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 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.

Related articles:

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 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 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 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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Aquafornia news Sen. Dianne Feinstein

News release: Feinstein bill would reduce border pollution, improve water quality

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced the Border Water Quality Restoration and Protection Act, a bill to reduce pollution along the U.S.-Mexico border and improve the water quality of the Tijuana and New rivers.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wide-ranging water infrastructure bill easily passes House

Legislation authorizing the Army Corps of Engineers to boost the nation’s water infrastructure, protect waterways from emerging contaminants, and bolster coastal shorelines sailed through the House Wednesday. On a voice vote, the House used a procedure reserved for mostly non-controversial legislation to pass the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act of 2020…

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Panel approves energy, land and water bills

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved several bills yesterday to address tribal energy, land and water resources.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Environmental justice leaders hail $17 million in House bill

The House on Friday passed a minibus (H.R. 7608) that includes $17 million overall for environmental justice programs at the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s a significant boost from the $9.55 million provided in the fiscal 2020 enacted budget for environmental justice activities.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Federal bill could mean huge investment in California national parks and improved access for communities of color

Congress passed perhaps one of the largest conservation bills in the past 75 years last week. The Great American Outdoors Act, if signed into law, would help prop up national parks and repair deteriorating infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Feinstein bill would fix SJ Valley canals

Feinstein’s Restoration of Essential Conveyance Act would authorize $800 million in federal funding to repair critical canals in the San Joaquin Valley damaged by land sinking from overpumping of groundwater, known as subsidence, and for environmental restoration.

Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

Bill that allows California to apply for swamp rat-eradication funding passes House

In 2003, Congress passed The Nutria Eradication and Control Act, which established a fund to help Maryland and Louisiana battle the animals. Recently, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation that now allows California to also receive support. The bill now heads to the Senate.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California measure aims to protect almost a third of state’s land and oceans, increase access for people of color

If Assembly Bill AB 3030 becomes law, it would create a state goal to keep at least 30% of California’s land and waterways free from development and other human impacts, such as overfishing and climate change, by the year 2030. It would also help protect 30% of the nation’s oceans by that same year.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Central Valley could get federal aid for drinking water crisis. Will Trump support it?

Central Valley neighborhoods are a step closer to new money to fix broken water systems and access clean, safe drinking water — if the White House and Congress agree on an infrastructure package currently moving through the U.S. House of Representatives.

Aquafornia news The Hill

House Democrats add some ‘forever chemicals’ provisions to defense bill after spiking major amendment

House Democrats added several amendments aiming to regulate a class of cancer-linked chemicals called PFAS to a defense spending bill Monday. The additions followed the failure of the chamber to add a broader amendment that would tackle the substances.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Senate panel reviews bills to address irrigation, conservation

Senators met yesterday to consider a suite of legislation to address water problems in the American West, though little was revealed about what comes next for the bills.

Aquafornia news E&E News

House sends lands bill to Trump against political backdrop

The legislation, H.R. 1957, would provide the Land and Water Conservation Fund with $900 million annually — the first time the program has ever been guaranteed full, yearly funding since its creation in 1964. It also would establish a trust fund to start winding down some of a $20 billion backlog of deferred maintenance projects at national parks and on public lands.

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Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Blog: House FY21 spending bill includes no new direct WIFIA appropriations

The House EPA bill for FY21 is in most respects a uniquely strong package for water, aiming to address the nation’s clean water investment need. … One alarming issue, however, is that the House bill provides no new direct appropriations for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.

Aquafornia news Rep. John Garamendi

News release: Garamendi secures wins for Delta and Central Valley in Water Resources Development Act

“I secured provisions in this bill to authorize and expedite construction of flood protection and aquatic ecosystem restoration projects, address harmful algal blooms in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and give local agencies greater flexibility in using federal Army Corps funds to meet local needs.”

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Feds may cover half of Friant-Kern Canal fix

On July 6, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency that oversees the canal, finalized a feasibility report for Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project. Under section 4007 of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, the bureau’s report means up to 50% of the total project costs can be requested from the U.S. Department of the Interior and subsequently appropriated by Congress for construction.

Aquafornia news Silicon Valley Voice

Plans to keep region safe from Anderson Dam failure move forward

The Anderson Reservoir in Morgan Hill held back by a 240-foot dam built in 1950 could be rebuilt following the State Assembly’s passage of AB 3005 in June. … The project would cost about $576 million but still needs to pass through the State Senate.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Thursday Top of the Scroll: House panel approves major water infrastructure measure

A multibillion-dollar measure that would help build, repair, and maintain a wide variety of water infrastructure projects sailed through the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Wednesday. Approved unanimously by voice vote, the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (H.R. 7575) would authorize the Army Corps of Engineers every two years to carry out specific projects and feasibility studies.

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Aquafornia news CalTrout

Blog: Sen. Kamala Harris Introduces the Waters for Tomorrow Act

This legislation will ensure the nation’s water supply is safe and sustainable. The Water for Tomorrow Act will combine the water sustainability measures from Sen. Harris’ Water Justice Act with key measures from the FUTURE Drought Resiliency Act, led in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA).

Aquafornia news Food & Water Watch

News release: Nearly 300 organizations oppose nefarious “voluntary water partnership” bill

Nearly 300 national, state and local organizations sent a letter to Senate leaders Monday calling for the rejection of a controversial bill that would coerce struggling communities into selling off vital public water resources.

Aquafornia news Rep. Grace Napolitano

News release: Napolitano and Sánchez announce $384.9 million to complete Whittier Narrows Dam safety project

Reps. Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA-32) and Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA-38) announced that the FY2021 Energy and Water Appropriations bill is providing $384,900,000 as part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Dam Safety and Seepage Program.

Aquafornia news Sen. Kamala Harris

News release: Water for Tomorrow Act

U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris is introducing the Water for Tomorrow Act, which combines the water sustainability measures from her Water Justice Act with key measures from the FUTURE Drought Resiliency Act that were included in H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act. The Water for Tomorrow Act will make a nearly $3 billion investment…

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Money to repair Central Valley canal in House bill. A large funding gap remains

South San Joaquin Valley farmers have a reason to celebrate this week: Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives appropriated $200 million to fix the Friant-Kern Canal. The bill also includes funding to repair the Delta-Mendota Canal and for two Northern California reservoirs.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Opinion: NEPA suspension, infrastructure bill put wetlands at risk

Rollbacks of the Clean Water Act and the executive order to suspend the National Environmental Policy Act are meant to save costs and cut red tape. However, Jeremy Schewe, professional wetland scientist, explains these efforts will ultimately lead to far greater expense to business, society, and the planet, especially when combined with the House proposed infrastructure stimulus package.

Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

A big rat in Congress helped California farmers in their war against invasive species

California Rep. Josh Harder needed a way to convince the U.S. House of Representatives to pay attention to his speech about invasive species during a meeting in February. So he brought in a hefty rat carcass and laid it on the table next to him. The taxidermied rat … convinced the House to unanimously pass a bill that supports eradication efforts in states infested with nutria, large rodents also known as swamp rats that are native to South America. 

Aquafornia news Ramona Sentinel

Local leaders discuss impacts of water conservation laws

Four elected officials representing area water districts expressed frustration with state laws aimed at water conservation during an American Liberty Forum of Ramona informational meeting. 

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

More funds may flow to Friant-Kern Canal fix

More federal funds may be flowing to fix the Friant-Kern Canal. On June 22, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) sent a letter to Congress requesting $134 million for water storage projects be funded through the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. More than half of the funding, $71 million, was requested for preconstruction and construction of the Friant-Kern Canal Capacity Correction project.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

House passes massive infrastructure package

The House passed a massive $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that would help the nation rebuild its crumbling roads and bridges, combat climate change, and promote clean energy and clean drinking water.

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Aquafornia news The Sun

Opinion: Damming up water progress throws California’s future into limbo

Get ready… here comes the true California water cycle: It begins with headlines and quotes warning of pending disaster based on what could, might, maybe, or possibly happen over the state’s water infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Action News Now.com

California budget includes critical funding promised to the Paradise Irrigation District

The $202 billion budget signed by Governor Gavin Newsom Monday evening includes the $7.3 million promised to the Paradise Irrigation District to help sustain it following the devastating Camp Fire. The funding is considered critical to providing clean water to residents for rebuilding efforts. The money was not included in the Governor’s May revise budget proposal but was included in the final spending plan.  

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A glimpse at California’s new $202-billion state budget

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signed into law key provisions of a new state budget, a spending plan that seeks to erase a historic deficit while preserving service levels for schools, healthcare and social services. … Elsewhere, the budget adds four more years of additional CalFresh benefits for those who live in communities without reliable access to safe drinking water.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Moving Forward Act provides funding for Central Valley water, Friant-Kern Canal

The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has approved H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act. The legislative package would provide $1.5 trillion for the nation’s infrastructure needs. Included in the bill is funding for Central Valley water needs and Friant-Kern Canal repairs. The package is expected to be passed by the U.S. House of Representatives next week.

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Bolster our communities by investing in water

In California, especially in agriculture, water is often portrayed as an instigator of division. But this ignores an important lesson that COVID-19 has made even clearer — none of us are as healthy or resilient as we could be until everyone has safe and affordable water.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Friday Top of the Scroll: Water agencies and advocates join in seeking federal funds to reduce water costs

The coalition sent a second letter this week to California’s congressional delegation urging support for provisions in the HEROES Act, the relief bill now under consideration, that would help ensure consumers have access to clean water as massive unemployment has led to a spike in water bill delinquencies.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

$71 million would be allocated for Friant-Kern Canal

The Department of Interior has requested $71 million be spent on improvements for the Friant-Kern Canal for the 2021 fiscal year. The funding for the Friant-Kern Canal accounts for most of the $108.7 of funding for water storage projects in California the Department of Interior is requesting. Congress will now consider approving the funding in the 2021 fiscal year energy and water appropriations bill.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

In letter to Congress, water agencies call for drinking water relief funding

Earlier this week, a broad coalition of water agencies delivered a letter to Congress advocating for more funding. The letter, submitted Monday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other California Congressional delegates, argues that billions of federal dollars are still needed for water infrastructure maintenance and assistance with water bills.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Proposals to watch in Democrats’ infrastructure behemoth

House Democrats attached a provision to the bill that would look to introduce additional dam and hydropower safety inspections and analysis to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permitting process. … House Democrats included various provisions that would boost drinking water protections and infrastructure, harden water systems against the threat of climate change, and provide a financial lifeline for tribal water and wastewater systems.

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Aquafornia news Politico

Democrats’ new rescue bill seeks water assistance, shutoff moratorium

House Democrats’ new economic rescue plan includes $1.5 billion to help low-income households cover their water bills and a moratorium on utility service shutoffs for any entity receiving federal relief funds, but they omitted any measures to address climate change or boost clean energy that had been sought by green groups.

Aquafornia news HuffPost

Senate passes major public lands bill

In a rare display of bipartisanship, the U.S. Senate has passed a sweeping public lands package that both addresses the ballooning maintenance backlog at national parks and provides full, permanent funding for the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program established in 1964 to protect natural areas and water resources.

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Aquafornia news Politico

Video: America’s environmental future: The water solution

On Monday, June 15, POLITICO held a virtual deep-dive panel discussion on the policies and legislation needed at the state, regional and federal levels to meet the water needs of Western states and secure long-term solutions at a time when the attention and resources of local and state leaders are consumed by the pandemic crisis.

Aquafornia news KESQ News

California legislature votes to keep funding for Salton Sea project in state budget proposal

The California legislature voted Monday to keep the Salton Sea in its budget proposal sent to Governor Gavin Newsom. Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia said he’s pleased the legislature found a way to allocate some funding for the Salton Sea despite the fiscal challenges created by the pandemic.

Aquafornia news Engineering News-Record

California Assembly passes expedited Dam Safety for Silicon Valley Act

In an effort to move forward a $576 million Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project, the California State Assembly passed AB 3005 on June 8, the Expedited Dam Safety for Silicon Valley Act, facilitating the construction of the project. Assemblyman Robert Rivas (D-Hollister, Calif.), who wrote the bill, says the overwhelming vote of bipartisan support shows the importance in fixing the dam.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

PFAS cleanup backers face unexpected foe: Water utilities

PFAS chemicals have invaded the nation’s water supply, thanks mostly to discharges from manufacturers and the use of firefighting foam by the military. Utilities are concerned about being stuck with major expenses if the compounds are declared “hazardous” under the federal Superfund law. They have also resisted efforts in Congress to push what they see as overly broad enforcement limits on PFAS in drinking water.

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Aquafornia news AgNet West

Legislation seeks to address San Joaquin Valley canals

New legislation was recently introduced that will address several issues facing San Joaquin Valley canals. The Restoration of Essential Conveyance Act was introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein as a means for repairing water conveyance damaged by subsidence.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Water, highway bills among must-pass legislation, Hoyer says

House Democrats will focus this summer on passing essential legislation, including the Water Resources Development Act, a highway reauthorization bill, and appropriations measures, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday. … In early May, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee advanced two major water infrastructure bills (S. 3591 and (S. 3590) that are awaiting floor action.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Water stakeholders try to compel reps for water funding

Last week a diverse coalition of 59 broad-based organizations, which collectively represents both California front-line communities as well as more than 450 California water agencies … urged the California congressional delegation to include funding for urgent water infrastructure and water affordability needs as part of the next federal stimulus package titled the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act …

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: EPA takes next step to implement PFAS legislation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took the next step to implement an important per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) requirement of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA added 172 PFAS to the list of chemicals required to be reported to the Toxics Release Inventory and established a 100-pound reporting threshold for these substances.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Why I’m visiting the California Capitol to testify on groundwater

My colleagues and I worked with Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), to craft AB 2642, which will create the Multibenefit Land Conversion Incentive Program… This new program will provide incentive payments to farmers and landowners who voluntarily repurpose their agricultural land to other less water-intensive uses for a minimum of 10 years.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Senate panel moves major water bills, adding PFAS actions

The Senate’s environment panel pushed through two major water infrastructure bills Wednesday, rejecting a GOP member’s attempt to give Western states more authority over water supplies but agreeing to direct the EPA to set drinking water limits for “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Major water infrastructure bills move ahead in Senate, House

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works gathered the last few comments on Friday on its plans to move two mammoth water infrastructure packages this year. … At the same time, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is gearing up to introduce its own big water bill, which should come by month’s end and be marked up over the summer, according to a committee aide.

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Aquafornia news ABC News Bakersfield

California allocates $5 million for lead testing in child care centers

The State Water Resources Control Board has executed an agreement to provide approximately $5 million in grant funds for testing and remediation of lead in drinking water at licensed Child Care Centers in California.

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Aquafornia news Comstock's Magazine

Delta Blues

The battle over water has been fought to a standstill, but there’s hope that science and technology will make voluntary agreements by all sides possible.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Lawmakers push for inclusion of ‘forever chemical’ regulation in future stimulus bill

A group of more than 80 members of Congress is pushing for the inclusion of provisions to regulate a class of cancer-linked chemicals in future stimulus legislation dealing with infrastructure. The chemicals, known as PFAS, are also sometimes called “forever chemicals” because of their persistence in both the environment and the human body.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

Report: Arizona’s Colorado River water supply will hold steady next year

Under the drought contingency plan hammered out by Colorado River Basin states last year, Arizona agreed to voluntarily reduce its water use by 192,000 acre-feet, or about 7%, leaving that water in Lake Mead to help reduce the likelihood of greater cutbacks down the road. Tom Buschatzke, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, says data from a new Bureau of Reclamation report show that plan is working.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

House bill would ban water shutoffs, require water service reconnection

Legislation introduced in the House on Friday would offer states and tribes $1.5 billion to aid low-income households with their water bills. There is a catch. To receive aid, states and tribes must agree not to turn off water to homes during the coronavirus public health emergency. They must also agree to reconnect water service to homes in which water was previously turned off.

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.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Democrats, nonprofits urge Congress to help keep water flowing

Republican and Democratic congressional leaders were urged Tuesday to include at least $12.5 billion in stimulus funds to help people struggling to pay their water and sewer bills. Congress is preparing another stimulus package that will include billions of dollars to improve the nation’s aging water and sewer infrastructure.

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Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

COVID-19 complicates proposed Napa ballot measures about cannabis and watershed protection

Gathering signatures for two proposed Napa County ballot measures – one on rural, commercial cannabis cultivation, the other on watershed protections – is a daunting task amid COVID-19 shutdown orders. Californians are to shelter-at-home except when engaged in “essential” tasks such as buying food. Yet each measure needs more than 7,000 signatures from registered voters by May 8 to qualify for the Nov. 3 ballot.

Aquafornia news California Healthline

California isn’t testing enough children for lead, prompting legislation

In some parts of California, a higher percentage of children who were tested had elevated levels of toxic lead in their blood than in Flint, Michigan, during the height of that city’s water crisis.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Homeless camps damage California’s levees; proposed legislation would protect the barriers

California’s homeless crisis is one of the state’s top issues, but the least discussed aspect of this broad problem is the damage these homeless encampments cause to our levees. … Large trenches dug into the side of levees impact the integrity and stability of our protective barriers that are engineered to keep our homes and community from flooding.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Senate Democrats unveil $20B bill to battle ‘forever chemical’ contamination

A new bill from Senate Democrats would roll out $20 billion in funding to remove cancer-linked “forever chemicals” from water as it contaminates supplies across the country.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Western water reuse, conservation bills approved by House panel

The House Natural Resources Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to approve bills offered by California Democrats to reauthorize grant programs to provide reliable water supplies through reuse and desalination projects. Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said he supported the water bills because Western states have been hit hard by drought conditions worsened by climate change.

Aquafornia news E&E News

LWCF, parks bills head to Senate floor after Trump tweet

One day after President Trump tweeted his support, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is expected to take steps today to bring to the floor legislation that would permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and address the national parks maintenance backlog, senators said. … Trump’s tweet was an election-year about-face from his latest budget proposal, which recommended virtually eliminating the popular, bipartisan program.

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Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

What’s happened since Trump visited the Valley? Quite a bit

On Thursday, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation delivered its own salvo to the Newsom administration – it was pushing forward pre-construction work on raising Shasta Dam. … A push to raise the dam was made possible by the same law that delivered new biological opinions – the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, approved in the waning days of the Obama administration.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Lawmakers grill EPA chief over push to slash agency’s budget

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler appeared before lawmakers Thursday to defend a budget that would bring the agency to its lowest funding level in years. As with previous Trump administration budgets, lawmakers are expected to ignore the proposed 26 percent cut to the agency, one of the steepest in the budget.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Bills that would strengthen rural groundwater rules die in Arizona Legislature

Two bills that would make it easier for state regulators and county officials to limit well-drilling and groundwater pumping have died in the Arizona Legislature despite support from lawmakers and pleas from county officials who are asking for help to protect their rapidly declining aquifers.

Aquafornia news Fox40

House passes bill that would help California eradicate invasive swamp rat

Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA) brought someone special with him to push his nutria eradication bill on the House floor: a stuffed giant “swamp rat” he obtained from the USDA nicknamed Nellie. When Nellie was alive, she lived in Annapolis, Maryland.

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Foundation Event

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

Our Water 101 Workshop, one of our most popular events, offers 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 will be held as an engaging online event on the afternoons of Thursday, April 22 and Friday, April 23.

Click to register!

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego’s landmark water recycling project may face longer delays than expected

San Diego’s long-awaited Pure Water project, a sewage recycling system that would boost the city’s water independence, is facing legal challenges that could last longer and cost more than city officials previously anticipated.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona Senate committee shelves groundwater bill after debate

State senators heard impassioned pleas from supporters of proposed legislation that would make it easier for Arizona water regulators to limit well-drilling in farming areas where groundwater levels are falling. But in the end, the bill was set aside, its future uncertain.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

As Arizona weighs water bills, farms push back against reporting data

While the Arizona Legislature considers how to respond to problems of falling groundwater levels in rural areas, the agriculture industry is pushing back against proposals that would require owners of large wells across the state to measure and report how much water they’re pumping.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

New bills focus on measuring groundwater pumping in rural Arizona

Both Republicans and Democrats are backing measures in the Legislature that would enable Arizona to start measuring how much groundwater is pumped in unregulated rural areas where aquifers have been rapidly declining.

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Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Water bill designed to help bring clean water to Central Valley gets Republican opposition

A bill that could help disadvantaged Central Valley towns including ones in Tulare County provide safe and affordable drinking water is facing opposition by Republican critics, including GOP representatives from California. In December 2019, Rep. TJ Cox (D-Fresno) unveiled a $100 million proposal to make improvements in small towns suffering from contaminated drinking water.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Two valley congressmen have a say in whether House Dems probe water boost

Wednesday, the House Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to vote on a resolution granting Committee Chair Raul Grijalva (D–Ariz.) wide-ranging subpoena power over the Interior Department. One inquiry in the hopper: a closer look at the process that yielded the Trump Administration’s freshly-released biological opinions governing the federally-operated Central Valley Project.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump proposes deep energy, environmental cuts

Like last year, the White House wants to cut all non-defense discretionary spending by 5%. Non-nuclear spending at the Department of Energy would be cut 29%, EPA would be reduced by 27%, the Army Corps of Engineers would drop 22% and the Interior Department would fall by 13%.

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Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Once again, San Francisco officials are limiting public access to the majestic Hetch Hetchy Valley

In the waning moments of 2019, San Francisco’s Water Department persuaded Congress to deny long-promised access to unreachable areas of Yosemite National Park. This power play would ban environmentally benign boating on Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. The move reverses the guarantees of improved access and recreation which San Francisco made in 1913, when it pleaded with Congress to pass the Raker Act and allow it to build the reservoir in Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Unlikely allies push the White House to back cleaning pollution from the Tijuana River

With the backing of an unusual mix of local Democrats, Republicans, Border Patrol agents and environmental groups, House Democrats leveraged their support for the trade bill — one of Trump’s highest priorities — to secure the administration’s rare backing for an environmental project. Each group played a part.

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Aquafornia news The Center Square

Arizona bill would mandate efficient plumbing fixtures

Lawmakers in Arizona have proposed a new bill that would require toilets, faucets and other plumbing fixtures sold in the state to work more efficiently in an effort to save water. … If passed into law, HB 2737 would emulate rules in states like Texas, Colorado, California, Oregon, and New York state that all require WaterSense certified fixtures in all new construction.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Moving forward with infrastructure climate solutions

Congressional leaders unveiled a transformative vision of moving America and the environment forward by investing in 21st century infrastructure. The Moving Forward Framework outlines a five-year plan for bold investment in transportation and water infrastructure.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California canals damaged by sinking soil, groundwater pumping. New bills aim to help

Democratic congressman from Fresno introduced two pieces of legislation that aim to repair aging canals and water infrastructure in California that’s been damaged by sinking ground levels – called subsidence, caused by groundwater pumping.

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Aquafornia news KQED News

State senator introduces plan for California to take over PG&E

State Sen. Scott Wiener will unveil legislation today to let the state of California seize control of the embattled utility PG&E. Wiener’s bill … would use eminent domain to force the company’s stockholders to sell their shares to the state of California, which would then take over operations.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez bill would outlaw fracking by 2025

A bill introduced last week by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) helped craft would ban fracking nationwide by 2025, according to its newly unveiled text. The legislation would immediately prevent federal agencies from issuing federal permits for expanded fracking, new fracking, new pipelines, new natural gas or oil export terminals and other gas and oil infrastructure.

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Aquafornia news CALmatters

Why California’s environmental policies aren’t enough for this state lawmaker

Assemblyman Rob Bonta is proposing a far-reaching California Green New Deal to address climate change while prioritizing historically marginalized groups… The bill would extend the rights of Californians to include things like access to clean air and water; justice for institutional – including environmental – racism; debt-free public education through college, and affordable health care.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Bill Summary: H.R. 1132, San Francisco Bay Restoration

A San Francisco Bay Program Office would be established at the Environmental Protection Agency to make grants for estuary conservation and other water-related initiatives under a modified version of H.R. 1132. The bill would authorize $25 million annually for the office for fiscal 2021 through 2025.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Friant-Kern, drinking water reviewed: Subcommittee hearing on two Cox bills

Congress began the process of providing relief to the San Joaquin Valley when it comes to the Friant-Kern Canal and clean drinking water in rural communities when a subcommittee held a hearing on two bills sponsored by T.J. Cox.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

As Iowa caucuses approach, where do Democratic candidates stand on water?

Water issues are gaining new prominence in the Democratic presidential race as candidates react to rising public concerns about drinking water pollution, failing infrastructure, and the perceived inability of state and federal governments to fix the problems.

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Aquafornia news Action News Now

North State lawmakers introduce legislation to help save Paradise water

Assemblyman James Gallagher introduced new legislation Monday that will help expedite construction of the Paradise Irrigation District intertie project. PID said after the Camp Fire, a rough estimate of customers lost was around 9,000, nearly its entire customer base. The District is searching for new revenue streams to sustain itself …

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Bill would block transfers of Colorado River water to Arizona cities

A company’s proposal to take water from farmland along the Colorado River and sell it to a growing Phoenix suburb has provoked a heated debate, and some Arizona legislators are trying to block the deal with a bill that would prohibit the transfer.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Bonds on the ballot: Will billions of dollars help California cope with climate change?

Competing plans for “climate resiliency” bonds come from three sides of state government: the Assembly, the Senate and Gov. Gavin Newsom. … Resilience projects are aimed not so much at preventing sea level rise, wildfires, droughts and extreme heatwaves, but helping people and communities survive. 

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: California can make lowly water heaters mighty climate tools

In a groundbreaking vote, California has allocated nearly $45 million toward boosting highly efficient electric heat pump technology that can help avoid burning fossil fuels to heat our water, as well as store California’s abundant pollution-free solar energy to give us piping-hot showers when the sun isn’t shining.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Policy changes assist water patrons

Palmdale Water District customers will have more protections before their water service may be shut off for neglecting to pay their bills on time, following policy changes approved Monday. The changes reflect the requirements of Senate Bill 998, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2018.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

House passes PFAS chemicals bill to push water standards

House lawmakers passed a bill Friday for U.S. regulators to designate chemicals found in cooking spray, cosmetics and other grease-resistant products as health hazards. Known as polyfluoroalkyl and perfluorooctanoic substances (PFAS and PFOS), the chemicals have been found in groundwater sites across the nation.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Hill

Trump officials voice opposition to ‘forever chemical’ bill

The White House announced Tuesday that President Trump would likely veto legislation designed to manage a class of cancer-linked chemicals leaching into the water supply. The chemicals, known by the abbreviation PFAS, are used in a variety of nonstick products such as raincoats, cookware and packaging and have been found in nearly every state in the country.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California Democrat rolls out green new deal to fight climate change, poverty

Citing a lack of action by Congress and the Trump administration, a group of California Democrats said it’s up to the state to continue fighting the “existential” threat of climate change by simultaneously cutting greenhouse gas emissions and improving the standard of living for low-income communities and people of color.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: 2 bills could decide fate of critical Friant-Kern Canal in 2020. Will reps outside Valley care?

A duo of bills, at the state and federal level, will likely determine the fate of the Friant-Kern Canal in a legislative year that is shaping up to be pivotal for Central Valley growers and ag communities.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday Top of the Scroll: California eyes climate bond to prepare for disasters

Lawmakers in the Democratic-dominated state Legislature return to work Monday for the second year of a two-year session. Their to-do list includes a $4.2 billion climate bond, an ambitious proposal to borrow money before they need it to prepare for the types of natural disasters that have plagued the state.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Broad-ranging PFAS chemicals bill on House floor next week

A bill that would require the EPA to regulate PFAS, an emerging family of chemicals contaminating U.S. municipal and private water supplies, is slated to be the first major legislation that the House will take up in 2020.

Aquafornia news Nature

Opinion: Drink more recycled wastewater

Legislation needs to be implemented to lessen pollution. And all sectors — public and private — need to be educated about the importance of saving water, as does society more broadly. High on the list should be efforts to investigate the benefits and risks of drinking reused water, including ways to make it more acceptable to consumers.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: US senator proposes money, oversight to boost dam safety

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday called for more federal money and oversight to shore up the nation’s aging dams following an Associated Press investigation that found scores of potentially troubling dams located near homes and communities across the country.

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