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 Capitol Weekly

Opinion: Memo to lawmakers – Our future demands good water infrastructure

Just as California is preparing its electrical grid to provide 90% clean energy by 2035, our state leaders must also look to future investments in water infrastructure. The need for a safe and reliable source of water will continue well into the future, underscoring the need for investing in a modern infrastructure system today. Much of California’s water infrastructure system was constructed decades ago, and while reliable, it is not infallible. On Sept. 6, the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California began emergency repairs on its Upper Feeder pipeline, requiring millions of Southern Californians to suspend outdoor watering for up to 15 days.
-Written by Jennifer Capitolo, executive director of the California Water Association, a leading trade association that represents more than 90 regulated water utilities across California serving more than 7 million customers.

Aquafornia news Salon.com

Can the California plastics law solve our plastic problem?

Thanks to a law in California signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom this past June, there could be much less plastic waste in California within a decade, serving as a potential pilot for this legislation being enacted elsewhere. The landmark legislation requires that all packaging in the state be compostable or recyclable by 2032, and sets guidelines for increasing the levels of recycling of plastic packaging in the state by the same year. By signing SB 54 into law, Newsom seeks to hold polluters responsible, shifting the burden of responsibility for plastic pollution from consumers to the plastics industry.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Madera groundwater plans kicked back by state for not protecting domestic wells, ignoring subsidence

The state kicked Madera County groundwater plans back for a redo on Thursday, noting, in particular, that they had set water levels so low it could endanger hundreds of domestic wells. The plans also all but ignored ongoing damage to roads, bridges and canals caused by sinking land, subsidence, opting mostly to “monitor” the situation. That isn’t good enough, according to Department of Water Resources staff, who reviewed the Groundwater Sustainability Plans as part of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. SGMA requires over pumped aquifers be brought into balance by 2040. The seven Madera subbasin groundwater sustainability agencies, which submitted four plans, now have 180 days to correct the problems and resubmit their plans.

Aquafornia news Patch - Martinez

Last week of September declared Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Week

State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, on Wednesday declared the last week of September as Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Week in recognition of the rivers playing a critical role in the state’s economy and environment. The proclaimed week will kick off Sunday and was established from Senate Concurrent Resolution 119. Dodd said the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy and Delta Protection Commission have both been vital in protecting the expanse formed by the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers.

Aquafornia news Colorado Politics

Federal ideas reflect little progress toward solving Colorado River crisis

The clock is ticking for the Colorado River, but solutions on how to save the river basin, which provides water to 40 million people in seven states and Mexico, still appears to be elusive, at least from the federal government. However, proposed solutions are starting to bubble up through Colorado agriculture’s community, including projects that received funding to address drought this week from the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

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Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

No surface water for Ariz. farmers next year

Arizona farmers this year benefitted from mitigation water that otherwise would have cut their Central Arizona Project irrigation deliveries to zero. They won’t be so fortunate next year. When the Bureau of Reclamation issued its first-ever Tier 1 restriction of Colorado River water from Lake Mead, Arizona’s farmers faced the elimination of their surface water supplies from the Central Arizona Project (CAP) for 2022. That portion of CAP surface water, known as the “ag pool,” is part of a 512,000-acre-foot cut Arizona faced under the restrictions as part of the Drought Contingency Plan, an agreement designed to preserve water in the Colorado River system.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: Toxic chemicals are everywhere. California can limit our exposure

Most parents take extra precautions to protect their children from toxic chemicals — from locking cabinets of cleaning supplies to scrutinizing ingredient labels. But some toxic chemicals are near impossible to limit their exposure to. California can change that. Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, are a class of over 9,000 industrial compounds that are added to everyday products to repel stains, water or oil. … Commonly referred to as “forever chemicals,” they do not break down in the environment — ever. … According to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, these chemicals may be contaminating the drinking water of up to 200 million Americans.

-Written by Rebecca Fuoco, science communications officer at the Green Science Policy Institute; and Arlene Blum, founder and executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute and a research associate in the Cell and Molecular Biology Department at UC Berkeley.

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Aquafornia news KGUN 9 - Tucson

Over $32M to go into safe drinking water projects for Arizona

Funding from Arizona Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law will be used to provide more safe drinking water across the state. … Over $32,000,000 will be provided towards Arizona projects through the Environmental Protection Agency.

Aquafornia news Native News Online

California senators introduce legislation to recognize Tule River Tribe’s water rights

U.S. Senators Alex Padilla and Dianne Feinstein, both Democrats, introduced legislation last Thursday to formally recognize the Tule River Tribe’s reserved water rights.  Senate Bill 4870, which also quantifies the amount of water from the south fork of the Tule River that Tribe has rights to and provides up to $568 million in funding, was referred to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.  The legislation would finalize a multi-decade effort by the Tule River Tribe to provide clean drinking water  As California and the West continue to experience a historic megadrought, the bill would help provide water security to Tule River citizens “now and for generations to come,” Padilla said in a statement today.   

Aquafornia news San Francisco Standard

Purple pipe dreams: How SF’s revolutionary recycled water plan dried up

Thirty-one years ago, supervisors in San Francisco passed a landmark piece of legislation as a signal of the city’s commitment to the environment and conserving water.  Any new buildings that were bigger than 40,000 square feet and located in designated zones on the city’s west and east sides would be required to have “purple pipes.” These pipes, which are literally required to be the color purple, would be installed to transport waste to a recycled water plant. … Over the last three decades, San Francisco has seen more than 70 structures go up with dual-plumbing systems that separate potable from recycled water. … But there’s just one problem. … San Francisco never built a recycled water treatment plant for these buildings.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Water for wildlife refuges – 30 years of the CVPIA

The Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA) turns 30 this year. We asked three experts—Jeanne Brantigan of The Nature Conservancy, Samantha Arthur of the National Audubon Society, and Catherine Hickey of Point Blue Conservation Science—to explain what the CVPIA is and why it’s so important for birds. Can you explain a little bit about dedicating water for wildlife refuges under CVPIA? When did it start, and why has it been so significant for California? Samantha Arthur: Congress passed the act in 1992. It recognized the importance of the Central Valley’s rivers for migratory birds, fish, and other wildlife—and the need to make protection and restoration of fish and wildlife a coequal purpose of the Central Valley Project (CVP), along with other uses, including agricultural, municipal, industrial, and more.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Harder pushes bill that would stop tunnel

Congress could kill the Delta tunnel. Under legislation introduced by Congressman Josh Harder and co-sponsored by Congressman John Garamendi, the Army Corps of Engineering would be banned from issuing a required permit the state needs to build the $16 billion Delta Conveyance project known simply as the Delta Tunnel. The Corps has a pivotal role in the project given the water that would be diverted is stored behind Shasta Dam. Shasta Dam is part of the federally built and operated Central Valley Project whose water is sold to the Metropolitan  Water District in the Los Angeles Basin as well as large corporate farms in the western part of Kern County and several Bay Area cities.

Aquafornia news KCRA - Sacramento

Josh Harder to introduce legislation to prevent Delta Tunnel from gaining ground

The battle for California’s water supply is scheduled to take center stage at the nation’s capitol on Monday, as Central Valley Congressman Josh Harder is set to take the strongest step yet to stop the state’s proposed giant water tunnel from gaining ground. … The Delta, fed by the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, collects and moves water to more than 27 million Californians and is vital to 750,000 acres of farmland. A scaled-down single tunnel, which is supported by Gov. Gavin Newsom, would bypass the central Delta and funnel water south, which according to state officials, would modernize aging water infrastructure.

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Aquafornia news NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Blog: Helping decision-makers improve water management

A new study from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Western States Water Council (WSWC) and Airborne Snow Observatories, Inc. points the way to accelerating how knowledge and technology are transferred to and from public agencies and environmental organizations. … In this latest paper, the team outlines a path for how to protect environmental resources by not only offering technical solutions, but by developing strategic relationships and fostering a culture of organizational support. Two water case studies – the Airborne Snow Observatory (ASO) and the Cyanobacteria Assessment Network (CyAN) – are used to highlight how effective knowledge and technology transfer can be done. 

Aquafornia news KRCR - Redding

Evaluating drought relief in Shasta County

Severe drought continues to impact California, and many residents need immediate relief. As summer winds down, Northstate communities are battling the lowest water levels of the year as is typically the case in September, and 2022 being the driest year on record, in the 139 year history of data keeping in Redding, has only exacerbated the problem. The Shasta County Department of Resource Management received a grant of over $2.4 million in July from the state Water Resources Control Board to be used through 2024. Relief efforts made possible by this grant include bottled water delivery, well deepening, repairs and replacement.

Aquafornia news GV Wire

Farmworkers impacted by drought will get $1,000 a month if Newsom signs bill

Gov. Gavin Newsom will decide on a bill that would give supplemental aid to farmworkers affected by a drought that is taking a heavy toll on farms.  Senate Bill 1066, introduced by Valley Democrat Melissa Hurtado, passed the Legislature and went to Newsom’s desk on Sept. 6. … The California farmworkers drought resilience pilot project would allocate $20 million in monthly cash payments of $1,000 for the next three years for eligible farmworkers. With climate change and natural disasters becoming more common, Hurtado joined a group of legislators last year asking Gov. Newsom to prioritize farmworkers in a guaranteed basic income pilot program. 

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: A new tool could help protect 30% of the state’s waters by 2030

California has set an ambitious goal of protecting 30% of the state’s lands and waters by 2030. We spoke with CalTrout’s legal and policy director Redgie Collins about a promising but underutilized tool that could help protect water bodies throughout the state: The Outstanding Natural Resource Waters (ONRW) designation. As Collins says, “You can designate all the land you like, but in order to preserve any ecosystem, freshwater is critical.” There’s a lot of interest in identifying and protecting Outstanding National Resource Waters in the West. What is this designation and what does it accomplish? Is it the same as Wild and Scenic?

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

CA Gov. Gavin Newsom signs bills to tackle extreme heat

As temperatures took a turn for the sweltering last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a package of bills intended to protect state residents from extreme heat. First up was AB 1643, from possible future Assembly speaker Robert Rivas, D-Salinas. It creates an advisory committee to study the effects of extreme heat on workers, businesses and the economy. Then there was AB 2238 from Assemblywoman Luz Rivas, D-Arleta, to create a heat warning and ranking system akin to the one used for measuring hurricanes.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Facing criticism, state amps up its climate blueprint

Responding to concerns of Gov. Gavin Newsom and environmentalists, the California Air Resources Board has bolstered its climate roadmap with several new strategies, including offshore wind development, climate-friendly housing construction, cleaner aviation fuels and reducing miles traveled. … The air board’s move to strengthen the scoping plan builds off Newsom’s call for more stringent climate measures that he pushed the Legislature to pass before the session ended last week. The governor’s push for more action to address climate change comes as the state faces more extreme heat, drought and wildfires.

Aquafornia news Farm Progress

Drought relief package to help service providers

The California rice industry is trumpeting a support program to help ag businesses suffering from drought. California Rice Commission CEO Tim Johnson said the $75 million drought grant program approved by the state legislature will help ag support businesses that directly serve farmers. … California rice growers planted about 250,000 acres of rice this year. This is about half of what the industry typically plants each year, Johnson said. 

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Aquafornia news High Country News

Conserve groundwater. Fallow farmland. Increase dust?

For a century, California’s San Joaquin Valley has been known as “the food basket of the world.” The 27,500-square mile region currently produces over $34 billion worth of food each year, a productivity made possible only by its large-scale irrigation projects and unrestrained groundwater pumping. In 2015, however, California passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), making it last Western state to regulate its groundwater — and bringing the San Joaquin Valley into compliance with the law will require retiring over 500,000 acres of its farmland in the next 20 years. While SGMA’s regulations are for the greater good — achieving sustainable water use in an increasingly unpredictable climate — they are likely to have negative effects on the ground.

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Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: 2022 California legislative end of session highlights

In August 2022, the 2022 California legislative session closed with various relevant legislative measures either moving to the Governor’s desk for signature or failing in committee. Below is a small highlight of relevant legislation concerning water rights, agriculture, and local agency procedure. While certain bills passed the California Legislature, they must now be presented to Governor Newsom, who has until September 30th to sign any of the bills passed below. … Bills That Passed Out of the California Legislature: SB 1205 – Water Availability Analyses … AB 1757 – Carbon Sequestration … AB 2449 – Brown Act …

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Aquafornia news Forbes

Opinion: Governor Newsom’s water plan represents progress, but misses the power of markets

In mid-August, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced plans to tackle the state’s ongoing water crisis. California is in the midst of a drought, which some are now referring to as “the end of the dream.” Water shortages in the West are unfortunately becoming part of everyday life, thanks in large part to climate change. Newsom’s plan appears to be moving the state in the right direction by focusing on increasing the supply of water available for residents’ wide-ranging purposes. However, his administration should be doing more to leverage the power of markets and market pricing, strategies noticeably absent from new proposals.
-Written by James Broughel, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Biden-Harris Administration announces $8.5 million from bipartisan infrastructure law for Colorado River endangered species recovery

Lower water levels at Lake Powell and rising temperatures in the Colorado River are contributing to dangerously low dissolved oxygen levels below Glen Canyon Dam, causing concern for the health of the trout fishery located near Lees Ferry. The Bureau of Reclamation works with the U.S. Geological Survey to closely monitor water quality conditions and is working with partners and stakeholders to better understand potential effects. Fish native to the Colorado River, such as humpback chub and razorback sucker, are generally located farther downstream where low dissolved oxygen levels are remedied by riffles and runs, which aerate the water.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Friday Top of the Scroll: State lawmakers reject bill to curb farms’ water pumping

California lawmakers punted on a proposal to rein in agricultural groundwater pumping as drought continues to grip California and more than a thousand domestic wells have run dry.  A bill by Assemblymember Steve Bennett, a Democrat from Santa Barbara, would have added hurdles to obtain a permit to drill an agricultural well. Though the bill cleared the Senate on Monday, Bennett elected to not bring it up for a final vote in the Assembly before the Legislative session timed out Wednesday night. He said California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office told him the bill was no longer viable because of changes made.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: For his water plan to work, Newsom must marshal all key forces

At first glance, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new water supply strategy might suggest the projects he is proposing will create about 7 million acre-feet of new water, but a closer reading shows that’s not quite true. If every proposed storage facility is built, and the proposed water recycling and desalination projects are also eventually completed, Newsom’s water supply strategy will add about half that much. Even so, his plan is timely and much needed, but making it happen will require unprecedented compromises from California’s powerful environmentalist lobby.
-Written by Edward Ring, co-founder of the California Policy Center, a libertarian think tank, and the author of “The Abundance Choice – Our Fight for More Water in California.”​

Aquafornia news The New York Times

California approves a wave of aggressive new climate measures

California, with an economy that ranks as the world’s fifth-largest, embarked this week on its most aggressive effort yet to confront climate change, after lawmakers passed a flurry of bills designed to cut emissions and speed away from fossil fuels. Legislators approved a record $54 billion in climate spending and passed sweeping new restrictions on oil and gas drilling as well as a mandate that California stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by 2045. … [A]s record-breaking heat, drought and wildfires have battered the state, [Gov. Gavin] Newsom has faced increasing pressure to do more. 

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Aquafornia news Colorado Public Radio

In Boulder visit, Nancy Pelosi calls on Western states to lead the charge on Colorado River issues

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the National Center for Atmospheric Research — the campus in Boulder that’s a hub for scientists studying climate change and water — on Wednesday. … she and Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse promoted Democrats’ recent climate and tax package. The new law… includes $4 billion for water conservation efforts along the Colorado River. The aid comes as reservoirs on the river have dropped to unheard-of levels, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has announced cuts that will limit water supplies to some lower-basin states and Mexico.  Asked how the federal government should intervene in the tense negotiations between the watershed states, Pelosi stressed that Congress would look to the states to lead the way.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California legislators passed the most ambitious climate package ever. Here’s what it does

California legislators passed the state’s most sweeping and aggressive climate change package ever Wednesday night, narrowly agreeing to the final pieces hours before they adjourned for the year. They approved measures that will require the state to become carbon-neutral by 2045, produce 90% of its electricity from clean sources by 2035, create safety zones around oil wells near homes and draft rules for carbon capture technology, which aims to pull emissions from the air and inject it underground.

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Aquafornia news KVPR

New funding promises clean water for drought-stricken Tooleville

New funding from the California Department of Water Resources promises to help a struggling Tulare County town clean up its water and turn on its taps. Tooleville, a rural community of about 200 people at the base of the Sierra Nevada, has only intermittently had water since its second well recently failed – the latest victim of California’s intensifying megadrought. … Even when the well produces water, it’s often contaminated with unsafe levels of nitrates, a byproduct of nearby agriculture cultivation that can reduce oxygen levels in the blood.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Low-income Californians to get help paying water bills

California’s water affordability crisis has been simmering for years as water rate increases have outpaced inflation, rising 45% between 2007 and 2015 alone. By September 2021, nearly 650,000 residential and 46,000 business accounts owed more than $315 million in unpaid water and wastewater bills. Latino and Black communities have been hit the hardest, with higher average debt. About half a million account holders had their water shut off for unpaid bills in 2019, according to state data. California lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Monday and Tuesday to offer assistance: A bill that creates a new state program to help low-income Californians … pay their water and sewage bills is now expected to be sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom for his signature.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: California can’t waver on water regulation

Over the past decade, California has gone from being the state with the least groundwater regulation to adopting a law that serves as an international model. How the state implements its landmark groundwater law during California’s worst drought on record could inform global climate change adaptation practices for generations.  The Golden State has one shot over the course of the next 20 years to bring its depleted aquifers into balance and achieve sustainability. Californians are counting on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act to get the state there.
-Written by Samantha Arthur, working lands program director at Audubon California; and Ngodoo Atume, a water policy analyst at Clean Water Action. Arthur and Atume serve on the Groundwater Leadership Forum.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

State funding brings small San Joaquin Valley town closer to long-term drinking water solution

The two-street town of Tooleville finally saw significant progress in a decades-long quest for clean drinking water this week when the state Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced $7.2 million in funding for an interim connection project. Tooleville will be hooked up to the nearby city of Exeter’s water system, something advocates and Tooleville residents have been asking for since the 2010s. … Tooleville has been plagued by contaminated water for decades. Most residents rely on bottled water. And the ongoing drought has resulted in surrounding farmers pumping more groundwater, dropping Tooleville’s water table and repeatedly drying up its two aging community wells. 

Aquafornia news Herald and News

Klamath Basin to receive $26M from federal infrastructure package

Millions of dollars in federal funding is beginning to flow into the drought-stricken Klamath Basin that will be used for a variety of projects to improve water quality, irrigation efficiency and stabilize populations of endangered fish. The U.S. Department of the Interior previously earmarked $162 million over five years for the basin. It comes from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed in 2021. Officials announced the rollout of $26 million Tuesday, Aug. 23, calling it an “historic” investment for the region that has endured decades of conflict over water management for farms, ranches and several species of endangered fish.

Aquafornia news Roll Call

Western drought funding pushes feds and states to cooperate

The climate and social spending package boosted funding levels for Western drought mitigation projects to an unprecedented level — one that water advocates in the region say the U.S. may never see again.  But how the Interior Department decides who gets what water from the dwindling resources in the West, particularly in the Colorado River Basin that is facing a drought crisis, could make or break the historic funding, experts say.  The budget reconciliation bill signed Aug. 16 by President Joe Biden provides $4 billion for Western drought and water projects.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Friday Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers urge Justice Department to investigate ‘drought profiteering’ as water prices soar to historic highs

California lawmakers are ratcheting up calls for “urgent action” by the U.S. Justice Department to investigate potential water crimes as the state battles “dire” supply shortages and drought. The bipartisan group told U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland that, along with ongoing concern about possible “drought profiteering” and water theft, worry is building that “fraud and market manipulation” is constraining already severely limited water availability. … [F]our state lawmakers including Democratic Senator Melissa Hurtado and Republican Assembly Member Suzette Valladares … raised concerns that large landowners could be using questionable groundwater data from private consulting firms to manipulate small farmers into selling their land.

Aquafornia news Ceres Courier

Opinion: Proposed budget doesn’t do justice to water storage

Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative Democrats had the opportunity to alleviate the state’s twin crises of drought and wildfire by including resources for ongoing funding, prescribed burning and water storage in this year’s budget. These solutions are not new, but they require political will. In light of the haunting memories of past catastrophic wildfires, this year’s budget will miss an opportunity. Sacramento failed to learn from its past mistakes. The proposed budget provides $258 million – a reduction from a proposed $1 billion – for wildfire prevention and response efforts and $3 billion for drought, but lacks any water storage commitment. Critical details are lacking, with discussions ongoing.
-Written by Vince Fong, a Republican representing Bakersfield in the state Assembly. 

Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: California is not prepared for drought

This past month was a major setback for California’s diverse freshwater ecosystems. Drought preparedness bill AB 2451, representing real hope for water scarcity, likely failed, and Governor Newsom introduced a Water Supply Strategy that is an important step but inadequate for the protection of freshwater ecosystems – especially in the face of the ongoing climate crisis. Here at CalTrout, we balance the needs of fish, water, and people. We recognize that the California we know and love is a functionally altered landscape. 

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: 15 California communities to receive drought funding amid extreme conditions

As part of ongoing efforts to help small communities address water supply challenges amid extreme drought and build water resilience for the future, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced its eighth round of funding through the Small Community Drought Relief Program. In coordination with the State Water Resources Control Board, the program will provide $40 million to 15 projects in Butte, Humboldt, Lake, Madera, Mariposa, Placer, San Luis Obispo, Riverside, Sierra, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Ventura and Yolo counties. Of the selected projects, 12 will directly benefit disadvantaged communities to implement long-term solutions such as pipeline replacement, well installation, and infrastructure upgrades to improve water resilience and water quality.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Pure Water Oceanside awarded $9.9 million federal grant

Pure Water Oceanside has been awarded a $9.9 million grant following a recommendation by the office of U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, it was announced Tuesday. The funding will be awarded via the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART: Title XVI WIIN Water Reclamation and Reuse Projects funding, a statement from the city read. Oceanside is one of 25 applicants named for this funding.

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Aquafornia news Governing.com

What does the Inflation Reduction Act do for state and local government?

At a White House ceremony on Tuesday, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law, fulfilling one of the key promises of his campaign by committing unprecedented federal resources to the fight against climate change. … The IRA allocates $369 billion over 10 years for energy security and climate relief, $64 billion for extending the Affordable Care Act and $4 billion to address the water crisis in the western states. … Other grant programs offer billions to improve quality of life in these communities by establishing urban forests and parks, for community resilience and water supply projects in communities that lack reliable domestic water supplies.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Vulnerable Democrats bet on drought money to quench parched West

Sen. Mark Kelly relied on numbers to persuade key Democrats this summer, including pivotal negotiator Sen. Joe Manchin, to squeeze $4 billion more into the tax, health, and climate bill to address severe drought in the West. Kelly (D-Ariz.) and a handful of other Western senators knew they needed upwards of $5 billion in the package for drought, but the starting point in negotiations was $1 billion. The former astronaut and naval aviator had to explain to some of his colleagues that “the math just didn’t work,” he said in an interview last week. … Along with fellow Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Colorado’s Michael Bennet, and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Kelly ultimately secured $4 billion in the package (Public Law 117-169), which President Joe Biden signed earlier this week.

Aquafornia news Daily Breeze

Editorial: Gov. Newsom’s wise move on water policy

Gubernatorial administrations since Arnold Schwarzenegger have prioritized the battle against climate change. We’ve taken issue with the costs and effectiveness of many of those policies, but our biggest beef has centered on the issue of resilience. California can do little to change the entire Earth’s climate, but it can enable the state to adapt and become resilient in the face of warming conditions. That concept is particularly crucial when it comes to the availability of water, which is the lifeblood of our society — especially given our generally arid conditions.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Federal officials announce $310 million in funding to combat ‘megadrought’

On a tour of increasingly parched California on Thursday, U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland visited a water recycling project in Irvine to tout her department’s allocation of more than $310 million to combat a western “megadrought” fueled largely by climate change. Joined by Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton, Haaland stood before heavy equipment at the Syphon Reservoir Improvement Project and said she felt “overjoyed” to announce the funding of 25 water recycling projects, 20 of which are in California…. Another water official, however, voiced frustration over how the federal government awarded assistance, and said there needed to be a “new paradigm” for grants in the face of recurring drought.

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Aquafornia news Daily Kos

Blog: Governor Newsom asks legislature to deliver 3,200 ft. setbacks on new and existing wells

Environmental justice groups today applauded California Governor Gavin Newsom’s action on health and safety buffer zones for oil and gas wells while at the same time warning that the Governor’s overreliance on carbon capture will lock in fossil fuel infrastructure. Governor Newsom has asked the state legislature to end neighborhood oil drilling as part of a climate package he’s aiming to pass before the end of the year’s legislative session on August 31, according to a press statement from VISION (Voices in Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods), a coalition of climate and environmental justice groups. 

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Disadvantaged communities in northern California

Northern California is home to nearly four million people, from downtown Sacramento to mountain towns to small farming communities. Of those four million, approximately 600,000 are living in disadvantaged communities. For the past decade, the Legislature and Governor have implemented various policies to support disadvantaged communities in California, ensuring these communities have access to reliable, clean water when they turn on the tap.  This dynamic was particularly vivid with the recognition of a Human Right to Water (HR2W) in 2012, making California the first state to enact legislation recognizing “safe, clean, affordable, and accessible” water as a human right. 

Tour Nick Gray

San Joaquin River Restoration Tour 2022
Field Trip - November 2-3

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

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

Click here to register!

Hampton Inn & Suites Fresno
327 E Fir Ave
Fresno, CA 93720

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

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

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

Western Water By Gary Pitzer

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

The Resource

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

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

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

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

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

Foundation Event

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

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

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

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

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

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

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

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

Water 101 Workshop: The Basics and Beyond

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

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

McGeorge School of Law
3327 5th Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95817
Western Water Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Map Gary Pitzer

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

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

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

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

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

Western Water Gary Pitzer

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Optional Groundwater Tour

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

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

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

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

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

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

Western Water Layperson's Guide to Groundwater Gary Pitzer

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

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

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

Western Water California Water Bundle Gary Pitzer

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

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

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

Foundation Event University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law

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

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

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

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

San Joaquin River Restoration Tour 2018

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

Fishery worker capturing a fish in the San Joaquin River.

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

Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)

A man watches as a groundwater pump pours water onto a field in Northern California.A new era of groundwater management began in 2014 with the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which aims for local and regional agencies to develop and implement sustainable groundwater management plans with the state as the backstop.

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

Publication

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

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

Aquapedia background

Salton Sea

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

Aquapedia background

Safe Drinking Water Act

Safe Drinking Water Act

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

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

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

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

Western Water Magazine

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

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

Western Water Magazine

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

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

Western Water Magazine

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

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

Western Water Magazine

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

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

Western Water Magazine

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

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

Western Water Magazine

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

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

Western Water Magazine

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

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

Western Water Magazine

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

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

Western Water Magazine

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

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

Western Water Magazine

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

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

Video

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

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

Video

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

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

Video

Shaping of the West: 100 Years of Reclamation

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

Maps & Posters

San Joaquin River Restoration Map
Published 2012

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

Maps & Posters

Carson River Basin Map
Published 2006

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

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Water Rights Law
Updated 2020

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

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Water Recycling
Updated 2013

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

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Water Marketing
Updated 2005

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

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

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to the State Water Project
Updated 2013

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

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management
Published 2013

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

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater
Updated 2017

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

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Flood Management
Updated 2009

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

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to California Water
Updated 2021

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

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project
Updated 2021

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

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to the Delta
Updated 2020

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

Aquapedia background

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Litigation

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

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

Aquapedia background

National Environmental Policy Act

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

According to the Department of Energy, administrator of NEPA:

Aquapedia background

Judge Wanger Rulings

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

Aquapedia background

Groundwater Legislation

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

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

Aquapedia background

Federal Reserved Rights

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

Aquapedia background

Federal Endangered Species Act

Federal Endangered Species Act

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

Aquapedia background

California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act

North Fork of the American River,  a section deemed wild and scenic. California’s Legislature passed the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1972, following the passage of the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by Congress in 1968. Under California law, “[c]ertain rivers which possess extraordinary scenic, recreational, fishery, or wildlife values shall be preserved in their free-flowing state, together with their immediate environments, for the benefit and enjoyment of the people of the state.”

Rivers are classified as:

Aquapedia background

California Endangered Species Act

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

Aquapedia background

Area-of-Origin and California Water

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

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

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

Western Water Excerpt Gary PitzerRita Schmidt Sudman

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

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

Western Water Excerpt Gary PitzerRita Schmidt Sudman

Thirty Years of the Clean Water Act
Nov/Dec 2002

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

Western Water Excerpt Rita Schmidt Sudman

The Davis Administration and California Water
Mar/Apr 1999

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

Western Water Excerpt Rita Schmidt Sudman

CVP Improvement Act Update
May/Jun 1997

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