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.
California’s legislative session came to a wild ending in 2020
when the clock ran out on major bills. Key pieces of
environmental legislation were among those that died on the
floor, and conservationists are hoping 2021 brings a different
story….Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, [proposed
a climate resiliency bond that] would include $240 million for
Salton Sea restoration, $250 million for groundwater management
and $300 million for grants for clean and reliable drinking
Congressman Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, introduced a bill
Wednesday that would extend “critical water supply provisions”
in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN)
Act for the next seven years in an effort to improve
California’s access to water. On Wednesday, Garcia introduced a
bill that would enact a seven-year extension for “critical
water supply provisions” in the WIIN Act, which became law at
the end of 2016.
Despite taking two years off from Congress, David Valadao
(R—Hanford) is getting back to work by introducing new
legislation to help keep water flowing in the Central Valley.
Early this month, Valadao introduced the Responsible, No-Cost
Extension of Western Water Infrastructure Improvements, or
RENEW WIIN, Act, a no-cost, clean extension of operations and
storage provisions of the WIIN Act. The RENEW WIIN Act would
extend the general and operations provisions of Subtitle J of
the WIIN Act and extend the provision requiring consultation on
coordinated operations of the Central Valley Project and State
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday joined a
lawsuit challenging a Trump-era rule revising nationwide
standards for controlling and remediating lead in drinking
water. While the final rule includes certain necessary
updates to the existing standard, these changes are
overshadowed by the unlawful weakening of
critical requirements and the rule’s failure to
protect the public from lead in drinking water to
the maximum extent feasible, as required by law.
Lake Wohlford Dam is an important water storage, flood control
and recreational facility that has served Escondido for
generations. Restoring storage capacity and making it
earthquake-safe is critically important, which is why I
introduced AB 692. The dam was originally constructed in
1895 to store water transported via a wooden flume from the San
Luis Rey River to Escondido. One of the first rock-fill dams in
California, Lake Wohlford Dam was 76 feet high and had a
storage capacity of about 3500 acre-feet.
-Written by Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron,
Though the nonprofit tasked with Klamath River dam removal is
about to submit its definite plan to federal regulators, Del
Norte County and the Crescent City Harbor District are still
worried about potential negative impacts. Harbor commissioners
on Thursday agreed to sign onto a memorandum of understanding
that includes the county and the Klamath River Renewal
Corporation. The MOU contains conditions that ensures the
harbor and county can recover potential damages to the port and
the fishing industry that occur as a result of dam removal and
reservoir drawdown on the Klamath River.
Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino counties could play host to
part of the largest new designation of federal wilderness in a
decade if Democratic sponsors of the land-protection package
can find a way through the divided U.S. Senate. A bill
sponsored by Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, would designate
257,797 of new acres of wilderness in Northern California while
placing 480 miles of river in the region under the nation’s
strictest environmental protections for waterways.
This month, the comment period for a potentially landmark piece
of legislation ended. Since California v. Arizona in 2000, the
Colorado River Indian Tribes have the sole rights to more than
600,000 acres-feet of water from the Colorado River, but they
are barred from selling or leasing any of this water to outside
communities. The proposed federal legislation, led by
the tribes themselves, would allow them to lease some of this
water as long as they reduce their own water consumption by an
-Written by Isaac Humrich, a senior at Sunnyslope High
School in Phoenix and a member of American Conservation
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following
statement on being named chairman of the Appropriations
Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. This subcommittee
has jurisdiction over funding levels for the Department of
Energy, the Army Corp of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation
and other federal agencies related to our nation’s energy and
water infrastructure programs.
Democratic lawmakers and advocates are urging Joe Biden to back
legislation proposing unprecedented investment in America’s
ailing water infrastructure amid the country’s worst crisis in
decades that has left millions of people without access to
clean, safe, affordable water. Boil advisories, leaky lead
pipes, poisonous forever chemicals, bill arrears and raw sewage
are among the urgent issues facing ordinary Americans and
municipal utilities after decades of federal government
neglect, which has brought the country’s ageing water systems
hurtling towards disaster. … Water supplies and
sanitation have been disrupted over and over in recent decades
– in Louisiana, Puerto Rico, California, Ohio and elsewhere …
The McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA), a
Groundwater Sustainability Agency in the Central Valley’s Kings
Subbasin, has been awarded a $10 million grant by the State
Water Resources Control Board through the Prop 1 Stormwater
Grant Program to expand the existing McMullin On-Farm Recharge
(OFR) Project located near Helm in Fresno County. The
Project is identified in MAGSA’s Groundwater Sustainability
Plan and is a key element in a vision developed by MAGSA to
achieve groundwater sustainability under California’s
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) through
innovative approaches in groundwater banking and crediting.
Lake Wohlford Dam is an important water storage, flood control
and recreational facility that has served Escondido for
generations. Restoring storage capacity and making it
earthquake-safe is critically important, which is why I
introduced AB 692. The dam was originally constructed in 1895
to store water transported via a wooden flume from the San Luis
Rey River to Escondido. One of the first rock-fill dams in
California, Lake Wohlford Dam was 76 feet high and had a
storage capacity of about 3500 acre-feet.
-Written by Assemblymember Marie Waldron,
Utah House Bill 297 is a dangerous spending bill that provides
its benefactors with exemptions to conflict-of-interest laws
that raises serious moral questions about what is happening at
the Utah Legislature. The bill creates another heavily-funded
and secretive government agency — the Colorado River Authority
— that would receive an initial $9 million, plus $600,000 per
year thereafter, in addition to collecting unknown sums of
money from other agencies. -Written by Claire Geddes, a consumer advocate and former
director of Utah Legislative Watch.
New legislation would ban all fracking in California by 2027,
taking aim at the powerful oil and gas industry in a state
already planning to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars
by 2035. … Environmental groups say [fracking] can cause
significant harm to air quality and water supplies.
Emily Rooney, president of the Agricultural Council of
California, is a member of the advisory group for California’s
Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER)
drinking water program. She spoke with Agri-Pulse about an
unexpected coalition that helped bring about the 2019 law and
why the issue is important to agriculture.
Tools such a SWIIM–which stands for Sustainable Water and
Innovative Irrigation Management–provides a new standard in
water measurement that allows growers to receive an accurate
accounting of the water both delivered and consumed by their
orchards. … And, of course we are talking about SGMA, the
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
On December 17, 2020, the Sacramento County Superior Court
issued a ruling limiting the ability of the California State
Water Resources Control Board (“State Board”) to implement its
adopted statewide wetlands and Waters of the State (“WOTS”)
Six states with drinking water standards for so-called “forever
chemicals” are now wrestling with what those limits mean when
water contamination from Department of Defense sites seep into
their communities. Members of Congress from both parties are
starting to vent their frustration at military foot-dragging
even as the states take different paths to address the
With Democratic New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland poised to become
the first Native American Interior secretary, tribal
governments historically marginalized by the agency expect not
only a greater respect for their autonomy, but also a more
significant role in the nation’s land and water management
Shortly after taking office two years ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom
promised to deliver a massive compromise deal on the water
rushing through California’s major rivers and the
critically-important Delta — and bring lasting peace to the
incessant water war between farmers, cities, anglers and
environmentalists. … [C]oming to an agreement as promised
will require Newsom’s most artful negotiating skills. He’ll
have to get past decades of fighting and maneuvering, at the
same time California is continuing to recover from the worst
wildfire season in modern state history and a pandemic that has
since killed more than 42,000 state residents.
Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister), Senate Majority
Leader Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and California Coastkeeper
Alliance introduced the California Clean Water Act, Assembly
Bill 377, legislation that will put California back on track to
eliminate impaired waterways and make all waters statewide
suitable for conversion to drinking water, swimming, and
fishing by 2050.
In a flurry of first-week executive orders, President Biden
sent a definitive message that his administration would move
faster on climate change than any before. Now, the question is
whether it will be fast enough. Scientists warn that the
coming decade will be critical for slowing heat-trapping
emissions, potentially keeping average annual global
temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius compared
to the mid-19th century. Right now, the world is on track
for an increase of 3 degrees Celsius, a level
that ensures more destructive wildfires and hurricanes,
devastation for coral reefs and rising seas flooding the
U.S. Representative David G. Valadao introduced the
Responsible, No-Cost Extension of Western Water Infrastructure
Improvements, or RENEW WIIN, Act, a no-cost, clean extension of
operations and storage provisions of the WIIN Act (P.L.
The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA)
announces the release of its final Human Right to Water
Framework and Data Tool (CalHRTW 1.0)—comprised of an
interactive web tool and report, Achieving the Human Right to
Water in California: An Assessment of the State’s Community
Water Systems. In developing the Human Right to Water Framework
and Data Tool, California becomes the first state in the
country to develop a tool for measuring the progressive
realization of the human right to water.
Across a sprawling corner of southern Tulare County snug
against the Sierra Nevada, a bounty of navel oranges, grapes,
pistachios, hay and other crops sprout from the loam and clay
of the San Joaquin Valley. Groundwater helps keep these
orchards, vineyards and fields vibrant and supports a
multibillion-dollar agricultural economy across the valley. But
that bounty has come at a price. Overpumping of groundwater has
depleted aquifers, dried up household wells and degraded
ecosystems. The land is literally sinking…
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.
Wildfires and smoke have ravaged large parts of California, sea
level rise is threatening the golden coast’s viability and
drought is looming in the future. … But for the first
time in four years action on climate change is gaining momentum
on the federal level — President Joe Biden signed multiple
executive orders related to the crisis in his first week in
office. Meanwhile California has held ground on climate
policies as the Trump Administration rolled back environmental
rules and regulations.
U.S. Reps. Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, and Juan Vargas,
D-San Diego reintroduced a bill this week that is aimed at
cleaning up the New River, a highly polluted waterway
originating near Mexicali, Mexico that flows
north, emptying into the Salton Sea. The bill, HR491,
would direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to create
an organization to be called the California New River
Restoration Program, which would coordinate funding and cleanup
Pascua Yaqui Council members called it “a blessing” Tuesday.
They were talking about $900,000 in federal funds that will be
used to bring water to the tribe’s lands for irrigation, the
first fruits of a successful effort last year by members of the
state’s congressional delegation to win $150 million in federal
funding for water projects around the state. … The money
comes from an Army Corps of Engineers fund dedicated to water
infrastructure projects in Arizona. Under the bill, local
governments can enter into agreements with the corps for water,
wastewater treatment, environmental restoration and other
We talk about microplastics in the ocean and on land fairly
often, but they are present in drinking water as well. The
California Legislature passed a bill in 2018 requiring
monitoring of the tiny plastic particles in drinking water.
Standards are due to be set up by the state Water Resources
Control Board this year. Scott Coffin, a researcher with the
agency, visits with an overview of the issues with
microplastics, and how the monitoring effort is coming along.
On Jan. 15, State Assemblymembers Robert Rivas and Rudy Salas
introduced Assembly Bill 252, which if approved would help
alleviate the impacts of the Sustainable Groundwater Management
Act (SGMA) on farmers and ensure that farmland taken out of
production due to SGMA is reused to provide conservation,
recreation, or other benefits to local communities.
Vicky Espinoza is on a mission. Vicky is passionate about
making sure rural, low-income communities and small-scale
farmers have a say in land-use and water-management decisions
in the San Joaquin Valley.
The $227 billion budget proposed on Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom
includes $4.1 billion in spending on a suite of environmental
initiatives meant to fight climate change, gird California
against devastating wildfires, reduce smog, and bolster the
adoption of clean vehicles on the state’s roads.
With so much going on in the world right now, why should water
be a priority for the Biden administration? The fact is that
water challenges in the U.S. are severe and worsening. In
November, we hosted a webinar on our recommendations for the
next administration, taking audience questions on topics
ranging from the nation’s outdated infrastructure to the threat
to national security from rising international conflict over
water. Read on for our answers to some of these questions.
Cooperation between California and the federal government was
at a low ebb over the past four years. With a new
administration in the nation’s capital, what should be top
water priorities for collaboration between the state and the
federal government? The PPIC Water Policy Center recently
discussed this issue with a diverse group of experts.
Members of California water and agricultural communities have
been applauding a number of provisions related to water
infrastructure within the omnibus funding
bill President Trump recently signed into law. More than
$200 million in the bill will go to repairing parts of the
Friant-Kern Canal. Friant Water Authority CEO Jason Phillips
attributed the provision to the work of several California
lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy,
Republican Rep. Devin Nunes and Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Phillips said the funding allows the water agency to begin
construction early this year.
Under Proposition One, passed by the voters in 2014, the Delta
Conservancy was allocated $50 million for ecosystem restoration
in the Delta. Currently, the Conservancy has awarded
funding to 29 projects for about $39 million of that $50
million with a potential ecological benefit on up to 8,000
acres as a result.
Now that the calendar has flipped to January 2021, it’s time to
say goodbye to the mess of the past year, yes? … The
pandemic’s economic dislocation continues to reverberate among
those who lost work. Severe weather boosted by a warming
climate is leaving its mark in the watersheds of the Southwest
[including the Colorado River]. And President-elect Biden will
take office looking to undo much of his predecessor’s legacy of
environmental deregulation while also writing his own narrative
on issues of climate, infrastructure, and social
justice….Litigation over toxic PFAS compounds found in
rivers, lakes, and groundwater is already active. Lawsuits are
likely to continue at a brisk pace…
President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act,
2021 on December 27, 2020. The Appropriations Act is a
true omnibus. It covers an array of topics, including
provisions important to California specifically, such as the
federal share of activities related to the CALFED Bay-Delta
The Sites Reservoir was awarded $13.7 million in the 2021
federal spending bill. The 2021 federal spending bill …
included $1.4 trillion to fund government agencies and a $900
billion pandemic relief package. Sites Reservoir is proposed
for construction in remote ranch lands in Colusa County, about
70 miles north of Sacramento. It was originally given a $5.1
billion price tag, but the Sites Project Authority reduced it
to $3 billion in May.
The Friant Water Authority cleaned up some of the most
important work in the last month of the year hashing out a
legal settlement with farmers in southern Tulare County.
Represented by the Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability
Agency (GSA) farmers agreed to contribute at least $125 million
to repair the significant subsidence-caused sag in the
gravity-fed canal that has cut water deliveries by 60%.
The roughly $900 billion stimulus package meant to
tackle both COVID-19 relief as well as federal spending
includes provisions that hold the potential to unlock millions
of dollars of new federal spending to address the Salton Sea.
The bill notably modifies the Water Resources Development
Act by authorizing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite
a study on the feasibility of constructing a perimeter lake
around the Salton Sea.
Water—it’s an issue that can be all-consuming for a lawyer, and
for much of Alf W. Brandt’s career it seemed that way. Some
geo-pundits believe the next major war will be fought over
water, not oil. At the very least, its use or misuse can divide
even the most civil community. Which shouldn’t be the case,
Brandt emphasizes while taking on a philosopher’s tone during
an autumn interview with Vanguard.
The Salton Sea’s shoreline is receding, exposing a dusty
lakebed known as the “playa.”…The problem isn’t new. Yet
California, though largely responsible for fixing it, has
barely touched the more than 25 square miles of exposed
playa. It’s been almost two decades since an agreement was
signed in 2003, committing the Imperial Irrigation District,
the Colorado River’s largest user, to conserve water that once
flowed from farms into the lake and send it to other districts.
Knowing the lake would recede, the state committed to
mitigating the health and environmental impacts.
A group of agriculture, timber and environmental organizations
is asking the state to commit to spending up to $1.5 billion on
wildfire prevention programs in the next year. Representatives
from those groups said Wednesday that bureaucratic red tape and
funding issues have held up needed fire prevention projects to
prevent the types of deadly wildfires California has endured
the past five years.
At the beginning of 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom
announced some framework for voluntary agreements on
pumping water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. In
February, the Trump administration signed their
own water legislation for California that relaxed
biological opinions providing additional water to flow through
the Delta. California promptly sued the administration’s
actions under the direction of Newsom which put a halt to
the federal decision and paused the voluntary agreements
momentum. Does all of that change now that a Democratic party
is transitioning into leadership?
Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, said he was removed from the
chairmanship of the Governmental Organization Committee over
the No. 1 issue in his district — water. The Merced Democrat
lost a previous committee assignment because of his opposition
to State Water Board proposals to take flows away from
agriculture and other water users on the Tuolumne, Stanislaus
and Merced rivers.
The latest update to a video series detailing the impacts of
the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) has recently
been released. The bilingual SGMA video series is available on
the YouTube channel CaliWaterAg. The latest installment,
Part 1.4, addresses land repurposing related to SGMA.
Working with Rep. Jerry McNerney, Rep. John Garamendi
expedited completion of the Army Corps feasibility study for
the San Francisco Bay to Stockton Navigation Improvement
Project. This feasibility study examines deepening the John F.
Baldwin and Stockton Deepwater Ship Channels from their
existing depths of -35 feet mean lower low water to -40 feet
and beneficially reusing dredged sediment for marsh restoration
of subsided islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The Colorado River Indian Tribes are proposing federal
legislation that would allow CRIT to lease a portion of its
first priority Colorado River water rights in Arizona to
outside interests within the state. The Tribe says the
legislation would help drought relief efforts in Arizona while
presenting economic opportunities for tribal members.
Shortly after the networks called the 2020 presidential race
for Joe Biden, a list of four priorities appeared on the
president-elect’s transition website. Certain observers noticed
a common thread — an undercurrent, if you will — that knitted
these priorities together: water. Water, which washes hands
during the pandemic. Water, which is needed for factories to
produce goods, farms to grow crops, and cities to reboot.
Water, which has sometimes been denied to communities of color
or delivered in polluted form. And water, which is how a
warming planet will wreak much of its havoc.
In a letter to President-elect Joe Biden last week, the
American Water Works Association urged the incoming
administration to prioritize COVID-19 relief for water
utilities and investment for the overall water infrastructure
HR 8775, the Salton Sea Public Health and Environmental
Protection Act, would create an interagency working group
called the Salton Sea Management Council to coordinate projects
around the lake’s receding shoreline.
The COVID-19 pandemic and related economic turbulence forced
the state legislature and Governor Newsom to make tough
decisions this year about which issues to prioritize and which
to sideline. … Despite the challenging circumstances, several
high-priority bills covering safe drinking water and wildfire
risk reduction were enacted.
The Fresno lawmaker, who easily won a ninth term, put his hat
in the ring Thursday after the defeat of long-time chairman
Collin Peterson, D-Minn. The House is expected to remain under
President Trump’s signature on a bill expanding the fight
against a large, vexatious rodent called the nutria is an
instructive victory for a newly reelected Democrat from a swing
district in California’s San Joaquin Valley.
Klamath Basin irrigators in Oregon and California will be able
to access up to $10 million in federal emergency drought relief
funds under a bill supported by U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR)
that became law on Oct. 30 with the president’s signature.
The Protecting America’s Wilderness Act (H.R. 2546) would
protect and restore over one million acres of public lands and
well over 500 miles of rivers throughout the state, including
in Northwest California’s wild lands and along the Central
The pesky 3-foot-long, buck-toothed nutria is getting the
better of California. The large rodent is chewing up rivers and
wetlands and threatening to mow down farmland and
infrastructure, and the state is struggling to contain
it. Relief may be on the way.
The desire for crystal clean water is one that the president
repeats frequently, even dating to his 2016 presidential
campaign. Immaculate water, he has also said. Clear water.
Beautiful water. But the focus on appearances is superficial,
according to a number of water advocates and analysts.
Revisions to environmental rules that the administration has
pursued during the first term of the Trump presidency will be
detrimental to the nation’s waters, they said.
As Congress debates recovery strategies and stimulus efforts,
water should be a bigger part of the conversation. Water can
serve as a lever to achieve greater economic equity and access,
environmental resilience, and technological innovation, among
other benefits. Now is the time for Washington to elevate water
as a core issue to drive a lasting recovery.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 974 to streamline the
permitting process for low-income communities to deliver clean
drinking water for residents. The law … offers low-income
communities relief for the expensive and exhaustive permit
process for small, disadvantaged community water systems with
water contaminants beyond the state standard or failing wells.
House Natural Resources Committee ranking member Rob Bishop
wants the House to fast-track legislation that would pave the
way for hundreds of millions of dollars for water and
sanitation development across Indian Country.
Congress has given final approval to a bill that would take on
nutria, a giant rodent threatening waterways in the Central
Valley and beyond. … The measure, HR 3399, would provide $12
million to California and several other affected states for
nutria control, research and related efforts.
House lawmakers passed the bill Oct. 1, allowing irrigators to
access up to $10 million for emergency drought relief in the
basin straddling Southern Oregon and Northern California. The
bill passed the Senate in July, and now heads to President
Trump to be signed into law.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would have
provided funding to fix the ever-sinking Friant-Kern
Canal. SB 559 would have required the Department of Water
Resources to report to the legislature by March 31, 2021, on
federal funding for the Friant Water Authority or any other
government agency to restore the capacity of the Friant-Kern
Canal. The bill would also have required DWR to include a
proposal for the state to pay up to 35 percent of the cost of
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday added his signature to a new law
that orders the formation of a commission to study the
feasibility of lithium extraction around the Salton Sea. Local
politicians hope the commission will lead to the creation of a
green economy around the state’s largest lake, which is a
geothermal hotspot. It was one of several bills focused on
California’s environment that Newsom dealt with this week.
Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) secured Gov. Gavin Newsom’s
signature on legislation that will speed the permit process for
low-income Central Valley communities to deliver clean drinking
water for residents. Senate Bill 974 exempts new water projects
that serve small, rural communities from some provisions of the
California Environmental Quality Act…
This bipartisan legislation (H.R.8217) would amend the Water
Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) of 2014 to
make public water projects like the off-stream Sites Reservoir
Project eligible for low-interest, longer-term federal loans
from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Rep. T.J. Cox, a Democrat who represents a portion of
Southwestern Tulare County, introduced the Western Water
Storage Infrastructure Act, an $800 million bill addressing
surface and groundwater storage and water delivery. … The
bill is designed to essentially replace funding authorized by
the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation, WIIN,
Act, which has been exhausted.
A bill that would have provided funding for the Friant-Kern
Canal was abandoned by the California State Legislature on
Sunday. It’s route to abandonment is a short, but confusing one
centering on California’s wildfires
The California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction
Act ..would significantly reduce waste from single-use plastics
and plastic packaging. Manufacturers would be required to make
their packaging and certain products increasingly reusable,
recyclable or compostable by 2032.
The measure, put forward by state Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa
Monica), requires municipal fire departments, chemical plants
and oil refineries to gradually stop using the foam, replacing
it with alternatives that don’t contain perfluoroalkyl and
polyfluoroalkyl substances, a class of chemicals commonly known
as PFAS…. a significant amount of drinking-water
contamination comes from their use in firefighting foam…
As if a global pandemic was not enough, the tumultuous
legislative session comes to a close as much of the state is on
fire. Understandably, lawmakers had already significantly pared
down their legislative packages to focus on a response to
COVID-19. And, then last week many important bills on
environmental justice and natural resources stalled.
A new Water Resources Development Act, or WRDA, has made
headway in Congress, most recently with House passage of a bill
authorizing about $9 billion for Army Corps of Engineers flood
and storm protection, environmental restoration and other
projects. But with time running short before Congress breaks
for the Nov. 3 elections, industry sources say water
infrastructure legislation may be put off until an expected
lame duck session.
On Thursday, the California State Senate Appropriations
Committee defeated a bill that would reduce the amount of lead
leached from faucets and fixtures to no more than 1 microgram
of lead – five times less lead than faucets are designed to
In 2018, two laws were passed to aid California in making water
conservation a way of life: SB 606 and AB 1668. These two laws
highlight water efficiency and conservation and are meant to
outline certain roles and actions to be carried out by the
California Department of Water Resources, the State Water
Resource Control Board and water suppliers.
Water is the lifeblood of our region and there are immense
challenges to providing and maintaining a reliable and
resilient water supply for both farms and communities in the
Central Valley. As your congressional representatives, we’ve
been working together to bring resources back home to address
our collective needs.
A correct analysis of the state’s water supply is always
important, but especially during drought years. A new bill
introduced by Rep. Josh Harder and Sen. Dianne Feinstein on
Friday hopes to improve the state’s water management by
establishing an airborne snowpack observation program.
Supporters of an initiative to reduce plastic waste today
submitted more than 870,000 voter signatures to qualify the
Plastics Free California initiative for the ballot –
significantly more than the 623,212 signatures required.
Funding for much needed repairs at least in the short-term for
the Friant-Kern Canal continues to move closer to becoming
reality. The House of Representatives last week passed H.R.
7617… Included in that minibus is $71 million for repairs to
the Friant-Kern Canal during the next fiscal year.
The Emergency Assistance for Rural Water Systems Act allows
USDA Rural Development to provide affordable and sustainable
financial options for rural utilities impacted by COVID-19.
Assistance includes grants, zero percent loans, one percent
loans, principal and interest reduction, loan modifications and
direct operational assistance…
The act, which allocates $900 million a year to the Land and
Water Conservation Fund and provides up to $9.5 billion over
five years to begin clearing up a maintenance backlog at
national parks, was approved on a 310-to-107 vote in the House.
It was introduced last year by Representative John Lewis, the
Georgia Democrat and civil rights leader who passed away last
The state is peppered with failing small water systems, many
serving low-income communities without the resources to repair
them. … That’s where the new Safe and Affordable Funding for
Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program comes in.
Saving our planet will require unprecedented focus and
investment from every sector of our society and all levels of
government — especially the federal government. Yet when it
comes to the San Francisco Bay — a national treasure and the
lifeblood of our region, producing over $370 billion in goods
and services annually and supporting more than 4 million jobs —
the federal government has been complicit in its deterioration.
Four years after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers upgraded the
flood risk for the Whittier Narrows Dam from high urgency to
very high urgency, the U,S. House of Representatives on Friday
approved a budget package that included nearly $385 million to
fix the dam.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senator John Kennedy
(R-La.) to introduce legislation to amend the Nutria
Eradication and Control Act. The legislation would authorize an
additional $6 million a year to increase assistance for states
that implement initiatives to eradicate the invasive species.
The Environmental Justice for All Act would amend the Civil
Rights Act to … require federal agencies to consider health
effects that might compound over time when making permitting
decisions under the federal Clean Air and Clean Water acts.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced the Border
Water Quality Restoration and Protection Act, a bill to reduce
pollution along the U.S.-Mexico border and improve the water
quality of the Tijuana and New rivers.
Legislation authorizing the Army Corps of Engineers to boost
the nation’s water infrastructure, protect waterways from
emerging contaminants, and bolster coastal shorelines sailed
through the House Wednesday. On a voice vote, the House used a
procedure reserved for mostly non-controversial legislation to
pass the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act of 2020…
The House on Friday passed a minibus (H.R. 7608) that includes
$17 million overall for environmental justice programs at the
Environmental Protection Agency. That’s a significant boost
from the $9.55 million provided in the fiscal 2020 enacted
budget for environmental justice activities.
Congress passed perhaps one of the largest conservation bills
in the past 75 years last week. The Great American Outdoors
Act, if signed into law, would help prop up national parks and
repair deteriorating infrastructure.
Feinstein’s Restoration of Essential Conveyance Act would
authorize $800 million in federal funding to repair critical
canals in the San Joaquin Valley damaged by land sinking from
overpumping of groundwater, known as subsidence, and for
In 2003, Congress passed The Nutria Eradication and Control
Act, which established a fund to help Maryland and Louisiana
battle the animals. Recently, the House of Representatives
passed bipartisan legislation that now allows California to
also receive support. The bill now heads to the Senate.
If Assembly Bill AB 3030 becomes law, it would create a state
goal to keep at least 30% of California’s land and waterways
free from development and other human impacts, such as
overfishing and climate change, by the year 2030. It would also
help protect 30% of the nation’s oceans by that same year.
Central Valley neighborhoods are a step closer to new money to
fix broken water systems and access clean, safe drinking water
— if the White House and Congress agree on an infrastructure
package currently moving through the U.S. House of
House Democrats added several amendments aiming to regulate a
class of cancer-linked chemicals called PFAS to a defense
spending bill Monday. The additions followed the failure of the
chamber to add a broader amendment that would tackle the
The legislation, H.R. 1957, would provide the Land and Water
Conservation Fund with $900 million annually — the first time
the program has ever been guaranteed full, yearly funding since
its creation in 1964. It also would establish a trust fund to
start winding down some of a $20 billion backlog of deferred
maintenance projects at national parks and on public lands.
The House EPA bill for FY21 is in most respects a uniquely
strong package for water, aiming to address the nation’s clean
water investment need. … One alarming issue, however, is that
the House bill provides no new direct appropriations for the
Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.
“I secured provisions in this bill to authorize and expedite
construction of flood protection and aquatic ecosystem
restoration projects, address harmful algal blooms in the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and give local agencies greater
flexibility in using federal Army Corps funds to meet local
On July 6, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency
that oversees the canal, finalized a feasibility report for
Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project.
Under section 4007 of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for
the Nation Act, the bureau’s report means up to 50% of the
total project costs can be requested from the U.S. Department
of the Interior and subsequently appropriated by Congress for
The Anderson Reservoir in Morgan Hill held back by a 240-foot
dam built in 1950 could be rebuilt following the State
Assembly’s passage of AB 3005 in June. … The project would
cost about $576 million but still needs to pass through the
A multibillion-dollar measure that would help build, repair,
and maintain a wide variety of water infrastructure projects
sailed through the House Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee Wednesday. Approved unanimously by voice vote, the
Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (H.R. 7575) would
authorize the Army Corps of Engineers every two years to carry
out specific projects and feasibility studies.
This legislation will ensure the nation’s water supply is safe
and sustainable. The Water for Tomorrow Act will combine the
water sustainability measures from Sen. Harris’ Water Justice
Act with key measures from the FUTURE Drought Resiliency Act,
led in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jared Huffman
Nearly 300 national, state and local organizations sent a
letter to Senate leaders Monday calling for the rejection of a
controversial bill that would coerce struggling communities
into selling off vital public water resources.
Reps. Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA-32) and Linda T. Sánchez
(D-CA-38) announced that the FY2021 Energy and Water
Appropriations bill is providing $384,900,000 as part of the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Dam Safety and Seepage Program.
U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris is introducing the Water for
Tomorrow Act, which combines the water sustainability measures
from her Water Justice Act with key measures from the FUTURE
Drought Resiliency Act that were included in H.R. 2, the Moving
Forward Act. The Water for Tomorrow Act will make a nearly $3
South San Joaquin Valley farmers have a reason to celebrate
this week: Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives
appropriated $200 million to fix the Friant-Kern Canal. The
bill also includes funding to repair the Delta-Mendota Canal
and for two Northern California reservoirs.
Rollbacks of the Clean Water Act and the executive order to
suspend the National Environmental Policy Act are meant to save
costs and cut red tape. However, Jeremy Schewe, professional
wetland scientist, explains these efforts will ultimately lead
to far greater expense to business, society, and the planet,
especially when combined with the House proposed infrastructure
California Rep. Josh Harder needed a way to convince the U.S.
House of Representatives to pay attention to his speech about
invasive species during a meeting in February. So he brought in
a hefty rat carcass and laid it on the table next to him. The
taxidermied rat … convinced the House to unanimously
pass a bill that supports eradication efforts in states
infested with nutria, large rodents also known as swamp rats
that are native to South America.
More federal funds may be flowing to fix the Friant-Kern Canal.
On June 22, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) sent a
letter to Congress requesting $134 million for water storage
projects be funded through the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. More
than half of the funding, $71 million, was requested for
preconstruction and construction of the Friant-Kern Canal
Capacity Correction project.
The House passed a massive $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill
that would help the nation rebuild its crumbling roads and
bridges, combat climate change, and promote clean energy and
clean drinking water.
Get ready… here comes the true California water cycle: It
begins with headlines and quotes warning of pending disaster
based on what could, might, maybe, or possibly happen over the
state’s water infrastructure.
The $202 billion budget signed by Governor Gavin Newsom Monday
evening includes the $7.3 million promised to the Paradise
Irrigation District to help sustain it following the
devastating Camp Fire. The funding is considered critical to
providing clean water to residents for rebuilding efforts. The
money was not included in the Governor’s May revise budget
proposal but was included in the final spending
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signed into law key provisions of a
new state budget, a spending plan that seeks to erase a
historic deficit while preserving service levels for schools,
healthcare and social services. … Elsewhere, the budget adds
four more years of additional CalFresh benefits for those who
live in communities without reliable access to safe drinking
The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
has approved H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act. The legislative
package would provide $1.5 trillion for the nation’s
infrastructure needs. Included in the bill is funding for
Central Valley water needs and Friant-Kern Canal repairs. The
package is expected to be passed by the U.S. House of
Representatives next week.
In California, especially in agriculture, water is often
portrayed as an instigator of division. But this ignores an
important lesson that COVID-19 has made even clearer — none of
us are as healthy or resilient as we could be until everyone
has safe and affordable water.
The coalition sent a second letter this week to California’s
congressional delegation urging support for provisions in the
HEROES Act, the relief bill now under consideration, that would
help ensure consumers have access to clean water as massive
unemployment has led to a spike in water bill delinquencies.
The Department of Interior has requested $71 million be spent
on improvements for the Friant-Kern Canal for the 2021 fiscal
year. The funding for the Friant-Kern Canal accounts for most
of the $108.7 of funding for water storage projects in
California the Department of Interior is requesting. Congress
will now consider approving the funding in the 2021 fiscal year
energy and water appropriations bill.
Earlier this week, a broad coalition of water agencies
delivered a letter to Congress advocating for more funding. The
letter, submitted Monday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other California
Congressional delegates, argues that billions of federal
dollars are still needed for water infrastructure maintenance
and assistance with water bills.
House Democrats attached a provision to the bill that would
look to introduce additional dam and hydropower safety
inspections and analysis to the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission permitting process. … House Democrats included
various provisions that would boost drinking water protections
and infrastructure, harden water systems against the threat of
climate change, and provide a financial lifeline for tribal
water and wastewater systems.
House Democrats’ new economic rescue plan includes $1.5 billion
to help low-income households cover their water bills and a
moratorium on utility service shutoffs for any entity receiving
federal relief funds, but they omitted any measures to address
climate change or boost clean energy that had been sought by
In a rare display of bipartisanship, the U.S. Senate has passed
a sweeping public lands package that both addresses the
ballooning maintenance backlog at national parks and provides
full, permanent funding for the popular Land and Water
Conservation Fund, a program established in 1964 to protect
natural areas and water resources.
On Monday, June 15, POLITICO held a virtual deep-dive panel
discussion on the policies and legislation needed at the state,
regional and federal levels to meet the water needs of Western
states and secure long-term solutions at a time when the
attention and resources of local and state leaders are consumed
by the pandemic crisis.
The California legislature voted Monday to keep the Salton Sea
in its budget proposal sent to Governor Gavin Newsom.
Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia said he’s pleased the legislature
found a way to allocate some funding for the Salton Sea despite
the fiscal challenges created by the pandemic.
In an effort to move forward a $576 million Anderson Dam
Seismic Retrofit Project, the California State Assembly passed
AB 3005 on June 8, the Expedited Dam Safety for Silicon Valley
Act, facilitating the construction of the project. Assemblyman
Robert Rivas (D-Hollister, Calif.), who wrote the bill, says
the overwhelming vote of bipartisan support shows the
importance in fixing the dam.
PFAS chemicals have invaded the nation’s water supply, thanks
mostly to discharges from manufacturers and the use of
firefighting foam by the military. Utilities are concerned
about being stuck with major expenses if the compounds are
declared “hazardous” under the federal Superfund law. They have
also resisted efforts in Congress to push what they see as
overly broad enforcement limits on PFAS in drinking water.
New legislation was recently introduced that will address
several issues facing San Joaquin Valley canals. The
Restoration of Essential Conveyance Act was introduced by
Senator Dianne Feinstein as a means for repairing water
conveyance damaged by subsidence.
House Democrats will focus this summer on passing essential
legislation, including the Water Resources Development Act, a
highway reauthorization bill, and appropriations measures,
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday. … In early
May, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee advanced
two major water infrastructure bills (S. 3591 and (S. 3590)
that are awaiting floor action.
Last week a diverse coalition of 59 broad-based organizations,
which collectively represents both California front-line
communities as well as more than 450 California water agencies
… urged the California congressional delegation to include
funding for urgent water infrastructure and water affordability
needs as part of the next federal stimulus package titled the
Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions
(HEROES) Act …
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took the next step to
implement an important per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances
(PFAS) requirement of the National Defense Authorization Act
(NDAA). The NDAA added 172 PFAS to the list of chemicals
required to be reported to the Toxics Release Inventory and
established a 100-pound reporting threshold for these
My colleagues and I worked with Assemblymember Rudy Salas
(D-Bakersfield), to craft AB 2642, which will create the
Multibenefit Land Conversion Incentive Program… This new
program will provide incentive payments to farmers and
landowners who voluntarily repurpose their agricultural land to
other less water-intensive uses for a minimum of 10 years.
The Senate’s environment panel pushed through two major water
infrastructure bills Wednesday, rejecting a GOP member’s
attempt to give Western states more authority over water
supplies but agreeing to direct the EPA to set drinking water
limits for “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.
The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works gathered
the last few comments on Friday on its plans to move two
mammoth water infrastructure packages this year. … At the
same time, the House Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee is gearing up to introduce its own big water bill,
which should come by month’s end and be marked up over the
summer, according to a committee aide.
The State Water Resources Control Board has executed an
agreement to provide approximately $5 million in grant funds
for testing and remediation of lead in drinking water at
licensed Child Care Centers in California.
A group of more than 80 members of Congress is pushing for the
inclusion of provisions to regulate a class of cancer-linked
chemicals in future stimulus legislation dealing with
infrastructure. The chemicals, known as PFAS, are also
sometimes called “forever chemicals” because of their
persistence in both the environment and the human body.
Under the drought contingency plan hammered out by Colorado
River Basin states last year, Arizona agreed to voluntarily
reduce its water use by 192,000 acre-feet, or about 7%, leaving
that water in Lake Mead to help reduce the likelihood of
greater cutbacks down the road. Tom Buschatzke, director of the
Arizona Department of Water Resources, says data from a new
Bureau of Reclamation report show that plan is working.
Legislation introduced in the House on Friday would offer
states and tribes $1.5 billion to aid low-income households
with their water bills. There is a catch. To receive aid,
states and tribes must agree not to turn off water to homes
during the coronavirus public health emergency. They must also
agree to reconnect water service to homes in which water was
previously turned off.
Republican and Democratic congressional leaders were urged
Tuesday to include at least $12.5 billion in stimulus funds to
help people struggling to pay their water and sewer bills.
Congress is preparing another stimulus package that will
include billions of dollars to improve the nation’s aging water
and sewer infrastructure.
Gathering signatures for two proposed Napa County ballot
measures – one on rural, commercial cannabis cultivation, the
other on watershed protections – is a daunting task amid
COVID-19 shutdown orders. Californians are to shelter-at-home
except when engaged in “essential” tasks such as buying food.
Yet each measure needs more than 7,000 signatures from
registered voters by May 8 to qualify for the Nov. 3 ballot.
California’s homeless crisis is one of the state’s top issues,
but the least discussed aspect of this broad problem is the
damage these homeless encampments cause to our levees. …
Large trenches dug into the side of levees impact the integrity
and stability of our protective barriers that are engineered to
keep our homes and community from flooding.
The House Natural Resources Committee voted along party lines
Wednesday to approve bills offered by California Democrats to
reauthorize grant programs to provide reliable water supplies
through reuse and desalination projects. Committee Chairman
Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said he supported the water bills
because Western states have been hit hard by drought conditions
worsened by climate change.
One day after President Trump tweeted his support, Senate
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is expected to take
steps today to bring to the floor legislation that would
permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and
address the national parks maintenance backlog, senators said.
… Trump’s tweet was an election-year about-face from his
latest budget proposal, which recommended virtually eliminating
the popular, bipartisan program.
On Thursday, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation delivered its own
salvo to the Newsom administration – it was pushing forward
pre-construction work on raising Shasta Dam. … A push to
raise the dam was made possible by the same law that delivered
new biological opinions – the Water Infrastructure Improvements
for the Nation (WIIN) Act, approved in the waning days of the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew
Wheeler appeared before lawmakers Thursday to defend a budget
that would bring the agency to its lowest funding level in
years. As with previous Trump administration budgets, lawmakers
are expected to ignore the proposed 26 percent cut to the
agency, one of the steepest in the budget.
Two bills that would make it easier for state regulators and
county officials to limit well-drilling and groundwater pumping
have died in the Arizona Legislature despite support from
lawmakers and pleas from county officials who are asking for
help to protect their rapidly declining aquifers.
Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA) brought someone special with him to
push his nutria eradication bill on the House floor: a stuffed
giant “swamp rat” he obtained from the USDA nicknamed Nellie.
When Nellie was alive, she lived in Annapolis, Maryland.
San Diego’s long-awaited Pure Water project, a sewage recycling
system that would boost the city’s water independence, is
facing legal challenges that could last longer and cost more
than city officials previously anticipated.
State senators heard impassioned pleas from supporters of
proposed legislation that would make it easier for Arizona
water regulators to limit well-drilling in farming areas where
groundwater levels are falling. But in the end, the bill was
set aside, its future uncertain.
While the Arizona Legislature considers how to respond to
problems of falling groundwater levels in rural areas, the
agriculture industry is pushing back against proposals that
would require owners of large wells across the state to measure
and report how much water they’re pumping.
Both Republicans and Democrats are backing measures in the
Legislature that would enable Arizona to start measuring how
much groundwater is pumped in unregulated rural areas where
aquifers have been rapidly declining.
A bill that could help disadvantaged Central Valley towns
including ones in Tulare County provide safe and affordable
drinking water is facing opposition by Republican critics,
including GOP representatives from California. In December
2019, Rep. TJ Cox (D-Fresno) unveiled a $100 million proposal
to make improvements in small towns suffering from contaminated
Wednesday, the House Natural Resources Committee is scheduled
to vote on a resolution granting Committee Chair Raul Grijalva
(D–Ariz.) wide-ranging subpoena power over the Interior
Department. One inquiry in the hopper: a closer look at the
process that yielded the Trump Administration’s
freshly-released biological opinions governing the
federally-operated Central Valley Project.
Like last year, the White House wants to cut all non-defense
discretionary spending by 5%. Non-nuclear spending at the
Department of Energy would be cut 29%, EPA would be reduced by
27%, the Army Corps of Engineers would drop 22% and the
Interior Department would fall by 13%.
In the waning moments of 2019, San Francisco’s Water Department
persuaded Congress to deny long-promised access to unreachable
areas of Yosemite National Park. This power play would ban
environmentally benign boating on Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. The
move reverses the guarantees of improved access and recreation
which San Francisco made in 1913, when it pleaded with Congress
to pass the Raker Act and allow it to build the reservoir in
Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park.
With the backing of an unusual mix of local Democrats,
Republicans, Border Patrol agents and environmental groups,
House Democrats leveraged their support for the trade bill —
one of Trump’s highest priorities — to secure the
administration’s rare backing for an environmental project.
Each group played a part.
Lawmakers in Arizona have proposed a new bill that would
require toilets, faucets and other plumbing fixtures sold in
the state to work more efficiently in an effort to save water.
… If passed into law, HB 2737 would emulate rules in states
like Texas, Colorado, California, Oregon, and New York state
that all require WaterSense certified fixtures in all new
Congressional leaders unveiled a transformative vision of
moving America and the environment forward by investing in 21st
century infrastructure. The Moving Forward Framework outlines a
five-year plan for bold investment in transportation and water
Democratic congressman from Fresno introduced two pieces of
legislation that aim to repair aging canals and water
infrastructure in California that’s been damaged by sinking
ground levels – called subsidence, caused by groundwater
State Sen. Scott Wiener will unveil legislation today to let
the state of California seize control of the embattled utility
PG&E. Wiener’s bill … would use eminent domain to force
the company’s stockholders to sell their shares to the state of
California, which would then take over operations.
A bill introduced last week by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) helped craft would ban
fracking nationwide by 2025, according to its newly unveiled
text. The legislation would immediately prevent federal
agencies from issuing federal permits for expanded fracking,
new fracking, new pipelines, new natural gas or oil export
terminals and other gas and oil infrastructure.
Assemblyman Rob Bonta is proposing a far-reaching California
Green New Deal to address climate change while prioritizing
historically marginalized groups… The bill would extend the
rights of Californians to include things like access to clean
air and water; justice for institutional – including
environmental – racism; debt-free public education through
college, and affordable health care.
A San Francisco Bay Program Office would be established at the
Environmental Protection Agency to make grants for estuary
conservation and other water-related initiatives under a
modified version of H.R. 1132. The bill would authorize $25
million annually for the office for fiscal 2021 through 2025.
Congress began the process of providing relief to the San
Joaquin Valley when it comes to the Friant-Kern Canal and clean
drinking water in rural communities when a subcommittee held a
hearing on two bills sponsored by T.J. Cox.
Water issues are gaining new prominence in the Democratic
presidential race as candidates react to rising public concerns
about drinking water pollution, failing infrastructure, and the
perceived inability of state and federal governments to fix the
Assemblyman James Gallagher introduced new legislation Monday
that will help expedite construction of the Paradise Irrigation
District intertie project. PID said after the Camp Fire, a
rough estimate of customers lost was around 9,000, nearly its
entire customer base. The District is searching for new revenue
streams to sustain itself …
A company’s proposal to take water from farmland along the
Colorado River and sell it to a growing Phoenix suburb has
provoked a heated debate, and some Arizona legislators are
trying to block the deal with a bill that would prohibit the
Competing plans for “climate resiliency” bonds come from three
sides of state government: the Assembly, the Senate and Gov.
Gavin Newsom. … Resilience projects are aimed not so much at
preventing sea level rise, wildfires, droughts and extreme
heatwaves, but helping people and communities survive.
In a groundbreaking vote, California has allocated nearly $45
million toward boosting highly efficient electric heat pump
technology that can help avoid burning fossil fuels to heat our
water, as well as store California’s abundant pollution-free
solar energy to give us piping-hot showers when the sun isn’t
Palmdale Water District customers will have more protections
before their water service may be shut off for neglecting to
pay their bills on time, following policy changes approved
Monday. The changes reflect the requirements of Senate Bill
998, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2018.
House lawmakers passed a bill Friday for U.S. regulators to
designate chemicals found in cooking spray, cosmetics and other
grease-resistant products as health hazards. Known as
polyfluoroalkyl and perfluorooctanoic substances (PFAS and
PFOS), the chemicals have been found in groundwater sites
across the nation.
The White House announced Tuesday that President Trump would
likely veto legislation designed to manage a class of
cancer-linked chemicals leaching into the water supply. The
chemicals, known by the abbreviation PFAS, are used in a
variety of nonstick products such as raincoats, cookware and
packaging and have been found in nearly every state in the
Citing a lack of action by Congress and the Trump
administration, a group of California Democrats said it’s up to
the state to continue fighting the “existential” threat of
climate change by simultaneously cutting greenhouse gas
emissions and improving the standard of living for low-income
communities and people of color.
A duo of bills, at the state and federal level, will likely
determine the fate of the Friant-Kern Canal in a legislative
year that is shaping up to be pivotal for Central Valley
growers and ag communities.
Lawmakers in the Democratic-dominated state Legislature return
to work Monday for the second year of a two-year session. Their
to-do list includes a $4.2 billion climate bond, an ambitious
proposal to borrow money before they need it to prepare for the
types of natural disasters that have plagued the state.
A bill that would require the EPA to regulate PFAS, an emerging
family of chemicals contaminating U.S. municipal and private
water supplies, is slated to be the first major legislation
that the House will take up in 2020.
Legislation needs to be implemented to lessen pollution. And
all sectors — public and private — need to be educated about
the importance of saving water, as does society more broadly.
High on the list should be efforts to investigate the benefits
and risks of drinking reused water, including ways to make it
more acceptable to consumers.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday called for more federal
money and oversight to shore up the nation’s aging dams
following an Associated Press investigation that found scores
of potentially troubling dams located near homes and
communities across the country.