs, including programs to ensure nuclear stockpile readiness and spur innovation in energy research. The bill also funds flood-control projects and addresses regional ports and waterways.

Aquafornia news The Colorado Sun

Land and Water Conservation Fund close to reauthorization after three years

The Natural Resources Committee — helmed by Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop, a vocal critic of federal expansion of public lands — approved a bill that would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, set to expire at the end of this month. The bill, introduced by Arizona Democrat Rep. Raul Grijalva in January 2017, has languished in that committee for more than 18 months.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

House passes water bill that could rescue California desert hydropower project

The House of Representatives unanimously approved America’s Water Infrastructure Act, a sprawling bill that would authorize and fund projects across the country, from bridge repairs to school drinking fountain replacements.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Board members who gave Compton residents brown water are fighting to keep their jobs

A Compton water district that could be abolished for delivering brown water is waging an eleventh-hour campaign for its survival. The push comes after legislation sailed through the state Assembly and Senate last month that would dismantle the Sativa Los Angeles County Water District’s five-member elected board of directors and install a new general manager by year’s end.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, DC, Bureau

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: More critical water storage is finally coming to California. It took nearly 40 years.

California officials have been pushing for more natural water storage since the last large-scale facility was built in 1979. Now they’re finally going to get it, thanks to political pressure, President Donald Trump and some congressional creativity. The House approved several provisions Thursday that help fund water storage projects. The Senate is expected to concur shortly, and Trump is expected to sign the legislation into law next week.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, DC, Bureau

Forest-thinning measures likely dead in Congress, despite Trump, California Republicans

For more than a month, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue have been calling for a rollback of environmental regulations on forest-thinning projects they argue will help reduce the risk of wildfires, including the ones ravaging California. … Congress, however, is poised to brush aside their pleas. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Gov. Brown signs bills to block Trump’s offshore oil drilling plan

Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed two bills that would block new offshore oil drilling in California by barring the construction of pipelines, piers, wharves or other infrastructure necessary to transport the oil and gas from federal waters to state land.

Aquafornia news The Denver Post

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Western business owners throw support behind reauthorizing Land and Water Conservation Fund

The clock is ticking down to the Sept. 30 expiration date on the [Land and Water Conservation] fund, established by Congress in 1964 to conserve open spaces, fish and wildlife habitat and cultural, historic and recreation sites. A new poll of roughly 822 owners and managers of outdoor businesses in Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Montana found that eight in 10 business support reauthorizing the conservation program, speakers in a  teleconference said Thursday.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Water tax fails in California Legislature

An effort to impose a “voluntary” water tax on residents to pay for safe drinking water projects died in the Legislature on Friday. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said “a piecemeal funding approach” to the problem “won’t work.”

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Is help on the way for Californians whose tap water is tainted?

Karen Lewis knows about water problems. The 67-year-old lives in Compton, where the water coming out of her tap is tinged brown by manganese, a metal similar to iron, from old pipes. The water is supplied by the troubled Sativa Los Angeles County Water District. … Now, in the wake of the state’s prolonged drought and the notorious water crisis in Flint, Mich., a number of new solutions have been proposed in California, including a consumer water fee that people could decline to pay.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Cadiz Inc. wants to sell groundwater from the Mojave Desert. Will California let it happen?

The next two days could help determine the fate of a proposal by Cadiz Inc. to pump groundwater in the Mojave Desert and sell it to Southern California cities. … The state Assembly approved the measure in a 45-20 vote Wednesday evening. But the bill could face an uphill battle in the Senate, and the legislative session ends Friday night.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California committee OKs bill on desert water-pumping plan

A last-minute effort to require more state oversight of a company’s plan to pump water from underneath the Mojave Desert passed a key committee Tuesday, advancing in the final days of the legislative session. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Gov. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is running for governor, all urged lawmakers to pass it.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Bill to impose more scrutiny on controversial Mojave Desert water project gets last-minute push

Environmentalists are mounting a last-minute bid in the final week of the California legislative session to revive a stalled effort to require more review for a project to pump more groundwater from the Mojave Desert. The project by Cadiz Inc. to sell that water to urban Southern California has been the subject of a long-running political drama.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Legislative fights still hanging; Dirty water protests

Families across California unhappy about the condition of their drinking water will hold protests at the Capitol each day until the end of session. They are calling on the Legislature to pass Senate Bills 844 and 845.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Tax on California water revived to clean up drinking water — but it’s voluntary

Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers are rebooting an effort to pass a new tax to attack unsafe drinking water in California. But there’s a twist: The proposed tax on water bills would be voluntary, increasing its chances of success among skittish lawmakers in an election year.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Can California’s wild and scenic rivers stay that way?

Spot quiz: Of the dozens of rivers that flow through California, how many are completely undammed? Answer: Just one. (Read on to find out which.) But that number would likely be zero, were it not for a law passed by Congress 50 years ago: the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Bill allowing more sea lions to be killed clears key hurdle

A bill that would make it easier to kill sea lions that gobble endangered salmon in the Columbia River has cleared a key committee in the U.S. Senate.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Senate’s ‘to-do’ list: Interior-EPA, floods, defense

The Senate will try this week to finish work on a spending package that’s been held up in part by sparring over a popular conservation program. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) filed to end debate on the minibus spending legislation last week after senators pressed for adding several policy riders, among them an extension of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Senate looms as big test for changes to US fishing laws

Fishermen and environmentalists are at odds over a suite of changes to American fishing laws that was approved by the House of Representatives, and the proposal faces a new hurdle in the Senate. The House passed changes to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, a 42-year-old set of rules designed to protect American fisheries from overharvest, on July 11, largely along party lines.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Interior Secretary Zinke visits reservoirs, signaling federal interest in water fight

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke paid a visit Friday to two reservoirs that are embroiled in an intense fight over water allocations in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. … Zinke was accompanied by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, whose two amendments to block part of the state’s “water grab” passed the House of Representatives on Thursday. Zinke, along with Congressman Tom McClintock, sat at a picnic table to talk with media at Don Pedro.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Pentagon objects to GOP rider blocking protection of birds

The Pentagon is objecting to a Republican proposal in a defense policy bill that would bar the Fish and Wildlife Service from using the Endangered Species Act to protect two chicken-like birds in the western half of the U.S.

Related Article:

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Interior Secretary Zinke to visit California as GOP steps up fight over state’s water

Less than two weeks after state regulators announced sweeping new water allocation limits, the GOP-controlled House is expected this week to pass spending legislation that would block federal funding for that allocation plan. It also includes measures that would bar legal challenges to major water infrastructure projects in the state.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Army Corps to raise spillway at Success Lake

The Army Corps of Engineers will spend $74 million to enlarge Success Lake east of Porterville, doubling flood protection for the city and boosting the water supply for farmers. It’s not the only Army Corps project in the majority leader’s district that got major funding. Lake Isabella in Kern County is getting $258 million for a dam safety modification project.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

To protect salmon in the Columbia, will we have to kill more sea lions?

In late June, the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Resolution 2083, which would amend the 46-year-old Marine Mammal Protection Act to allow for state fisheries managers and tribal officials to kill as many as 930 sea lions a year on the Columbia and its tributaries to protect beleaguered fish populations.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Trump administration sends Sacramento $1.8 billion for flood protection

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Rep. Doris Matsui’s office announced that the [Sacramento] region has been allocated nearly $1.8 billion to strengthen levees and raise Folsom Dam. … In total, the Army Corps allocated $17 billion for flood projects around the country Thursday, as part of a congressional appropriation in February.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Gold-mining practice in California still on hold after suction dredge bill halts

Suction dredge mining, a practice in which individuals use vacuum-like devices to extract minerals from the bottom of waterways, has been restricted by a series of new laws passed in the California State Legislature. Earlier this year, miners’ rights groups were optimistic that a bill authored by Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Temecula, would narrow the scope of the restrictions and allow them to apply for permits to return to rivers and streams with their suction dredge equipment once again.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: US Senate passes bill to require independent risk analysis of Oroville Dam

The U.S. Senate passed on Monday the 2019 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill, which requires an independent risk analysis of Oroville Dam. Additionally, the bill would order the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to report the findings of an independent panel reviewing the state Department of Water Resources’ dam safety practices to the Senate committee.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Senate approves $145 billion spending bill to fund energy, water programs

The Senate on Monday approved a $145 billion spending bill to fund the Energy Department and veterans’ programs for the next budget year. … The bill includes $43.8 billion for energy and water programs, including programs to ensure nuclear stockpile readiness and spur innovation in energy research. The bill also funds flood-control projects and addresses regional ports and waterways.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Energy-water appropriations bill grows, stalls in Senate

The Senate will vote Monday on a minibus spending bill that would fund the Department of Energy into the next fiscal year, a measure that swelled with the addition last night of an assortment of energy and resource bills. Senate leaders had hoped to pass the package — which includes the energy-water, military construction-veterans affairs and legislative branch spending measures — before leaving for the weekend.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

California limits daily personal water use to 55 gallons — kind of

California has always been America’s leader on environmental policy, and water is no exception. So it was hardly surprising when the state made headlines across the nation in early June with a new policy on residential water use: Californians will be limited to 55 gallons per person per day for their indoor water needs.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Senators insist on judicial review of water tunnels project

California’s two Democratic senators have committed themselves to opposing a controversial House provision that would block judicial review of the state’s WaterFix tunnel project, reprising a familiar Capitol Hill plot. These California water narratives start bubbling up in the House, and then they often, although not always, dry out in the Senate.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: ‘Water tax’ debate continues after California budget passage

The California budget doesn’t include it, but Gov. Jerry Brown is not done pushing for a new charge on water users, which would fund clean drinking water in rural areas of the state that currently have unsafe tap water.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Decades-old project to raise Lake Mendocino dam gets a boost

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, got the Coyote Valley Dam project — in one 13-word sentence — on a list of feasibility studies for some 30 Corps projects from Alabama to Alaska to be expedited by the Secretary of the Army. Tucked into the 122-page Water Resources Development Act of 2018, the list was approved two weeks ago on a lopsided 408-2 vote in the House and was forwarded to the Senate.

Aquafornia news POLITICO

Poison pills banished from Senate spending bills

The Senate’s stack of finished bills includes one with a notorious track record for poison pill riders: The measure that funds the EPA. That Interior-Environment bill was tripped up by partisan riders during the entire span of former President Barack Obama’s tenure, and it hasn’t reached the Senate floor since 2009.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Senate GOP drops ‘poison pills’ from key spending bill

Tuesday’s move by Sen. Lisa Murkowski extends an olive branch to Democrats and could allow the first floor debate on a key spending bill for the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency since former President Barack Obama’s first year in office. It’s all part of an effort to avoid a catchall “omnibus” spending bill.

Aquafornia news POLITICO

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Californians turn to US for money that environmental groups say doesn’t do enough

California is one step closer to getting a cut of $2.5 billion over the next decade for its water needs now that the House has passed a bill aimed at funding water research and infrastructure projects.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Federal bill would push water utility repairs without rate hikes

Recognizing that complying with federal requirements can cause water utilities to raise rates, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) introduced a bill this week aimed at helping low-income households pay their bills.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California drinking water tax dies in budget compromise

A proposed tax on California’s drinking water, designed to clean up contaminated water for thousands of Californians, was abandoned by Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders Friday as part of the compromise on the state budget. Lawmakers and Brown’s office scrapped the “Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Act,” which would have taxed residents 95 cents a month to raise millions for cleaning toxic wells.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard, San Jose Mercury News

Humboldt County, state water officials talk new laws that mandate water conservation

On Thursday, Brown signed two bills, SB 606 by Sen. Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and AB 1668 by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), that require cities, water districts and large agricultural water districts to set strict annual water budgets …The Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District — which serves approximately two-thirds of county residents across several municipalities and community services districts — initially opposed the legislation unless it was amended.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: House backs $3 billion bill to boost ports, dams, harbors

The House on Wednesday night approved a nearly $3 billion bill to improve the nation’s ports, dams and harbors, protect against floods, restore shorelines and support other water-related projects. … Lawmakers approved the bill [Water Resources Development Act] 408-2, sending it to the Senate, where a similar bill is under consideration.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Prop. 68 passes to inject $4.1 billion into CA water, land conservation projects

Proposition 68 was approved with 56 percent of the vote to authorize the state to borrow $4.1 billion for investments in outdoor recreation, land conservation and water projects, according to the latest results Wednesday morning.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

No, Californians, you won’t be fined $1,000 if you shower and do laundry the same day

Taking aim at two water-conservation laws signed last week by Gov. Jerry Brown, a conspiratorial far-right financial blog called Zero Hedge reported Sunday that Californians could be fined $1,000 a day if they bathe and wash their clothes on the same day.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Farm bill targets food stamps — but not well-off farmers who have been on the dole for decades

As more than a million Americans face losing food stamps under President Trump’s vision for reauthorizing the farm bill, his vow to wean families off dependence doesn’t apply to thousands of others who have been relying much of their adult lives on payments from the government’s sprawling agriculture program.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Why emergency drought assistance will be needed in California for years

With the help of emergency funding requested by Assembly member Joaquin Arambula (D-Kingsburg), whose largely rural district is in the [San Joaquin] valley, the emergency water supply program will likely continue another year at a cost of $3.5 million. Also included in the emergency relief efforts is $10 million to address failing domestic wells and septic tanks, and $10 million for the Drinking Water for Schools Program that funds treatment solutions for schools that struggle with contamination.

Aquafornia news Glendale News-Press

California will have water consumption limits for the first time after ‘landmark’ legislation passed

For the first time in the state’s history, California is setting permanent water-consumption goals to prepare for future droughts and climate change, with a local elected official involved in the historic move. Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) introduced Assembly Bill 1668, one of the bills signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Drought or no drought: Governor sets permanent water conservation rules for Californians

Although he declared an end to California’s historic five-year drought last year, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed two new laws that will require cities and water districts across the state to set permanent water conservation rules, even in non-drought years. “In preparation for the next drought and our changing environment, we must use our precious resources wisely,” Brown said in a statement.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: 360,000 Californians have unsafe drinking water. Are you one of them?

An estimated 360,000 Californians are served by water systems with unsafe drinking water, according to a McClatchy analysis of data compiled by the State Water Resources Control Board. … Now, after years of half solutions, the state is considering its most comprehensive actions to date. Gov. Jerry Brown has asked the Legislature to enact a statewide tax on drinking water to fix wells and treatment systems in distressed communities. 

Aquafornia news Solano County Daily Republic

Delta derelict removal fund passes Assembly vote

Legislation that creates a fund to help remove derelict commercial vessels from the Delta passed the Assembly on Wednesday. It was one of two bills authored by Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Discovery Bay, to clear the Assembly and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Assemblyman Gallagher’s State Water Project bill rejected

Two bills proposed by Assemblyman James Gallagher, one of which would have taken the State Water Project from the state Department of Water Resources and another which would have provided funding for school resource officers, failed on Friday to pass through the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Straws. Bottle caps. Polyester. These are the new targets of California’s environmental movement.

More than half a dozen bills aimed at plastic pollution were introduced in Sacramento this year alone — by both coastal legislators and more moderate inland colleagues who see the potential damage not just in oceans but also rivers, lakes and the state’s water supply. No one, they said, wants to drink a glass of water and wonder if they’re also downing a glass of plastic.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Commentary: Time for California to deliver on the human right to water

When my [Leo Heller] predecessor, Catarina de Albuquerque, visited California, what she found shocked her. Drinking water conditions were akin to those typically seen in a developing country: families without an acceptable level of safe drinking water or sanitation; exposed pipes running through irrigation ditches; crumbling or nonexistent infrastructure.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Congress learning to padlock courthouse door

The high-ranking lawmaker who wants to block judicial review of a massive California water tunnels project calls his maneuver something close to standard operating procedure. And, like it or not, he’s right. In the latest example of a controversial tactic, the chairman of a key House panel included language blocking judicial review of California’s WaterFix project in a fiscal 2019 Interior Department funding package.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Independent governance eyed for State Water Project

The Legislature created the Department of Water Resources in 1956 for the purpose of managing the State Water Project, then in its early stages of planning. … AB 3045 would create a new State Water Project Commission under the state’s Natural Resources Agency to run the project – the agency, whose secretary serves in the governor’s cabinet, has broad authority over DWR.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Nestlé bottled water controversy becomes campaign issue in California race

The controversy over Nestlé’s bottled water operation in the San Bernardino National Forest has prompted a review of the company’s federal permit, a lawsuit and an investigation by California regulators. Now, Nestlé’s continued piping of water out of the San Bernardino Mountains has become an issue in a congressional campaign.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Five things to know about water bonds on upcoming California ballots

Californians this year will vote on not one but two water bond measures totaling $13 billion. Given that the state still hasn’t spent all of the $7.5 billion from the Proposition 1 water bond passed in 2014, it raises a crucial question: Does California really need another $13 billion in water bonds?

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California moves closer to crafting specific water caps for urban districts

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Your guide to the 5 propositions on California’s primary ballot

California voters are being asked to weigh in on new borrowing, new government restrictions and a drought-friendly tax break on the statewide primary ballots that will be counted June 5. There are five propositions in all, a small menu of proposed laws all written by the California Legislature.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Hemp legalization poised to transform agriculture in arid West

Amid all the excitement around marijuana legalization in America, another newly legal crop has received comparatively little attention: hemp. And yet hemp may prove to be even more transformative, especially in the West’s arid landscapes. Hemp is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant that is not psychoactive.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: A ban on Delta tunnels lawsuits slips into federal spending plan

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.”

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

Legal Commentary: Administrative Hearing Office proposed for State Water Resources Control Board

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.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Is your drinking water clean in Merced County?

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.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego fighting alone for $400,000 to cover water testing for lead at schools

San Diego is the only city in California seeking state reimbursement for testing the toxic lead levels in water at local schools, which has cost the city’s water agency more than $400,000. … The requirement, which came in response to a national outcry over lead in drinking water at schools in Michigan, immediately prompted complaints from water agencies that it was an unfunded mandate by the state.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

‘The drought is not over’: Residents still getting water from temporary tanks fear cutoff

For Fresno County resident Anne Schmidtgall the California drought never ended. Two years ago, the well on her property east of Del Rey went dry when the casing caved in. … Two weeks ago, Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno, testified before an Assembly budget subcommittee requesting $23.5 million be added to the state budget for water needs.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

California considers charge on utility bills to create safe water fund

Gaps in funding for water treatment are a major problem in California. Water providers operate independently, relying virtually entirely on customer fees to cover costs. For agencies with scale, money and access to quality water sources, this model works well. But absent those resources, contamination persists for years without resolution.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: This one stretch of river could decide the future of Shasta Dam

The final stretch of the McCloud River before it empties into the state’s largest reservoir is a place of raw beauty. … This part of the McCloud is off limits to almost everyone except a few Native Americans and some well-heeled fly fishermen. Its gatekeeper is an unlikely one, an organization that also happens to be a hugely controversial player in California water politics.

Western Water Gary Pitzer 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.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Hemp, not food, pushing Senate to consider sweeping farm bill

The massive farm bill that helps determine what farmers grow and Americans eat is poised to get some major momentum thanks to a not-yet-legal crop: Hemp.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

US House moves to reverse order to aid salmon

The U.S. House approved a bill Wednesday that would reverse a federal judge’s order to spill more water from four Pacific Northwest dams to help migrating salmon reach the Pacific Ocean. The bill, approved 225-189, would prevent any changes in dam operations until 2022.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Oroville Dam without Department of Water Resources?

A bill proposed by Assemblyman James Gallagher which would take the State Water Project out of the hands of the state Department of Water Resources passed unanimously on Tuesday through a legislative committee. Assembly Bill 3045 passed 15-0 through the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee and is now headed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Assembly bill may take inspection authority away from Department of Water Resources

There are 34 storage facilities, 30 dams, 23 pumping plants and nine hydroelectric power generation plants that are part of the California State Water Project, and the Department of Water Resources is in charge of not only operating but also of inspecting all of them. Local Assemblyman James Gallagher says that’s a conflict of interest, and a bill he’s pushing looks to take some of that authority away from DWR.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

2018 elections: Voters eye deluge of water money

California voters may be asked this year to approve $13 billion in two separate water bonds that promise to pay for safe drinking water and improve flood protection. Proposition 68, the California Clean Water and Safe Parks Act, is a $4.1 billion measure and is already set for the June 5 ballot. The Water Supply and Water Quality Act is an $8.9 billion measure and could come up for a vote in November. 

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Congresswoman wants Navy to help fight Mexican sewage spills

[Rep. Susan] Davis, a San Diego Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, has grown concerned about untreated sewage leaking from Tijuana’s aging and overworked wastewater collection and treatment system, a problem exacerbated by surges of fecal contamination when Mexican pipes break, pumps fail and rain falls.

Aquafornia news Brookings

Commentary: Why the climate challenge needs congressional action

President Trump has aimed to undo much of the Obama administration’s policy on energy and climate. … One could argue that any of the leading candidates in the 2016 Republican primary would have taken similar actions in the climate and energy space. What is needed now, we argue, is momentum toward bipartisan climate legislation in Congress that could outlast the back-and-forth on regulations.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Earth Day 2018: Here are 6 California bills that aim to reduce plastic litter and pollution

State lawmakers got the memo in advance. The theme of Earth Day (Sunday, April 22) is “End Plastic Pollution,” but California legislators are already on the case. Four years ago, they made California the first state to ban single-use plastic grocery sacks — and 52 percent of voters agreed with the law in a 2016 referendum.

Aquafornia news Truckee Sun

Tahoe-Truckee area water agencies oppose California drinking water fee

The Tahoe-Truckee area’s water agencies say they oppose a budget trailer bill that is part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed 2018-19 budget. The bill, according to the Association of California Water Agencies, is essentially a modified form of State Bill 623, dubbed the “Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fee.”

Aquafornia news Visalia Times-Delta

Farm Bill 2018 met with mixed reviews

Every five years, a bipartisan farm bill is passed by Congress that impacts people nationwide and right here at home.  On Thursday, a draft of the legislation was released by the House Agriculture Committee. While the bill is welcomed by many, some called it a betrayal to rural families.  

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: White House, Congress side with California growers over raising Shasta Dam

Congress and the Trump administration are pushing ahead with a plan to raise a towering symbol of dam-building’s 20th century heyday to meet the water demands of 21st century California — a project backed by San Joaquin Valley growers but opposed by state officials, defenders of a protected river and an American Indian tribe whose sacred sites would be swamped.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

When it comes to California water, nothing is easy

First put forward as Senate Bill 623, then later slipped into the governor’s 2018-19 budget as a trailer bill, the [Safe and Affordable Drinking Water] fund’s purpose is to cover an estimated $140 million each year in improvements and ongoing maintenance in water systems that are out of compliance with water quality standards. The proposed Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund is fueling increased debate in California’s water community and in the Capitol.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Statewide water bond measures could have Californians doing a double-take in 2018

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.

Western Water Gary Pitzer 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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Spending bill rejects Trump effort to gut water cleanups

A $1.3 trillion spending package approved Thursday by the House and early Friday by the Senate includes nearly $448 million for Environmental Protection Agency programs benefiting regional waters degraded by pollution, overdevelopment and exotic species invasions. … Aside from the Great Lakes, those staying at their current levels include Chesapeake Bay, San Francisco Bay …

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Budget deal includes wildfire disaster fund to end borrowing

[Idaho Rep. Mike] Simpson, who chairs an Appropriations subcommittee on energy and water development, called the wildfire fund one of the most significant pieces of legislation he has worked on in Congress. The concept is simple, he said: Treat catastrophic wildfires like other natural disasters.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Senator’s bill would establish Oroville Dam citizens advisory commission

A bill introduced by Sen. Jim Nielsen that would create a citizens advisory commission for the Oroville Dam was amended in the Senate last week. This comes as the Oroville Dam Coalition has been lobbying over the past year for more community involvement, including through a citizens oversight committee, as a reaction to the spillway crisis in February 2017.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Democrats block GOP bid to speed Shasta Dam enlargement

Democrats in Congress have stalled an attempt to jump start an expansion of Shasta Dam, California’s largest reservoir and a major water source for the Central Valley. Their objections blocked a Republican gambit to allow the $1.3 billion project to move forward without full up-front funding and despite objections from Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California earthquake standard designed to save lives but not buildings. There’s a new push to do both

California’s seismic construction requirements are designed to protect the lives of those inside. But even with the most modern codes, building to the state’s minimum requirements would leave even new buildings severely damaged in a major earthquake — to the point of being a complete loss.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Why your water provider is fighting California’s ban on watering sidewalks

The State Water Resources Control Board’s proposal to impose permanent conservation rules – such as prohibiting hosing down driveways, watering lawns less than two days after it rains and washing a car without attaching a shut-off nozzle to the hose – ran into a cascade of opposition.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Heller introduces bill to reauthorize Colorado River program

Legislation has been introduced in the Senate to reauthorize the Colorado River System Conservation Program critical to water supplies for Southern Nevada.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Should some species be allowed to die out?

Under the rules of the Endangered Species Act, once a species is discovered to be at risk of extinction, government agencies are required by law to take steps to save it. For years, critics have challenged that mandate, arguing that it undercuts the ability to weigh a species’ value or to consider the economic impact of its preservation — for instance, the cost of prohibiting logging in a valuable tract of forest.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: New fees proposed to pay for California’s contaminated water problem

As part of his final budget proposal, Gov. Jerry Brown wants new fees on water to provide clean and affordable drinking water to the approximately 1 million Californians who are exposed to contaminated water in their homes and communities each year. … About 100 state residents who lack access to clean drinking water will head to the Capitol today and join with several lawmakers to support Brown’s proposal … 

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Most California schools OK for lead levels in drinking water; thousands yet to be tested

Less than 1 percent of recent drinking water samples at California’s public schools showed elevated lead levels. But thousands more campuses still need to be tested, state officials said last week. A new law, AB 746, took effect in January requiring those tests at public schools over the next 16 months.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Lead fishing weights targeted under California bill

A California lawmaker wants to ban most lead fishing weights, arguing they are harmful to wildlife. Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, introduced Assembly Bill 2787 on Feb. 16.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California governor signs dam-safety bill prompted by crisis

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Monday that seeks to beef up dam inspections following a near disaster that caused the evacuation of almost 200,000 people living downstream from the tallest one in the United States. The measure implements several recommendations from experts who reviewed the crisis at Oroville Dam last year.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Arrests may hold up feds’ deal to settle with water district over runoff disaster

The manager of a San Joaquin Valley water district seen as a model for how to manage toxic agricultural runoff was jailed last week in Fresno on charges of embezzlement and burying 86 drums of toxic waste on the water district’s property.

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
Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Commentary: The most important new water bills facing California lawmakers

Water scarcity seems likely to be a recurring part of our future. Legislators in Sacramento, therefore, would be remiss to delay the adoption of a group of bills that would place the state on a path to ensuring more sustainable water supplies.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Many of north valley’s dams deemed high-hazard

Everyone knows about the risk from Oroville Dam after the spillway crisis, but most of the dams in the north valley are considered to have a high-hazard potential. … New requirements for these high-risk dams, including annual inspections, will come into play if Gov. Jerry Brown signs the dam safety bill on his desk soon.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Trump budget would undo gains from conservation programs on farms and ranches

Members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are starting to shape the 2018 farm bill – a comprehensive food and agriculture bill passed about every five years. Most observers associate the farm bill with food policy, but its conservation section is the single largest source of funding for soil, water and wildlife conservation on private land in the United States.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Oroville-inspired dam inspection bill heads to governor

On the anniversary of evacuations prompted by the near disaster at Oroville Dam, California lawmakers on Monday sent Gov. Jerry Brown a measure to tighten dam inspection standards.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California’s wildfire risk is rising. Congress missed a chance to help.

A bipartisan group of members of Congress from California and other Western states had been pushing a policy fix that would create a new funding stream to fight fires, leaving more money for the U.S. Park Service to manage forests and prevent fires. Under current law, firefighting is not funded out of the same natural disaster account used to respond to hurricanes or tornadoes.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Efforts to move top US land managers West gain a strong ally

From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Bureau of Land Management oversees some of the nation’s most prized natural resources: vast expanses of public lands rich in oil, gas, coal, grazing for livestock, habitat for wildlife, hunting ranges, fishing streams and hiking trails.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Nunes memo made this congressman a national name. But his California district cares about water, not Russia

Here [Tulare], some business owners and workers said they still believe [Congressman Devin] Nunes can deliver on jobs. Farmers and growers tend to know him for water, not Russia.

Aquafornia news Center for American Progress

Commentary: Using 2018 Farm Bill to grow investment in private lands conservation

In the United States, the largest single source of public conservation funding comes from an unexpected piece of legislation: the farm bill. Although the bulk of the farm bill focuses on commodity subsidies and nutrition assistance, the most recent version allocated more than $5 billion in annual funding for various conservation programs. The farm bill is also a venue to set policy and pilot new programs that grow conservation on working lands in order to balance production of crops, timber, and livestock with environmental quality.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

California Water Board delays affordability report

Citing the need for more deliberation, California regulators delayed publication of a report that will outline their preferred plan to fund and manage a statewide program to help poor residents pay their water bills. As water rates increase in the United States, governments and utilities are exploring new forms of financial aid.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Rainwater capture would get boost under new California ballot measure

Worried about California’s dry winter? Interested in installing a rainwater capture system from your roof? A new state ballot measure written by an East Bay lawmaker and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown late Wednesday will put the issue before voters in four months.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Congress misses deadline to approve west-side water fix, but deal not unraveling yet

A key deadline has passed to solve the irrigation drainage problem that caused massive bird deaths and deformities at Kesterson wildlife refuge. But a Westlands Water District official said Congress is still on track to pass legislation benefiting both the district, which delivers water to farms over an area the size of Rhode Island, and the federal government.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

How California lawmakers are preparing for more natural disasters

Dozens of Californians lost their lives in wildfires and other natural disasters in recent months. In response to the widespread emergencies, Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators want to change insurance rules, emergency alert systems and debris removal policies and spend more money on fire protection.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

As California groundwater regulation unfolds, some feel left out

California’s sweeping effort to regulate groundwater extraction is still in its infancy. But many community groups are already concerned that too little is being done to involve low-income and disadvantaged residents in managing aquifers dominated by agriculture. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, adopted in 2014, was a Herculean achievement for California.

Aquafornia news The Livermore Independent

Legislation would impose state tax on water bills

Everyone in California would pay a monthly tax of 95 cents on their water bills, if SB 623 were to become law in its current form. The bill was introduced last year by Sen. William Monning of Carmel. It became a two-year bill available for passage in 2018.

Aquafornia news E&E News

2018 could be a busy year for lands, wildlife and energy bills

A full slate of bills related to public lands, energy development and wildlife management are teed up for action when lawmakers return to Capitol Hill in 2018, and some of those bills may get taken up early in the year.

Aquafornia news Oceans Deeply

Rare outbreak of bipartisanship on need to fight ocean pollution

In a rare show of bipartisanship, the United States Senate has unanimously passed the Save Our Seas Act of 2017, which would reauthorize the NOAA Marine Debris Program for five years and encourage international cooperation to prevent and clean up plastic pollution.

Aquafornia news Idaho Statesman

Commentary: Five ways Congress can make the Endangered Species Act better

The House Resources Committee has approved five different bills its members say will modernize the Endangered Species Act, passed in 1973. Critics accurately say the bills would gut the law, which hasn’t had a major rewrite since the 1980s. The law is a powerful statement in defense of creation that requires the federal government to protect all species, a message that goes all the way back to Noah’s Ark.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

California Westlands water settlement is left in limbo

This year, the annual bill governing national defense policy almost settled a three-decades-old conflict in California over the drainage of toxic water from farm fields. Lawmakers finished resolving the differences between the House and Senate versions of the military bill, legislation that addresses troop numbers and overseas operations, on Nov. 8.

Tour

San Joaquin River Restoration Tour 2018

Participants of this tour snaked along the San Joaquin River to learn firsthand about one of the nation’s largest and most expensive river restoration projects.

Fishery worker capturing a fish in the San Joaquin River.

The San Joaquin River was the focus of one of the most contentious legal battles in California water history, ending in a 2006 settlement between the federal government, Friant Water Users Authority and a coalition of environmental groups.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Congress passes defense spending bill that includes perfluorinated chemicals health study

Recognizing widespread public concern over drinking water contamination, Congress approved a five-year, $7-million study of the human health consequences of perfluorinated compounds, a class of chemicals that came to national prominence in the last two years amid detection in the water of hundreds of communities, households, and military bases.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Commentary: Repairs should not be limited to Oroville Dam

Restoration and protection of forested source watersheds is a proven tool to reduce flood intensity, increase water supply and storage, improve timing and amount of water releases – especially for the hot summer months – and improve water quality. … In 2016, California enacted my [Assembly member Richard Bloom] bill, Assembly Bill 2480, which acknowledged the importance of these water banks as the essential complement to our built water system infrastructure.

Aquafornia news High Country News

Westlands water settlement in limbo

This year, the annual bill governing national defense policy almost settled a three-decades-old conflict in California over toxic water draining from farm fields. Lawmakers finished resolving the differences between the House and Senate versions of the military bill, legislation that addresses troop numbers and overseas operations, on Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Audubon California

Commentary: 25th anniversary of water reform law provides perspective on progress and challenges

California’s most important federal water reform law – the Central Valley Project Improvement Act – will celebrate its 25th anniversary on October 30. … The law was an historic effort to protect and restore California’s wetlands, rivers, migratory waterbirds, salmon and other fish species, and also to promote more sustainable water supplies for a drought prone state.  

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: House approves bill to expand hydropower

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, would define hydropower as a renewable energy source and streamline the way projects are licensed, with primary authority granted to a single federal agency. Lawmakers approved the bill Wednesday, 257-166.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Congressmen want additional Oroville Dam safety review

Reps. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, and Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, Monday introduced to a bill that would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to conduct an additional environmental review of the Oroville Dam. The congressmen would like to see a review done before the commission approves the relicensing of the dam under state Department of Water Resources’ management.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Water fight tied directly to Arizona’s growth

Gov. Doug Ducey’s office is pushing a series of controversial proposals to overhaul state water management. One reason is to assure investors that Arizona has enough water for future economic development.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

GOP targets environmental rules after wildfires

House Republicans are targeting environmental rules to allow faster approval for tree cutting in national forests in response to the deadly wildfires in California. … The GOP bill is one of at least three being considered in Congress to address wildfires.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Major water rights settlement for Arizona tribe goes to Congress

In what one economic development expert calls a “unique case” of a tribe’s water rights claims being backed by all players, Arizona senators John McCain and Jeff Flake on September 7 filed a new bill to ratify the Hualapai Tribe’s water settlement, an agreement negotiated between the tribe, Arizona, the federal government and others. … The bill, if enacted, will provide the tribe with 4,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water.

Aquafornia news The Riverside Press-Enterprise

‘Environmental justice’ is goal of legislation

Citing the health problems of people living near the Salton Sea and those toiling as farmworkers, an Inland congressman is sponsoring a bill to empower underprivileged communities beset by pollution.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Costly hurricanes raise questions about future of federal flood insurance

An unprecedented wave of destructive hurricanes has brought the long-struggling federal flood insurance program to the brink. Now Congress faces tough questions about whether to again bail out the nearly 50-year-old program and how to implement reforms to make it more sustainable, secure and cost-effective.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

New bills ease funding and improve accounting for water

This was a busy year for water policy in the California Legislature. Governor Jerry Brown signed more than a dozen bills affecting the way we manage water. The bills cover a wide range of issues, from funding water infrastructure to reporting on new groundwater wells in overdrafted basins.

Aquafornia news The Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Governor signs bill creating new water agency

The way water is acquired and distributed throughout the Santa Clarita Valley changed forever Sunday when Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill creating one new all-encompassing water district for the SCV.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: A plan for billions of dollars in parks and water improvements on California’s 2018 ballot

Voters will decide in June 2018 whether to borrow $4 billion to fund improvements to the California’s parks and water systems after Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 5 on Sunday.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

House passes big disaster aid bill but there’s political trouble ahead

Thursday’s package, which the Senate could take up when it returns next week, includes money for Federal Emergency Management Agency’s nearly empty Disaster Relief Fund and for the financially-struggling National Flood Insurance Program.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Governor vetoed 2016 bill aimed at power line, wildfire safety

Now, as a series of deadly fires rages in Wine Country, serious questions are once again being asked about the safety of overhead electrical wires in a state prone to drought and fierce winds. On Wednesday, Cal Fire said that investigators have started looking into whether toppled power wires and exploding transformers Sunday night may have ignited the simultaneous string of blazes.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Will wine country disaster push Congress to fix fire budget?

At the root of the problem is the fact that forest fires are not treated like other natural disasters. While the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can tap emergency funds for hurricane or tornado response, the U.S. Forest Service has to raid its other program budgets – including fire prevention – if it runs out of firefighting funds.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Effort to plug Tijuana sewage flows gets $2.1 million bump from state bill

The effort to prevent sewage from flowing from Tijuana into San Diego County got a small boost Monday when Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation to provide about $2.1 million in funds for the effort.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Bill would require more disclosure before drilling new wells

If you want a new well in California, you might have to let your neighbors know how much water you plan to pump. That’s if it’s tapping a critically overused aquifer, and if a bill on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk survives calls for a veto.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Which California megaprojects get breaks from complying with environmental law?

Year after year, owners of professional sports teams and developers of proposed skyscrapers have pleaded with California lawmakers to grant relief for their projects from the state’s environmental regulations. They’ve found a largely receptive audience.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

How water bill was resurrected in Legislature’s final hours (with audio)

It was 11:59pm last Friday, and Assembly Bill 313 sat silently in the Senate Appropriations Committee, where it had slumbered untouched for weeks. … It’s a bill backed by water agencies and despised by environmentalists – and its passage was crucial to the fate of the four-billion-dollar parks and water bond.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers OK $4 billion for parks, water projects

Immigration and housing dominated the headlines from Sacramento this year. But with little fanfare, state lawmakers working with Gov. Jerry Brown also approved a sweeping measure to provide $4.1 billion in new funding for parks and water projects — everything from building Bay Area hiking trails to expanding Lake Tahoe beaches to constructing new inner city parks in Los Angeles.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Oroville-inspired dam inspection bill racing against legislative deadline

The north state assemblyman who represents Oroville, where the threat of a dam collapse in February forced 188,000 downstream residents to evacuate, is racing to tighten inspection standards before the end of the legislative session Friday night.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Will anti-water pumping legislation be brought back from the dead?

Late last week, we suggested watching this space for possible revival of Assembly Bill 1000, legislation to halt a controversial water-pumping project in the Mojave Desert that’s being pushed by the politically connected firm Cadiz, Inc.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: $200 million for Salton Sea in California bond measure

Earlier this month, a proposed bond measure in the California Legislature had included $280 million to pay for building thousands of acres of ponds, wetlands and other dust-control projects around the Salton Sea. This week, after negotiations among lawmakers, the amount earmarked for the Salton Sea was slashed to $200 million.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California could mandate new Salton Sea geothermal plants at 11th hour

As state lawmakers debate far-reaching bills that could reshape the energy landscape in California and across the West, some groups are urging the Legislature to require new geothermal power plants at the Salton Sea before a key deadline Tuesday* night — but those groups can’t agree on what the geothermal mandate should look like.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Capitol Roundup: Parks and Water Bond

Update at 12:59 p.m.: California legislative leaders have reached agreement on a bill that would place a $4 billion dollar parks and water bond on the June 2018 ballot.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Deep drought stirred action on California’s right to water

Though the nation’s first state law to assure the human right to safe water and sanitation was enacted in California in 2012, not much happened immediately afterward. The law existed in a dormant state, like a seed waiting for a storm. The storm eventually came, but, as it happened, it was a lack of rain that brought the seed to flower.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

California lawmakers leave some of the biggest bills for the final days

Key bills awaiting a final vote … Parks and water bond: Senate Bill 5 would place a nearly $4 billion bond measure for parks and water projects on the June 2018 primary ballot.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

California’s clean-water-for-all experiment begins to deliver

Hundreds of thousands of California residents, perhaps as many as one million of the 39 million people in the state, do not have safe drinking water or toilet facilities.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

California passes bill to protect scientific data from federal censorship

Soon after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, a page on climate change vanished from the White House website, sending a chill through the scientific community. Within weeks, state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, proposed a bill to protect whistleblowers and safeguard data collected by scientists …

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

Bill targeting Cadiz water transfer dies in Senate committee

A bill designed to block the transfer of groundwater from the remote San Bernardino County desert died in Sacramento on Friday after failing to advance beyond the Senate appropriations committee.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Flood insurance is a mess, and Harvey won’t make Congress any more likely to fix it

Hurricane Harvey is sure to add more crushing debt to the National Flood Insurance Program, which is already $25 billion in the red. So when Congress resumes on Tuesday, will it immediately act to fix this troubled program?

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Democrats seek $4 billion bond for water, flood control, parks

As torrential rains and dangerous flood waters pummel large swaths of Texas and parts of Louisiana, California lawmakers are eying legislation to prevent similar damage from from the state’s own disasters.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Federal flood insurance program in limbo on Capitol Hill as Harvey’s toll mounts

The devastation Hurricane Harvey has wrought in southeastern Texas has brought new focus to the National Flood Insurance Program — and to a pending Republican effort to restructure and partially privatize an industry that has been effectively subsidized with tens of billions of federal taxpayer dollars.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California drinking water could soon be taxed

For the first time Californians would pay a tax on drinking water — 95 cents per month — under legislation aimed at fixing hundreds of public water systems with unsafe tap water.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Trump team goes to bat for NRA-backed bill, deleting Park Service concerns

Under the bill, the National Park Service would be prevented from regulating the hunting of bears and wolves in Alaska wildlife preserves, including the practice of killing bear cubs in their dens. It also would be prevented from regulating commercial and recreational fishing within park boundaries and from commenting on development projects outside park boundaries that could affect the parks.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Billionaire helping to get funds for San Joaquin Valley clean water

Tom Steyer, the San Francisco billionaire and environmentalist, promised his support Tuesday for a proposed safe and affordable drinking water fund to help communities with contaminated water in the San Joaquin Valley. … Steyer met with about a dozen water advocates at the nonprofit Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability in downtown Fresno who urged him to throw his clout behind Senate Bill 623. 

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: East Bay lawmaker touts water bill with recycling plant as backdrop

Though it may not stop the state’s Twin Tunnels project from diverting Delta water down south, Congressman Jerry McNerney hopes his new bill to invest in recycling projects will ensure water districts are frugal with the essential, but limited resource.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Parks and water bond linked to housing deal at California Capitol

As California lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown work to hammer out an affordable housing deal that includes a multi-billion dollar bond measure, they’re also negotiating a parks and water bond that would advance at the same time.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California’s largest water supplier says federal water bill goes too far

The measure, called the “Gaining Responsibility on Water Act” or GROW Act, has already passed the US House, largely along party lines. Supporters, including many Central Valley Republicans and farmers, say it would cut the red tape that prevents dams and water storage projects from being built.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Local entities oppose funding sources for drinking water bill

A bill making its way through the state Legislature is seeking to improve quality and access to drinking water quality by creating a new state fund, but some local entities are opposing how the bill plans to raise money for this goal.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Legislation — From toilet water to drinking water

This legislation might be hard to swallow: Lawmakers are considering a bill that would clear the way for California communities to put highly treated wastewater directly into the drinking water supply. … Jennifer Bowles, executive director of the Water Education Foundation, said the California public is more open to the idea of recycling water these days because of the recent five-year drought.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

First step in implementing California groundwater law successful

California was one of the last states in the West to pass a law to manage groundwater. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act into law in 2014.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Legislature, don’t mess with California’s water umpire

As California water becomes an increasingly precious and contentious resource, the state needs an umpire with the power to enforce laws against illegal diversions and protect the rights of the public and others with enforceable claims to state water.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

House bill redirects river flows from fish to farms

Republican-backed federal legislation with strong support from agricultural communities in California aims to eradicate salmon from much of the San Joaquin River. It will nullify numerous laws protecting wetlands and waterways in order to provide farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta with more northern California water.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma County supervisor to testify before US Senate panel about local water initiatives

Shirlee Zane, the chairwoman of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, is set to appear before a Congressional panel in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss the county’s efforts to better manage its water supply and respond to major storms. … Zane intends to tell senators about two initiatives led by the Sonoma County Water Agency, of which she is also a board member. 

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Unlikely allies push bill to solve California drinking water crisis

As the summer sun was warming up on a July morning, a crowd of nearly 100 people gathered on the north steps of the California Capitol, many having arrived stiff-legged after a four-hour bus ride. … Most were San Joaquin Valley residents, including children as young as 5, who woke up before dawn to travel to the state capital to voice their support for Senate Bill 623, the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Oroville Dam, other flood-safety projects would be fast-tracked under new bill

Work to strengthen Oroville Dam, shore up downstream levees and other types of flood-prevention projects would be eligible for fast-tracked state approval under new California legislation lawmakers will consider when they return from summer recess next month.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

The drought is over. Why are Republicans in Congress fighting for more water for farmers?

The drought may be over and Central Valley farmers are getting more water than they have in years, but that hasn’t stopped congressional Republicans from resurrecting a bill that would strip environmental protections for fish so more water can be funneled to agriculture. … Some version of [Rep. David] Valadao’s bill has been introduced off and on since 2011 without success. 

Aquafornia news PolitiFact California/Capital Public Radio

McCarthy ignores key facts in claim on California water storage

One of the biggest backers for building new dams and reservoirs in California is House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield. … As part of his push for the bill, H.R. 23, McCarthy made a claim about the dearth of water storage construction in the state in recent decades.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: GOP push to shift state water policy away from conservation

With a friend in the White House and their party in control of both chambers of Congress, House Republicans have embarked on their most ambitious effort yet to change the way water flows in California. Legislation that the House sent to the Senate last week outlines a bold effort to build big new dams and shift water from fish, birds and other wildlife to farms in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news E&E News

House panel to review Endangered Species Act bills

The Endangered Species Act will come in for a spanking and a possible face-lift Wednesday as the House Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on five ESA-related bills. Authored by four Republicans and one rural Democrat, the individual measures pick away at several pieces of the 1973 law that’s outlasted many previous congressional forays.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Congressman McNerney presents bill as alternative to twin tunnels (with audio)

Congressman Jerry McNerney from Stockton presented a bill Monday as an alternative to the Twin Tunnels that will concentrate on ways to create new water.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Congressman McNerney outlines Delta tunnels alternative

[U.S. Rep. Jerry] McNerney’s bill comes at a crucial time, as various government agencies and water districts make a series of decisions this summer and fall about whether the $17 billion tunnels project should move forward.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Federal water legislation: ‘It’s going to be a fight’

Whatever the prognosticators say, the latest effort by south San Joaquin Valley Republicans to wring more water out of the Delta is undeniably ambitious. A bill that cleared the House of Representatives last week requires the Delta to be governed by 20-year-old water quality standards that scientists say are inadequate for the estuary’s freshwater ecosystem.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Flood insurance rates could rise for homeowners under proposal

Congress is considering sweeping changes to the debt-laden National Flood Insurance Program that could jack up flood insurance rates for hundreds of thousands of homeowners under a bill that a Florida real estate group called “devastating.”

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California water bill passes House, but Democrats vow to fight it in the Senate

Some of California’s decisions about how to use its water would be relegated to the federal government under a bill passed by the House on Wednesday.

Commands