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 KTAR.com

Gov. Doug Ducey signs historic water protection legislation

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a landmark water protection bill Wednesday to ensure clean water in nearly 800 Arizona streams, lakes and rivers that are critical for everyday use. The legislation will preserve water quality, list protected Arizona waters and develop management practices that will protect the waterways.

Aquafornia news The Pew Charitable Trusts

Blog: More US rivers deserve outstanding designation

In many American communities, rivers irrigate the farms that feed families, quench people’s thirst—rivers are the source of more than two-thirds of the drinking water in the U.S.—sustain wildlife habitat, and provide an economic boost for communities. Yet only a very small portion of those waterways are protected from threats ranging from pollution to damming, which would wreck the water’s natural flow. … California’s Regional Water Quality Control Boards have authority to designate ONRWs but to date have done so for only two bodies of water: Lake Tahoe and Mono Lake. However, the state did initiate an analysis of the Smith River as an ONRW but has not completed the effort. The Smith is a Pacific salmon stronghold.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Some rural California residents doubt they’ll ever get clean water

When Ramona Hernandez turns on her kitchen faucet in El Adobe, an unincorporated town just a few miles southeast of Bakersfield, the water that splashes out looks clean and inviting. But she doesn’t dare drink it. … Drinking the tap water in this tiny community of dusty ranches and unpaved roads could expose Hernandez to arsenic. So, for years, she and her husband, Gerardo, have shuttled twice a week to the nearby town of Lamont to load up on bottled water. At a cost of about $80 a month, it’s enough for drinking and cooking. 

Aquafornia news California Farm Bureau

Blog: President’s message – Water investments would help to assure essential farming jobs

One thing that’s been re-emphasized, time and again, during the pandemic travails of the past 14 months: Farming is essential. During the coming few months, as California struggles through another drought, we’ll learn whether our elected and appointed public officials feel the same way. [A]n overarching, long-term problem needs to be solved to make sure farm employees can not just work safely, but can have jobs, period: water supplies.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno County leaders pass local drought emergency resolution

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed a resolution proclaiming a local drought emergency. The vote on the resolution during Tuesday’s special meeting was unanimous. The resolution comes after Fresno leaders joined officials from three other Central Valley counties on Friday to declare a regional drought emergency and urge Gov. Gavin Newsom to do the same statewide. Fresno County Chairman Steve Brandau said the drought “is a crisis that we are putting upon ourselves.” He said he’s not a water expert, but it has been “painful” for him to watch “as water flows out into the ocean unused for human resources.” 

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Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Congress, water sector signal optimism for major investment

On Thursday the U.S. Senate voted to pass S. 914, the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (DWWIA). It is the first infrastructure bill approved by the Senate this Congress. The bipartisan, comprehensive clean water and drinking water infrastructure legislation will authorize strong annual water infrastructure investment to help boost total federal investment. In full, the legislation authorizes more than $35 billion for drinking water and wastewater resource development projects across the country …

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Bay Area Democrats want to pass climate change laws. Can they deliver?

Now that Democrats have full control of Washington for the first time in a decade, Bay Area lawmakers want to make sure they don’t walk away empty-handed. For many of them, that means seeing green. After several years of historically severe wildfires, heat waves and recurring drought conditions, bills related to climate change are at the top of the agenda for many lawmakers with local ties. Some of the legislative proposals … would address the threats of extreme weather by allocating more money to reduce wildfire risks, strengthen water infrastructure and upgrade the electric grid.

Aquafornia news Ag Net West

State Senate lays out $3.4 billion drought relief package

California Senators have unveiled a $3.4 billion drought relief package to address the hardships created by ongoing dry conditions. The Senate Budget Plan on Drought, Safe Drinking Water, Water Supply Reliability, and Ratepayer Assistance would be the single largest investment to address drought challenges in California. During the Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Subcommittee 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection and Energy hearing, the proposal was passed by a 4-0 vote. The proposal offers a comprehensive approach to drought relief, with funding designated for water supply projects, research, and water-use efficiency projects.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California could get 600,000 acres of new federally protected wilderness

California could get 600,000 new acres of federally protected wilderness under legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate recently. The designation would ensure the lands remain free of development, vehicles and commercial activity. … It would also designate more than 583 miles of river — including 45 miles of San Gabriel River tributaries, as well as Little Rock Creek — as “wild and scenic rivers,” a protection that prohibits dams or new mining.

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Why California is planning to ban fracking

A little more than a week ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that not only would California effectively ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, by 2024, but the state also would work to phase out oil extraction entirely by 2045. … It was — like the governor’s promise last year that the state would ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035 — a sweeping pronouncement meant to show urgency in addressing climate change while the state he leads struggles with many of its most dire effects. But meeting those goals requires complex regulatory maneuvering.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Monday Top of the Scroll: Pandemic lockdown exposes the vulnerability some Californians face keeping up with water bills

As California slowly emerges from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, one remnant left behind by the statewide lockdown offers a sobering reminder of the economic challenges still ahead for millions of the state’s residents and the water agencies that serve them – a mountain of water debt. Water affordability concerns, long an issue in a state where millions of people struggle to make ends meet, jumped into overdrive last year as the pandemic wrenched the economy.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Trump-era water rules should be reversed

On the way out the door, the Trump administration committed many environmental and financial scandals. One can cost low-income water users while lining the pockets of one of California’s largest and most powerful water districts. The focus of one scandal was the failure of the Trump administration to collect required fish and wildlife mitigation costs set out in the Central Valley Project Improvement Act. Passed by Congress in 1992, it established new financing rules.
-Written by Caty Wagner, the Southern California Water Organizer for Sierra Club California, and Brandon Dawson, the acting director of Sierra Club California.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Water bill may open spigot for Biden infrastructure plan

Rarely has a routine water resources bill generated so much political buzz, but as senators hoisted the measure to passage Thursday the bipartisan infrastructure legislation served as a potential template for building consensus around President Joe Biden’s ambitious American Jobs Plan. The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 authorizes about $35 billion over five years to improve leaky pipes and upgrade facilities, and is widely supported by lawmakers and their states back home. This time, though, it could be so much more — a building block in Biden’s broader $2.3 trillion proposal to invest in roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Is Newsom making any difference on fracking?

British journalist James Bartholomew is widely credited with creating the phrase “virtue signaling” to describe positioning oneself on the popular side of an issue without actually doing anything about it. Politicians are particularly prone to uttering words or making token efforts on difficult issues to stave off criticism about their failure to act meaningfully. Gov. Gavin Newsom is California’s champion virtue-signaler as he faces a recall election later this year. … There’s no better example than Newsom’s ever-shifting attitude toward hydraulic fracturing to increase petroleum production.
-Written by Dan Walters

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Central Valley lawmakers push emergency drought declaration

More than a dozen Central Valley lawmakers and elected officials met on Friday to declare a regional drought emergency and urge Gov. Gavin Newsom to do the same statewide. Three state senators and three Assembly members joined the chairs of the boards of supervisors from Fresno, Madera, Tulare and Kings counties in a bipartisan news conference at Harlan Ranch in Clovis to call for action that the group said is necessary to divert a crisis.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

First infrastructure package breezes through Senate

The Senate approved a $35 billion water infrastructure bill after defeating controversial amendments — marking the advancement of the first piece of a larger infrastructure package.

Aquafornia news Senator Bill Dodd

News release: Sen. Dodd’s Water Access & Equity Bills Advance

Legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to help ensure low-income and pandemic-strapped Californians struggling to make water bill payments do not lose access to water service cleared a key committee hurdle today. … Sen. Dodd has proposed two bills to ensure access and affordability. Senate Bill 222 establishes a water assistance fund for low-income rate payers experiencing economic hardship. And SB 223 expands protections and protocols for customers who are faced with having their water shutoff because of an inability to pay their bills. They were approved today by the Senate Environmental Quality committee with overwhelming support.

Aquafornia news Pahrump Valley Times

Legislature approves Southern Nevada non-residential turf removal proposal

The Nevada Assembly voted Thursday to approve a non-residential turf removal proposal brought by Southern Nevada water regulators, who say it will save the water-shy Las Vegas Valley 12 billion gallons of water per year. With little debate from lawmakers, the Assembly voted 30-12 on Assembly Bill 356, sending the proposal to the Senate. Four Republicans — Glen Leavitt, R-Boulder City, Heidi Kasama, R-Las Vegas, Melissa Hardy, R-Henderson, and Jill Tolles, R-Reno — crossed party lines to vote with the 26 Democrats.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Newsom promises while the Delta dies

The West Coast’s most important estuary is dying, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has hastened its demise. As he took office two years ago, Newsom promised to generate voluntary agreements among farmers, environmentalists and government officials on the rules for allocating water that flows through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. … [C]onditions in the delta have grown so dire that in March the National Marine Fisheries Service estimated that high water temperatures could kill 90% of endangered winter-run Chinook salmon in the Sacramento River this year.
-Written by Jacques Leslie.

Aquafornia news KCRA

Federal dollars available for California farmers, ranchers facing drought

Federal dollars are on the table to help farmers and ranchers during the drought. The U.S. Department of Agriculture declared a drought disaster in 50 California counties last month. Advertisement Grants are now available to help with costs associated with the dry conditions. After a winter with little rain and snow, California is dry. … Nicole Montna Van Vleck walked between two rice fields on Wednesday. One was newly planted and covered in water. The other was bone-dry.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Capitol Times

New law gives more money for water projects

Gov. Doug Ducey on April 21 signed a bill that provides larger grants for developing water projects in rural areas, but questions linger on whether there will be any money for them. House Bill 2388, sponsored by Rep. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, expands the amount of a single grant from the Water Supply Development Revolving Fund from $100,000 to $250,000.  The recipient water provider must be located in a county with a population of fewer than 1.5 million people.   While Griffin said the fund isn’t just meant for rural areas, some experts who work with water believe the benefits can greatly help many rural communities. 

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Coastal Commission cosigns federal plan to kill native elk

On Earth Day, the California Coastal Commission conditionally approved a general management plan for a 28,700-acre federally owned park in the San Francisco Bay Area — a plan vehemently opposed by conservationists because it calls for killing native tule elk in an area where thousands of acres of federal land are leased to small dairy and cattle beef farmers. … Last year, an estimated one-third of one the tule elk herds died due to malnutrition, likely exacerbated by drought conditions which decimated the animals’ foraging habitat at Point Reyes. 

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: DWR awards $26 million in grants to support critically overdrafted groundwater basins

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today awarded $26 million in grant funding for capital project investments to improve water supply security, water quality and the reliability of domestic wells – advancing access to safe, affordable drinking water.   This funding provides important assistance for successful local implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which establishes a framework for managing the state’s groundwater resources and will help California be better prepared for longer, more severe droughts.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Newsom orders halt to new fracking in California starting in 2024 – and wants to end all drilling by 2045

Gov. Gavin Newsom directed the state Friday to stop issuing permits for the oil extraction method known as fracking by January 2024 and to draw up plans to end all fossil-fuel drilling in California by 2045 — the most sweeping declaration of its kind in the nation. … Eliminating all extraction would have far-reaching consequences in California, the nation’s seventh-largest producer of crude oil… [Fracking has] long been a controversial method because of what climate activists see as unacceptable dangers, including the possibility that it can contaminate groundwater.

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Aquafornia news CBS News

Demand for water is rapidly increasing as supply dwindles

Limited access to clean water remains a struggle for millions of Americans. And lack of water access is expected to become an even greater problem in the coming years across the U.S. and around the world. … To help boost water supplies in Southern California, water and sanitation officials are working on plans for the largest recycled water project in the nation.

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Aquafornia news Engineering News-Record

Feds rev up push to fix widespread PFAS pollution

The Biden administration and Congress are stepping up efforts to control the release and cleanup of poly and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in drinking water sources and elsewhere, joining states that have expanded scrutiny of the chemicals, which are used widely in manufacturing and are extremely persistent in the environment. EPA’s current “advisory” limit on PFAS in drinking water is 70 parts per trillion, but some states have set or proposed required levels from 6.5 to 20 ppt, including California … 

Aquafornia news Fullerton Observer

Opinion: Why California’s first-in-world plan to monitor microplastics in drinking water matters

Given a growing body of evidence that many chemicals in plastics pose human health risks, Californians should welcome recently-passed legislation putting the state on path to be the first to track microplastics in tap water. Because plastics are highly resistant to biodegradation, instead fragmenting into ever smaller bits, eventually reaching micron and nanometer dimensions (there are 25.4 million nanometers in one inch)—they travel unseen in wind and waterways so that even the most remote regions of the globe, like the Arctic seabed and summit of Mount Everest, are contaminated with microplastics. 
-Written by Sarah Mosko. 

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

White House steps up efforts to address prolonged drought in West

The Biden administration has launched a working group focused on addressing drought conditions in the West as the region continues to suffer from a long period of water scarcity. The group, which will be co-chaired by the departments of the Interior and Agriculture, will work with state, local and tribal governments on community needs in weathering drought, according to a news release from the Interior Department.

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Aquafornia news Grist

California’s water systems are in deep trouble

A new report is highlighting the gaps in California’s water infrastructure — and how much money the state will need to fix it. The report, published by the state’s Water Resources Control Board, found that 620 public water systems and 80,000 domestic wells are at risk of failing to provide affordable and uncontaminated water, a problem that California will need $4.7 billion of extra funding to solve. The report includes the first-ever analysis of the state’s domestic wells — a common water source for rural communities. Threats to these systems are often poorly understood due to lack of good data. 

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Aquafornia news AgNet West

Central Valley canals primed to receive support for failing infrastructure

Concurrent efforts to address the needs of Central Valley canals are moving forward. The Canal Conveyance Capacity Restoration Act aims to restore the capacity of here San Joaquin Valley canals. … More than $653 million in federal funding would be provided to support repairs of the Friant-Kern Canal, the Delta Mendota Canal, and the California Aqueduct….The bill also includes $180 million to help restore salmon runs on the San Joaquin River. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: California law needs to catch up to sea level rise

[A]s massive a challenge as wildfire presents … a different climate crisis could rival it as a destroyer of the California dream: sea level rise. … AB 67 addresses state infrastructure. It would ensure that state agencies incorporate sea level rise estimates in the development of roads, ports, airports, water-treatment, desalination and power plants. In particular, it seeks to advance “natural infrastructure” such as restored estuaries, wetlands, dunes and sea grasses that could generate thousands of new “blue” jobs while reducing the impact of rising water at a lower cost than hardened structures such as seawalls. 
-Written by David Helvarg, an author and founder of Blue Frontier, an ocean conservation group.

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Aquafornia news Morgan Hill Times

Bill allows water district to select ‘best contractor’ for Anderson Dam retrofit

The state assembly on Monday unanimously approved a bill that would assist with the retrofitting of Anderson Dam in Morgan Hill. Assembly Bill 271, which was introduced and authored by Assemblymember Robert Rivas, passed in the assembly April 19 on a vote of 71-0, according to Rivas’ office. The bill now proceeds to the state senate. The legislation builds on Rivas’ previous efforts to expedite the construction of Anderson Dam, which has been deemed seismically unsafe and is currently undergoing a significant retrofit.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Marin to be first big Bay Area water agency to push ahead with water restrictions

As drought conditions worsen across Northern California, the Marin Municipal Water District is about to become the Bay Area’s first major water agency to make the leap to mandatory water restrictions. The utility is expected to adopt a plan Tuesday that would require nearly 200,000 residents of southern and central Marin County to limit outdoor watering to one day a week as well as to stop washing their cars, refilling their swimming pools and power-washing their homes, among other things. Offenders could face fines of up to $250…

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Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Thousand Oaks plans $111 million of infrastructure projects

Thousand Oaks plans to upgrade much of its aging infrastructure over the next two fiscal years, with help from President Joe Biden’s recently enacted American Rescue Plan. … The proposed $111 million budget contains 132 projects, mostly infrastructure improvements. The 10 most expensive projects are, in millions of dollars: $19.9 — Converting an irrigation well at the Los Robles Golf Course to a treated drinking water source for municipal supplies, lessening the city’s reliance on more expensive imported water. 

Aquafornia news The Sierra Nevada Ally

California’s McCloud River one of nation’s most imperiled

Last Tuesday, American Rivers released its annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers list for 2021. Because of a Trump-era proposal to raise Shasta Dam, the group named northern California’s McCloud River as the nation’s 7th most threatened river. Over the past century, California has engineered the structure of water capture and distribution in the state. … During the Trump administration, then Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt advanced plans to increase the height of Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet and to expand Shasta Lake by more than 200 billion gallons. 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Where are the lead pipes? Finding them may prove tough for EPA

Incomplete local record-keeping may stymie EPA efforts to locate the nation’s lead pipes to meet President Joe Biden’s goal of replacing them and improving drinking water quality, authorities say. A better way to reduce lead contamination in the nation’s drinking water, a former Environmental Protection Agency water chief says, is by enforcing an existing rule requiring utilities to replace some of their lead pipes every year. The Biden administration’s infrastructure plan, released March 31, calls for replacing all lead drinking water pipes throughout the U.S. to avoid lead contamination drinking water …

Aquafornia news KRCR

Yurok Tribe: Klamath River salmon stock conditions dire, fishery canceled for 5th year

The Yurok Tribe said it’s sounding the alarm as culturally invaluable salmon edge closer to extinction. The Yurok also said it is canceling its commercial fishery for the fifth time this year. Tribal officials said past water management decisions and climate change have put Klamath river salmon stocks at risk. The tribe said it’s gravely concerned about the rapidly declining salmon stocks in the Klamath River Basin … Tribal officials said [Reclamation's] plan provides bare-minimum flows for imperiled Klamath salmon and sucker fish populations.

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Aquafornia news Daily Republic

Proposed bond legislation clears Assembly Ag Committee

A proposed $3.3 billion bond that proponents argue will “accelerate California’s economic recovery and build a healthier, more equitable and resilient food and farm system,” cleared the Assembly Agriculture Committee …. $75 million is earmarked for groundwater protection, $50 million of which would go to the Department of Conservation for grants to groundwater sustainability agencies, counties and others “for development or implementation of local programs supporting or facilitating reduced use of groundwater and multi-benefit land repurposing at the basin scale.”…The bill would go before voters in the fall of 2022 if it clears the Legislature.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Another bill introduced to fund repairs for Friant-Kern Canal

After years of neglect, numerous measures to make sure much needed and overdue repairs of the Friant-Kern Canal are fully funded continue to be introduced. Congressman Jim Costa and Senator Dianne Feinstein were the latest to introduce legislation on Thursday that would help fund repairs for the Friant-Kern Canal. Along with Congressman Josh Harder they introduced a bill that has bipartisan support, the Canal Conveyance Restoration Act that would provide more than $800 million for repairs to three San Joaquin Valley canals, including the Friant-Kern Canal, along with restoring salmon runs in the San Joaquin River. 

Aquafornia news The Brentwood Press

State and local groundwater sustainability efforts make progress

While high-profile surface-water initiatives like WaterFix and the Delta Conveyance Project grab most of the headlines pertaining to water management in the state, efforts to make significant changes to the way groundwater is utilized have been underway since 2014. Now, the state and the local water agencies are seeking public comment on documents related to the management of groundwater. In 2014, then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed a three-bill legislative package collectively known as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) to better manage groundwater supplies over the long term.  

Aquafornia news University of California

Blog: A path toward clean drinking water for all Californians

California was the first U.S. state to legally recognize access to safe, clean and affordable water as a human right. But substantial parts of the state lack access to drinking water that meets those criteria. A new study published by the California State Water Board and supported by UCLA research identifies a risk for failure among a significant portion of the state’s small and medium-sized public water systems. 

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Friday Top of the Scroll: Costa spearheads $800 million water infrastructure bill to restore key Valley canals

Congressman Jim Costa (D–Fresno) introduced a bill on Thursday that would provide over $800 million in funding to water projects in California. If the Canal Conveyance Capacity Restoration Act is enacted, $653 million in Federal funds will go to restore the capacity of three canals in the Central Valley, and $180 million will be used to restore salmon runs on the San Joaquin River. 

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: If California is America’s climate leader, we’re all in trouble

As the latest evidence of extended drought and extreme wildfire danger confirms, California’s climate is changing quickly. Its policy on burning planet-warming fuels — not so much.  A state Senate bill to ban hydraulic fracturing and otherwise restrict oil and gas extraction died in its first committee Tuesday, with Gov. Gavin Newsom and three Democratic lawmakers withholding support. 

Aquafornia news The Mercury News

‘A scary scenario’: Water bills in San Jose headed for costly, decade-long spike starting this summer

Residents across San Jose can expect to see their water bills increase in the coming months no matter what company they get their water from — a trend that could continue year after year for the next decade. Santa Clara Valley Water District, the region’s wholesale water provider, plans to raise its rates by up to 9.6% each year for the next eight years, followed by an 8.7% jump the following two years. The monthly rate increases would equate to an approximate $4.50 to $5.10 increase per month for customers, according to the water district.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Plan to ban California fracking falls short in Legislature

A far-reaching proposal to outlaw hydraulic fracturing and ban oil and gas wells from operating near homes, schools and healthcare facilities failed in the California Legislature on Tuesday, a major setback for progressive leaders who hail the state as the nation’s bellwether on environmental protection. Gov. Gavin Newsom in September called on state lawmakers to ban fracking and voiced his support for safety buffer zones around wells …

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Newsom inks $536 million wildfire package as drought explodes across California

Drought-riddled California will spend over $500 million in the coming months cutting fuel breaks, lighting prescribed burns and conducting other wildfire prevention tactics under legislation signed by Governor Gavin Newsom. The Democratic governor said the $536 million budget deal is the first of many preventative steps he will authorize with the Golden State careening toward another expected brutal wildfire season.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Colorado

Blog: Colorado launches major new series of stream protections

Advocates, such as the Colorado Water Trust, a nonprofit that spearheaded the new approach, say the tools can be used as templates across other river basins, where older water rights are already spoken for. … Across Colorado nearly 40,000 miles of streams flow year-round and, as a result, have the potential to receive protection under the state’s Instream Flow Program. 

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Last chance to register for next week’s Water 101 workshop

There’s just one week left to register for our Water 101 Workshop, which offers a primer on the things you need to know to understand California water. One of our most popular events, this once-a-year workshop will be held as an engaging online event on the afternoons of Thursday, April 22 and Friday, April 23.

Aquafornia news KQED

California could phase out fracking, other oil drilling under bill headed for first test in legislature

Legislation that would gradually phase out fracking and other extraction methods that account for most of California’s petroleum production faces its first big test in Sacramento on Tuesday. The nine-member Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee is set to vote on a proposal, Senate Bill 467, that would bar new permits for hydraulic fracturing, cyclic steaming, steam flooding and water flooding. The legislation would begin taking effect in 2023 and also prohibit renewing existing permits for fracking and the other targeted methods, which a committee bill analysis says accounts for an estimated 80% to 95% of the state’s oil production.

Aquafornia news Grist

7 million Californians live near oil and gas wells. This bill could change that

Despite its green reputation, California has a big fossil fuel problem on its hands: neighborhood oil and gas drilling. In California, there’s nothing preventing frackers or drillers from setting up shop right next to your home, school, or hospital — and indeed, this is the reality for 7.4 million Californians currently living within 1 mile of oil and gas drilling operations, who are disproportionately non-white and low-income. Now, a new state bill called S.B. 467, slated for a hearing in the California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water on Tuesday, may reshape the lives of frontline communities by eliminating fracking and instituting mandatory buffer zones between oil and gas extraction and places where Californians live, work, and study. 

Aquafornia news KTLA

Las Vegas pushes to become first to ban ornamental grass in water conservation move

A desert city built on a reputation for excess and indulgence wants to become a model for restraint and conservation with a first-in-the-nation policy banning grass that nobody walks on. Las Vegas-area water officials have spent two decades trying to get people to replace thirsty greenery with desert plants, and now they’re asking the Nevada Legislature to outlaw roughly 40% of the turf that’s left. The Southern Nevada Water Authority estimates there are almost 8 square miles (21 square kilometers) of “nonfunctional turf” in the metro area — grass that no one ever walks on or otherwise uses in street medians, housing developments and office parks.

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Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

News release: ACWA testifies in support of climate resilience bond proposal with amendments

ACWA staff testified with a support-if-amended position on AB 1500 (E.Garcia) during an Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee hearing on April 8. The bill is one of two climate resilience bond proposals that are currently advancing through the state Legislature and could be headed for the June 2022 ballot. AB 1500 would create a $6.7 billion bond measure. ACWA, with input from the State Legislative Committee’s Bond Working Group, is requesting amendments to the bills to add funding for water-related climate resilience projects that help provide a reliable water supply during drought and flood. The amendments propose the bill include funding for conveyance, dam safety, groundwater protection and sustainable groundwater management, flood management, integrated regional water management and safe drinking water for disadvantaged communities, as well as water quality and water reuse and recycling.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: California unveils sweeping wildfire prevention plan

After the worst fire season in California history and as drought conditions raise fears of what’s to come, Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders unveiled a $536-million proposal Thursday to boost efforts at firefighting and a variety of prevention measures, including vegetation management and the construction of fire-resistant structures across the state. The proposal, which the Legislature could send to the governor’s desk as soon as Monday, marks an early agreement by the governor and lawmakers to spend more than half of the $1 billion in wildfire funding Newsom called for in his state budget proposal in January. The gravity of the issue became clear last week after state officials reported the water content in the Sierra Nevada snowpack stood at 59% of the average for early spring.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

SF Baykeeper sues Biden administration to list local longfin smelt as endangered species

A tiny silver fish few people in the Bay Area have heard of could be a new symbol of the state’s continuing battle over water resources. San Francisco Baykeeper sued the Biden administration on Thursday to list the local population of longfin smelt as an endangered species. The environmental group’s legal action comes nine years after the federal government first declared that the fish warranted that status. Once an important source of food for marine mammals, birds and chinook salmon, the local population of the longfin smelt has dropped by 99.9% since the 1980s. Scientists and environmentalists say that reduction is a direct result of too much water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin river system being diverted to farms and other water users rather than flowing through the bay to the Pacific.

Aquafornia news Voice of OC

Opinion: Governor Newsom needs to protect the human right to water not water privatizers

Governor Gavin Newsom frequently says California is a leader in sustainability and the transition away from fossil fuels. The governor has also issued an executive order to fight climate change in response to the deadly wildfires that ravaged our state last year. Despite these public statements and official efforts, it’s puzzling that his administration has been promoting the climate-wrecking Poseidon desalination plant in Huntington Beach as an infrastructure to source additional water for California. There are plenty of things we can do to ensure that Southern Californians have enough water to thrive…. 
-Written by Alejandro Sobrera, the Orange County Hub Coordinator for the Sunrise Movement, a youth led effort to bring about a just transition to a greener world.  

Aquafornia news Havasu News

Colorado River Indian Tribes will get $209K to stop water loss from irrigation canals

The Colorado River Indian Tribes will receive $209,000 for irrigation canal projects, Congressman Paul Gosar announced Tuesday. The federal funds were awarded by the U.S. Department of the Interior to help CRIT pay for canal lining. The project is intended to help stop water seepage from the canal. CRIT relies on the Colorado River as its primary source of water, and water conserved with help the Tribes meet existing demand during times of drought, Gosar said. The project will line nearly 4,000 feet of the earthen canal with a membrane covered in sprayed concrete. The stretch of canal has been identified as having the most significant seepage rate of all 232 miles of canals in the Colorado River Irrigation Project, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

More water spending sought for West in infrastructure bill

As drought worsens in the West, a coalition of more than 200 farm and water organizations from 15 states that has been pushing to fix the region’s crumbling canals and reservoirs is complaining that President Joe Biden’s new infrastructure proposal doesn’t provide enough funding for above- or below-ground storage.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Kamala Harris visits Oakland to tout federal jobs plan

For the first time since her historic ascension as the nation’s first woman vice president, Kamala Harris returned to her native Oakland on Monday to promote the Biden administration’s ambitious proposal to rebuild the country’s infrastructure and create jobs…. Harris toured the East Bay Municipal Utility District’s water treatment plant, speaking to employees and touting the district as the kind of operation that should be emulated. …. Harris highlighted the water portion of the [Biden] plan, saying the goal is to invest in jobs that can build up, replace and modernize water infrastructure — all with the goal of getting clean drinking water to everyone.

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Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Nevada farmers and conservationists balk at “water banking,” an idea also being weighed in Colorado

Rural water users are panicking over a proposal to create a market for the sale and purchase of water rights in Nevada, unconvinced by arguments that the concept would encourage conservation. Lawmakers on Monday weighed whether so-called “water banking” would be preferable to prevailing water law doctrines that govern surface and groundwater rights disputes in the driest state in the U.S. A legislative hearing about two proposals to allow water rights holders to sell their entitlements pitted state water bureaucrats against a coalition of farmers, conservationists and rural officials. 

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Newsom California fracking ban vision exceeds original scope

When Gov. Gavin Newsom voiced his support last year for a ban on hydraulic fracturing by oil and gas companies, an effort long fought by the industry and trade unions alike, he gave Democrats a green light to send him legislation to achieve that goal as they saw fit. But the crackdown on oil and gas production under consideration by the California Legislature is much wider in scope than the plan requested by the governor, who may get more than he bargained for as he shoulders the pressures of carrying out the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response while battling a looming recall election. The ambitious proposal would outlaw hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and a series of other oil extraction methods reviled by environmental activists. 

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: How California stands to benefit from Biden infrastructure proposal

Perhaps more than any other part of the country, California stands to benefit from the $2.2 trillion proposal introduced last week by President Biden…. the sweeping plan would inject huge sums of money into wider roads, faster internet, high-speed trains, charging stations for electric cars, airport terminals, upgraded water pipes and much more. … The infusion is being seen not only as the path to a long-overdue upgrade of the freeways, dams and aqueducts that have long been California’s hallmark but also as a way to scale up and export the state’s ambitious climate policies.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Press-Telegram

Push to reduce plastic waste gains traction in Sacramento and D.C.

If the mountain of proposed legislation is any indication, lawmakers are increasingly primed to crack down on the plastic waste that is littering roadsides, washing onto beaches and into oceans, being digested by fish, and ending up in our own bellies. In Sacramento, at least a dozen bills go after plastic pollution from a variety of angles, including reducing the amount of single-use plastics and refilling returnable beverage bottles. And in Washington, D.,C., a sweeping federal proposal co-authored by Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, would place much of the responsibility for plastic reduction and recycling on companies that make and utilize single-use plastics. 

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: Biden infrastructure plan – Water components

President Biden announced the first components of his proposed $2 trillion national infrastructure plan to rebuild failing, aging, and outdated water, energy, transportation, and communications systems. While the current information provides only the broadest outlines of his proposals, and the details will have to be worked out in specific legislation to be debated in Congress, it is clearly the most ambitious plan to have been put forward in many years.

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Aquafornia news National Review

Opinion: Reform California’s water policies

As California emerged from a historically tough five-year drought in 2017, then-governor Jerry Brown signed two new laws that required local water agencies to limit water use to 55 gallons per person per day, with water-use allotments dropping to 50 gallons by 2030. Despite some misreporting to the contrary, these limits on individuals were not enforceable. Instead, the state imposed fines on districts that failed to meet the new targets. It was pretty clear what direction the state was taking: Since then, California has gone all in for extreme conservation measures that could eventually lead to rationing as water-use allotments drop. Unless something changes, it may be only a matter of time before such policies lead to personal restrictions on lawn-watering, car-washing, and even showering.
-Written by Steven Greenhut, the western-region director for the R Street Institute and a columnist for the Southern California News Group.

Aquafornia news Galt Herald

Groundwater status, plan discussed at meeting

Seven agencies that have been working together to sustain the groundwater in the Cosumnes Subbasin, which includes the communities of Galt, Herald, Wilton and Rancho Murieta South, held a workshop March 24. The presentation was intended to help residents understand how groundwater will be used in the next two decades in the Cosumnes Subbasin. The group has until Jan. 31, 2022 to submit its plan to the state on how it intends to meet its target of replacing 20,000-acre feet per year (AFY) in underground basins called aquifers to sustain the groundwater. One of the takeaways from meeting is the plan will cost $2.25 million in the early years. 

Aquafornia news Stanford University and The Nature Conservancy

Report: Mind the Gaps: The case for truly comprehensive sustainable groundwater management

On its face, SGMA appears to promise comprehensive groundwater management. The legislature sought to “provide for the sustainable management of groundwater basins”. SGMA therefore “applies to all groundwater basins in the state”…. DWR has ranked only 18 percent (94 out of 515) of Bulletin 118 groundwater basins as medium or high priority, although these basins account for virtually all of current groundwater pumping in the state. The result is a fragmented regulatory system that leaves significant gaps in the sustainable management of California’s groundwater.

Aquafornia news CNN

Here’s what’s in Biden’s infrastructure proposal

Now that his massive coronavirus relief package is law, President Joe Biden is laying out his next big proposal: A roughly $2 trillion plan for improving the nation’s infrastructure  … Biden’s plan allocates $111 billion to rebuild the country’s water infrastructure. It would replace all of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines in order to improve the health of American children and communities of color. The White House says replacing the pipes would reduce lead exposure in 400,000 schools and childcare facilities. The proposal would upgrade the country’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems, tackle new contaminants and support clean water infrastructure in rural parts of the country.

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Aquafornia news Allen Matkins

Blog: 2021 land use, environmental & natural resources update

With the end of the first quarter of 2021 approaching, we thought it timely to issue an update on selected recent developments and proposed changes in law and policy touching environmental, land use, and natural resource issues. At the national level, with the new Biden administration, federal policies already have undergone a significant sea-change from those of the Trump administration. And the Golden State continues to lead with a protective agenda on land use, environmental, and natural resources legislation and regulation.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Biden lays groundwork for environmental regulations

In the coming weeks, officials are expected to release a new plan for reaching the goals set out under the Paris Climate Agreement and recommend changes to several national monuments. More broadly, the administration is considering steps that could include taking a harder line on climate regulations. … The Biden administration has also listed dozens of Trump-era environmental rules across several agencies that it plans to review, including rules governing air quality standards, water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Report provides guidance on repurposing California farmland to benefit water, landowners, communities and wildlife

Over the coming decades, California’s San Joaquin Valley will transition to sustainable groundwater management under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), ensuring reliable groundwater supplies for generations to come. Sustainable groundwater management and a changing climate will inevitably affect how land is used on a sweeping scale. By some estimates, the amount of farmland that will have to be taken out of production to balance groundwater demand and supply is equivalent to the size of Yosemite National Park — a transition that could serve a huge blow to the agricultural economy, rural communities and the environment. 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Pandemic wipes create sewer-clogging fatbergs

Even before the pandemic, Americans were already flushing far too many wipes into the sewer system. After a year of staying at home, the pipe-clogging problem has gotten worse. … Sewer backups are up 50%… Last year, Washington became the first state to pass legislation requiring manufacturers to label their products with “do not flush” disclaimers, and states including California have also introduced bills that would mandate similar labels.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

News release: ACWA-Sponsored SB 323 passes Committee hearing

ACWA-sponsored SB 323 (Caballero) passed out of the Senate Government and Finance Committee on March 25, following a hearing in which ACWA staff and members testified in support….The bill would improve financial stability for public agencies by creating a 120-day statute of limitations for legal challenges to water and sewer service rates. It comes as water and wastewater agencies have faced increased litigation from ratepayers over whether agency rates comply with Proposition 218 and other existing laws.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Water law alert – Groundwater well permitting, Yampa River basin

As a result of increasing demand for water, exacerbated by the decades-long drought in the Colorado River system, the Colorado State Engineer is considering a proposal that would impose stricter limitations on the permitting of new groundwater wells in the Yampa River Basin upstream of where the Yampa River meets the Little Snake River.  The Yampa River flows west from its headwaters near Steamboat Springs, in northwest Colorado.  After it is joined by the Little Snake River, it flows to meet the Green River near the Colorado-Utah state line.  From there, the Green River flows south as a major tributary of the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news Fox 13 Salt Lake City

Romney and the looming Colorado River clash

One of the most critical negotiations for Utah’s future is coming at a time when Utah’s delegations in Washington D.C. may be less influential than every other party at the table. The Colorado River Compact, hammered out in 1922 with few amendments over the years, expires in 2026. Every other state in the compact other than Utah has a majority Democratic or split delegation in Washington. Those states? Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California. 

Aquafornia news Environmental Working Group

News release: California to list notorious ‘forever chemical’ as a cause of cancer in people

The top state scientific agency charged with protecting Californians from toxic chemicals has proposed adding the “forever chemical” PFOA to the list of substances known to the state to cause cancer in humans under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, otherwise known as Proposition 65. The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health and Hazard Assessment, or OEHHA, said March 19 that PFOA “meets the criteria for listing as known to the state to cause cancer under Proposition 65,” based on the findings of a National Toxicology Program report last year. 

Aquafornia news E&E News

‘Big structural change’: What greens want on infrastructure

Environmental groups are calling for massive spending on an infrastructure package they view as a generational opportunity to address climate change, ramping up pressure on Democrats to deliver on campaign trail promises on clean energy and environmental justice. As Democrats call for bipartisanship and Republicans demand a narrower and cheaper bill, greens will be warning the new congressional majority against giving in to GOP demands. That tension came to a head yesterday when reports emerged in The New York Times and The Washington Post that White House aides were working on an ambitious $3 trillion infrastructure legislative effort encompassing climate, taxes and income inequality.

Aquafornia news Stanford

News release: Stanford researchers explore how shifts in federal approaches can turn the tide of destructive wildfires

It wipes out entire communities in a matter of moments, weakens our lungs and even taints our drinking water, yet federal strategy to combat wildfires remains outdated and largely ineffective. The Biden Administration has an opportunity to rewrite the playbook on combatting wildfires, according to Stanford University science and policy experts whose research on a range of related issues points toward bipartisan solutions.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California vies for $3-trillion Biden infrastructure plan

A Biden initiative expected to pour up to $3 trillion into repairing America’s decrepit infrastructure and funding other programs has sparked a scramble across the nation for the federal funds — with California expecting to reap the biggest piece. …Rep. John Garamendi, a Northern California Democrat who is a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee…spent more than an hour with Biden in recent weeks and came away convinced that the program will be broad enough to improve most areas of the nation’s infrastructure: highways, passenger rail, electric grids, dams, sewers and water systems, ocean terminals and airports…. 

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Aquafornia news Public News Service

Poll: CA Latinos overwhelmingly support conservation measures

A new poll shows Latino voters in California are even more supportive than the general population of policies that protect public lands and combat climate change. The new survey finds an overwhelming majority of Latino voters, 85%, support President Joe Biden’s new goal of protecting 30% of the country’s lands and waters by the year 2030. … The poll also found 83% of Latinos surveyed support dedicating funding to address air and water pollution in lower-income parts of California, compared to 72% of all voters.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: ACWA weighs in on state water affordability legislation

ACWA and its member agencies care greatly about water affordability and recognize the centrality of this issue during these uniquely challenging times. ACWA is advocating in Washington, D.C. (already with some success) and in Sacramento for federal and state funding to help public water systems and treatment works cover customer arrearages accrued during the pandemic. This funding is needed quickly — through immediate action — as opposed to through the legislative process for long-term policy bills.

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Aquafornia news Representative Josh Harder

News release: Harder requests new funding for flood protection project impacting 165,000 people, 262 critical sites

Today, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) sent a letter with Rep. Jerry McNerny (CA-9) requesting new federal funds for the Lower San Joaquin River Flood Risk Management and Feasibility Study projects. The $36.5 million in requested funds would go toward the Army Corps of Engineers and San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency’s critical flood damage reduction efforts. If implemented, the project will protect 165,000 Valley residents, reduce annual property damage by 84%, and increase the resilience of 262 critical infrastructure sites, 12 of which are essential to daily life in the Valley. The project is expected to yield $7 for every $1 of taxpayer money invested.

Aquafornia news Press Telegram

Bill to create a Southern LA County water watchdog puts agencies on edge

A proposal to create a watchdog for South Los Angeles County’s dozens of disjointed and struggling water systems has stirred fear among public agencies and companies further down the pipeline that they could be the target of hostile takeovers. AB 1195, introduced by Assemblywoman Christina Garcia, would establish the Southern Los Angeles County Regional Water Agency and grant it authority to assist failing water systems with aging infrastructure, or to take control if a system is no longer able to provide affordable, clean drinking water.

Aquafornia news Office of Senator Toni Atkins

News release: Natural Resources Committee passes Atkins’ bill to protect California from sea level rise

Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) today presented SB 1, a landmark bill to help California address the impacts of sea level rise, to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water, which approved the bill in a 7-2 vote. … SB 1, the Sea Level Rise Mitigation and Adaptation Act, directs the Coastal Commission to take sea level rise into account in its planning, policies, and activities, and would … expand funding to assist more disadvantaged communities along the coast that are vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise and are actively working to address environmental justice issues.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California may regulate ‘forever’ chemicals in water before EPA

California water suppliers could face state limits on the concentration of two so-called “forever chemicals” before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets national standards. Maximum contaminant levels for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) are on track to be in place in California in 2023 … The EPA announced in February that it planned to regulate both chemicals and order nationwide sampling for those and 27 similar compounds between 2023 and 2025. 

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Opinion: Dry year intensifies focus on California groundwater

Groundwater aquifers are best understood and managed locally; therefore, the key to successfully implementing SGMA lies in maintaining local control, something Farm Bureau vigorously advocates. In addition, we have stressed that to reduce dependence on groundwater, we must expand surface water storage and recharge our groundwater aquifers when excess water is available….Unless March somehow makes up for the lack of rain and snow thus far this winter, we could see an increased dependence on groundwater this growing season.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Finding a balance between supply and demand to get to groundwater sustainability

The San Joaquin Valley has begun to grapple with implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Figuring out the math of balancing water supply and demand in ways that cause the least economic harm to farmers and local economies is challenging, and difficult tradeoffs are inevitable. We talked with Emmy Cattani, a fifth-generation farmer from Kern County, about some options.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

What’s in the federal stimulus for Californians?

Last week, President Biden signed into law a historic, wide-reaching $1.9 trillion stimulus package aimed at throwing a lifeline to Americans struggling through the pandemic. In California, the news has come as a particular relief. … $16 billion: That’s the amount that is expected to be split between city and county governments to help make up for lost local tax revenue during the pandemic. And that’s what pays for essential services like law enforcement and firefighters. The money can also be used for water, sewer and broadband infrastructure projects.

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

Pelosi pledges swift work on major infrastructure package

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday pledged swift work by Congress on a job and infrastructure package that will be “fiscally sound,” but said she isn’t sure whether the next major item on President Joe Biden’s agenda will attract Republican backing. … “Building roads and bridges and water supply systems and the rest has always been bipartisan, always been bipartisan, except when they oppose it with a Democratic president, as they did under President Obama, and we had to shrink the package,” said Pelosi, D-Calif.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Monday Top of the Scroll: Premature or precautionary? California is first to tackle microplastics in drinking water

California is poised to issue the world’s first guidelines for microplastics in drinking water despite no data on how plentiful they are in the state, no scientific agreement on how to test water for them and little research on their health risks.  The pieces of plastic — smaller than an ant, some so tiny they can be seen only with a microscope — have contaminated wildlife and human bodies through their food, air and water. … Now the state Water Resources Control Board is blazing a trail to issue a preliminary health-based threshold and testing methods by July 1.

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

Blog: COVID-19 relief package provides substantial aid to states, counties and cities

President Biden signed into law a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, the American Rescue Plan of 2021, aimed to provide financial relief to Americans and incentives to stimulate the economy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest package … provides $500 million for low-income water and wastewater grants. Funds will be allotted to states and tribes based on percentage of households with income less than 150 percent of the federal poverty line.

Aquafornia news Arizona Capitol Times

Opinion: Congress has opportunity to protect Grand Canyon region

The Grand Canyon Protection Act was recently introduced by U.S. Rep. Raύl Grijalva and passed in the House and has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. The bills will permanently protect about 1 million acres of public lands surrounding Grand Canyon from the harmful and lasting damage of new uranium mining. … This legislation is critical to stopping the threats that mining poses to water quality and quantity, unique habitats and wildlife pathways, and to sacred places. 
-Written by Sandy Bahr, director for Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter, and Amber Wilson Reimondo, Energy Program director with Grand Canyon Trust.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Opinion: The time has come for California to ban front yard lawns for new homes

The climate change cabal in Sacramento is ignoring some extremely low hanging fruit in their bid to protect us from ourselves. The reason they don’t see it is simple. It doesn’t involve raising taxes, rewarding corporations or disruptor greenies they align with, nor does it destroy jobs. The California Legislature needs to ban grass lawns for front yards as well as general commercial development for all new building projects.
-Written by Dennis Wyatt, editor of the Manteca Bulletin.​

Aquafornia news The Pew Charitable Trusts

Blog: 5 rivers Congress should safeguard now

One of the largest undammed river systems in California, the South Fork Trinity watershed supports vulnerable populations of salmon and steelhead, and boasts dramatic scenery. The South Fork National Recreation Trail parallels the river’s rapids and pools through stands of pine, fir, and oak. Nearly 500 miles of water, including parts of the South Fork Trinity River and its tributaries, would be permanently protected by the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act, sponsored by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA), which was also included in the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act that recently passed the House. 

Aquafornia news KCRA3

California could get $150B from federal virus relief bill

The massive COVID-19 relief bill Congress approved Wednesday will pump more than $150 billion into California’s economy, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration said Wednesday, including a $26 billion windfall for the state’s already burgeoning budget surplus. … [The U.S. Treasury Department has told state governments] they can use the money to respond to the public health emergency, provide government services or invest in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Pasadena Star News

Opinion: Racial justice requires equitable access to reliable drinking water

Vice President Kamala Harris was right on point last year when she said that clean water is a fundamental human right. President Biden has put those words into action by signing an executive order establishing a White House council on environmental justice. Every Californian has a right to clean, reliable affordable drinking water.
-Written by Jose Barrera, California’s state deputy director for the League of United Latin American Citizens. 

Aquafornia news Border Report

House, Senate bills designate EPA to head all water cleanup along southern border

A bipartisan group of California lawmakers is confronting pollution problems along the U.S.-Mexico border, especially in the Tijuana River Valley between San Diego and Tijuana. Several House members who represent Southern California introduced a bill called the Border Water Quality Restoration Act. Similar legislation was presented last week in the U.S. Senate. If approved, it will give the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to coordinate all federal, state, and local agencies when planning construction and infrastructure projects to mitigate pollution in waterways throughout the southern border.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: How ‘cutting green tape’ can make California more resilient

California is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots – home to more unique species of plants and animals than any other state in the U.S. This biodiversity makes up the beautiful land and seascapes of the world’s fifth-largest economy and sustains our health, cultures and quality of life.  Yet it is disappearing at alarming rates. … Environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act are designed to protect the environment from damage. What these laws are not designed to do is provide a pathway for restoring nature damaged, for instance, by development projects.
-Written by Ashley Boren, the CEO of Sustainable Conservation, a San Francisco- and Modesto-based nonprofit. 

Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP

Blog: Proposed “California Clean Water Act” (AB 377) would restrict ability to secure schedules of compliance in water quality permits or other water quality-related orders

AB 377, entitled the “California Clean Water Act,” introduced by Assemblymember Rivas in February 2021, includes provisions to eliminate all “impaired waterways” and make all waters in California suitable for drinking, swimming, and fishing by 2050.  If adopted, this bill would have significant impacts on the ability to timely and cost-effectively comply with discharge requirements set forth in National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permits, Waste Discharge Requirements (“WDRs”), and waivers of WDRs (collectively, “water quality permits”).  The bill would also usher in an era of focus on enforcement, rather than good-faith compliance.

Aquafornia news Desert Sun

Dozens of environmental bills on California 2021 legislative agenda

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 water.

Aquafornia news KHTS

Garcia introduces bill aimed at improving California’s access to water

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.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette Newspaper

Valadao hopes to pump funding into water infrastructure

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 Water Project. 

Aquafornia news California Attorney General's Office

News release: Attorney General Becerra challenges weakening of crucial requirements that protect public from lead in drinking water

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. 

Aquafornia news Valley Roadrunner

Opinion: Rebuilding Lake Wohlford Dam

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, R-Escondido.

Aquafornia news Wild Rivers Outpost

Blog: Skeptical about Klamath River dam removal, harbor district, Del Norte County seek protection against potential damages

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.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

California Democrats seek to add 535,000 acres of wilderness in state

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. 

Aquafornia news Arizona Capitol Times

Opinion: Water rights for tribes is environmental justice

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 equivalent amount.
-Written by Isaac Humrich, a senior at Sunnyslope High School in Phoenix and a member of American Conservation Coalition.

Aquafornia news Office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein

News release: Feinstein to chair Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee

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.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Biden urged to back water bill amid worst US crisis in decades

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 …

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

News Release: MAGSA awarded $10 million grant to expand On-Farm Recharge Project

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.

Aquafornia news Patch

Opinion: Rebuilding Lake Wohlford Dam

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, R-Escondido

Aquafornia news Salt Lake Tribune

Opinion: Utah’s designs on Colorado River water would ignore the facts and evade the law

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.

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers propose ban on fracking by 2027

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.

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Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Ag Council president reflects on drinking water collaboration

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.

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Aquafornia news Ag Information Network of the West

Understanding the water consumption of treenut orchards

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.

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Aquafornia news Lexology

Blog: Regulatory changes on the horizon for California State Water Resources Control Board

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”) regulations. 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

States clash with Pentagon on PFAS water limits, polluted sites

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 contamination. 

Aquafornia news E&E News

Interior: Tribes expect a voice on land and waters under Haaland

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 decisions.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: Can Newsom end California water wars now that Trump is gone?

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.

Aquafornia news East County Today

Blog: Clean Water Act bill introduced to clean up all waterways by 2050

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.

Aquafornia news NPR

Biden wants to move fast on climate change. Is it fast enough?

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 coastlines.

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Aquafornia news Kingsburg Recorder

Valadao introduces critical California water legislation

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. 114-322). 

Aquafornia news California Office of Enviornmental Health Hazard Assessment

News Release: The Human Right to Water in California data tool

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.  

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation's Western Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: In the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, two groundwater sustainability agencies try to find their balance

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…

Western Water By Gary Pitzer

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

The Resource

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

Aquafornia news CapRadio

Here’s what California lawmakers want to do to take action on climate change

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.  

Aquafornia news Desert Sun

Salton Sea: Ruiz, Vargas reintroduce bill to address New River pollution

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 projects. 

Aquafornia news Arizona PBS

Pascua Yaqui win water funds, first of $150 million for Arizona projects

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 projects. 

Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

California moves to monitor microplastics in drinking water

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.

Aquafornia news BenitoLink

Assemblymembers Robert Rivas and Rudy Salas introduce legislation to maximize benefits of Sustainable Groundwater Management requirements

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. 

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: After decades of inequity, this woman is bringing long-overlooked voices to California’s land and water decisions

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. 

Aquafornia news KQED

Here’s how Newsom’s proposing to spend $4.1 billion on the climate and environment

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.

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Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: Water recommendations for the Biden administration

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.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: A wish list for water collaboration with the Biden‒Harris administration

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.

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Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Federal funding bill boosts California water priorities

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.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Carbon capture in the Delta is up; recreation in the Delta, not so much

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.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Four water stories to watch in 2021

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…

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Key natural resource and environmental elements to know about the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021

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 Program.

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

Sites Reservoir receives $13.7 million in federal spending bill

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.

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Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Water authority and GSA to settle on sagging Friant-Kern Canal resolution

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%.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Salton Sea improvements could get millions after Trump signs bill

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.

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Aquafornia news Vanguard Law Magazine

Alf W. Brandt – California State Assembly: His water world runneth over

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.

Aquafornia news High Country News

Will California finally fulfill its promise to fix the Salton Sea?

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. 

Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

California groups seek $1.5B in spending on wildfire prevention

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.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Will water supply momentum pick back up with new administration?

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? 

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Assemblyman Adam Gray is stripped of committee chairmanship

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.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

New addition made to bilingual SGMA video series

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.

Aquafornia news Dredging Today

Supporting levee projects throughout Sacramento Valley

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.

Aquafornia news Havasu News

Tribes seek act of Congress to sell Colorado river water

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.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Will water unite us?

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.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Blog: How private well owners in Madera, Fresno can shape water policy

It’s easy to understand why people who rely on private wells for their water can feel powerless about the future of their supply — wells pump water from underground aquifers shared by many neighbors.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Here’s what the water sector wants from Congress and President-elect Biden

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 sector.

Aquafornia news E&E News

PFAS exposure could hinder vaccine for hard-hit communities

Exposure to toxic “forever” chemicals could hinder the effectiveness of a COVID-19 vaccine, with outsize implications for some communities and workers.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Rep. Ruiz introduces Salton Sea bill in Congress to provide funding

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.

Aquafornia news E&E News

House Democrats aim to resurrect PFAS package

House Democrats are working to reintroduce major legislation targeting toxic chemicals singled out by President-elect Joe Biden as a priority for his administration.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: New laws address water affordability and wildfire risks

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.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

California Rep. Jim Costa to seek ag committee chairmanship

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 Democratic control.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Nutria law gave California freshman a pre-election win

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.

Aquafornia news Ripon Advance

Walden calls newly signed law welcome news for Klamath Basin irrigators

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.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

New law adds resources to combat invasive nutria

A bill that would send federal help to California and other states looking to eradicate an invasive swamp rodent has been signed into law.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: Fight climate change, preserve nature in one stroke

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 Coast.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Nutria — they’re big, buck-toothed and chew up California wetlands. Now feds add money to fight them

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.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

What has the Trump administration meant for water?

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.

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Aquafornia news The Brookings Institution

Blog: The hidden role of water infrastructure in driving a COVID-19 recovery

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.

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

New law lowers cost of clean water projects

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.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Big infrastructure bill ‘isn’t dead’ as WRDA talks heat up

A high-stakes Supreme Court confirmation and COVID-19 negotiations may be the focus on Capitol Hill, but a sprawling water infrastructure bill is still advancing quickly behind the scenes.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Bishop demands quick passage of water rights legislation

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Congress passes Harder bill aimed at invasive rodent

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.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Lawmakers pass technical fix to aid drought-stricken Klamath Basin

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.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Friant-Kern Canal fix stalled again after Newsom vetoes bill

Gov. Gavin Newsom put the final nail in the bipartisan bill’s coffin on Wednesday when he vetoed the legislation, arguing that the bill was too focused on one canal project: The Friant-Kern.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Newsom vetoes Friant-Kern Canal fix bill

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 the project.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Gavin Newsom greenlights commission on Salton Sea lithium extraction

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.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Hurtado makes splash as Newsom signs water bill

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…

Aquafornia news Congressman John Garamendi

News Release: Garamendi bill unlocks federal financing for Sites Reservoir and Central Valley Project pumps modernization

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.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Cox introduces $800 million water bill

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.

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Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Legislature kills last-ditch bill with funding for Friant-Kern Canal

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

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Recycling bills would help stem the flow of plastic into the ocean

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers vote to phase out toxic firefighting foam

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…

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Despite COVID-19, natural resources should remain important to Legislature

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.

Aquafornia news Environmental Working Group

Blog: California Legislature kills bill to protect kids from lead

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 leach today.

Aquafornia news Engineering News-Record

WRDA 2020 may have to wait until lame duck

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.

Aquafornia news BenitoLink

Opinion: New water efficiency standards being developed in California

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.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Delivering dollars for Central Valley water

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.

Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

Harder, Feinstein collaborate to keep snowpack readings accurate

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.

Aquafornia news Waste360

Initiative to fight plastic pollution submits petitions

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.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

One step closer for $71 million for Friant-Kern Canal

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.

Aquafornia news National Rural Water Association

Blog: National Rural Water Association backs Emergency Assistance for Rural Water Systems Act

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…

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Trump signs landmark Great American Outdoors Act

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 month.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Clean water advocates hoping to safeguard SAFER funding

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.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: U.S. Senate must pass legislation to protect and preserve San Francisco Bay

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.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Press Telegram

House-passed bill includes nearly $385 million to fix Whittier Narrows Dam

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.

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Aquafornia news Sen. Dianne Feinstein

News release: Feinstein, Kennedy introduce legislation to eradicate nutria

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.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

Friday Top of the Scroll: Democratic senators introduce comprehensive environmental justice bill

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.

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