Topic: Legislation — California and Federal


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 Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Amid Oroville emergency, California Legislature moves to make flood-control fixes

As heavy winter storms continue to hammer California, the Legislature is launching a review of dam and levee safety and bracing for major investments necessary to shore up flood control throughout the state.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California farmers hope Congress and Trump team can deliver irrigation drain deal

The political terrain appears favorable for a mega-million-dollar irrigation drainage deal, with Congress still fully in Republican hands and California’s sprawling Westlands Water District with influential allies. But there are complications.

Other Event

WELL 2018 Annual Conference
Water, Weather and Warning! Is your community prepared for extreme weather events?

Water Education for Latino Leaders is convening a statewide educational water conference in Sacramento for California local elected officials.

Local elected officials can make a difference for all Californians by taking the necessary steps to understand the dynamic of California water to assure adequate clean water for our communities, protect our natural resources and our local economies. WELL’s hope is to facilitate understanding towards comprehensive long-term water policies that will sustain California’s economy and quality of life. 

The Water Education Foundation is an organizing partner.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Westlands’ irrigation drainage deal gets extended for one year so Congress can act

Westlands Water District and Justice Department officials have given themselves, and Congress, another year to finish a controversial irrigation drainage plan.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Governor’s funding plan for climate, drought

Governor Brown has released a proposed budget that reaffirms the state’s commitment to boosting drought resiliency and battling climate change. … Although state money represent only a fraction of California’s total water sector spending (13%—the rest is mostly locally funded), it is an important piece of the funding pie. 

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Democrats pave the way toward spending $1 trillion on roads, ports and other projects

A lot more money could fuel improvements to California’s highways, airports and rail lines under a 10-year, trillion-dollar infrastructure plan proposed by Senate Democrats on Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A key reform of California’s landmark environmental law hasn’t kept its promises

Overhauling the environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act, is a perennial issue at the Capitol, and the measure benefiting the Warriors arena was one of the most high-profile CEQA reforms in recent years.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Some Californians can drink what astronauts drink: recycled wastewater (with audio)

A new law in January would allow districts to bottle 1000 gallons of purified recycled water a year. … The bottles won’t be on store shelves.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Obama signs bill securing $415 million for Lake Tahoe

With the stroke of a pen Friday President Barack Obama solidified $415 million in federal funding for projects in and around Lake Tahoe, along with providing funding for drought relief in California and other water projects.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Obama signs big California water and flood control bill

President Barack Obama on Friday quietly signed and bequeathed to President-elect Donald Trump a massive infrastructure bill designed to control floods, fund dams and deliver more water to farmers in California’s Central Valley.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Fact check: Feinstein way off the mark when she said ‘tens of thousands’ of California farmers going bankrupt

Urging her fellow lawmakers to pass a bill that would send more of California’s water to the arid farm fields of the San Joaquin Valley, Sen. Dianne Feinstein gave an impassioned speech Friday about the threat facing family farmers.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Long-sought flood control projects eased passage of California water bill

Flood control concerns in the Sacramento area and Merced County helped drive a big water bill that won overwhelming congressional approval despite heated conflict over other California provisions.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

What does the new federal water bill mean for California? For one, a big win for farmers

California farmers and Southern California cities were aghast last winter when much of the heavy rainfall that fell in Northern California washed through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and out to sea. 

Aquafornia news USA Today

California Senate titans Boxer and Feinstein spar over bill

Both California senators took to the floor Friday to take opposite sides in a debate over provisions of a national water resources bill that allows more water to be pumped south to Central Valley agriculture at the expense of the salmon industry.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

After years of drama, farmers score a big win in California water battle

The California water bill now ready for the president’s signature dramatically shifts 25 years of federal policy and culminates a long and fractious campaign born in the drought-stricken San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: A problem ‘too big to ignore’ — how years of congressional wrangling led to a water compromise

Few people expected a California water fight in the final days of a lame-duck Congress, and fewer still expected landmark water legislation to pit the state’s U.S. senators against each other in the last moments of their 24-year partnership.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Early spending proposals from Senate, Assembly Democrats (with audio)

Senate Democrats introduced a $13 billion package of measures that would provide money for street and bridge repair, urban parks, transit systems, trade corridors, water infrastructure and affordable housing.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: House approves California water plan that splits state’s Democratic senators

The House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved the biggest federal reset of California water use in a generation, setting the stage for easier dam-building, more recycling and potentially happier Central Valley farmers.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California drought bill victory could be short-lived: Sen. Barbara Boxer pledges filibuster as one of her last acts

The water policy measure overwhelmingly passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday to build long-term water infrastructure across the Golden State is headed for a showdown with outgoing Sen. Barbara Boxer, who plans to mount a filibuster in the Senate on Friday as one of her final acts in Congress.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

The race to turn stormwater from gray to green

Newly passed bills in California are helping turn attention to green infrastructure projects that can help cities take advantage of stormwater to replenish groundwater, increase water supply and decrease water pollution.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California’s water future will change as a result of this bill set for House approval

A California water bill set for House approval on Thursday that’s split the state’s two Democratic senators will make it easier for the incoming Trump administration to build new Western dams.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: White House voices opposition to California water measures added to big bill

The White House on Tuesday voiced doubts about controversial California water legislation that has already caused an unusually public split between the state’s two Democratic senators.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Boxer, Feinstein in angry split over new California water bill plan

A controversial California water bill that’s sparked years of fighting has been added to a fast-moving measure, boosting the chance the water measures will pass Congress but sharply dividing the state’s U.S. senators.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Last-minute push for California drought legislation creates friction between Feinstein and Boxer

House Republican leaders and California’s senior senator announced Monday a new attempt to pass legislation that would increase water deliveries to San Joaquin Valley agribusiness and Southern California. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Boxer slams water bill rider backed by Feinstein

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, teamed up Monday to slip a legislative rider into a giant end-of-year water infrastructure bill that would override endangered species protections for native California fish for the purpose of sending water to San Joaquin Valley farmers.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Westlands Water District irrigation drainage plan approved by House committee

A key House committee on Wednesday approved a big irrigation drainage deal with California’s politically potent Westlands Water District, opening another front in the state’s ongoing conflict over water, money and power.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: ‘Sustainable’ groundwater? It’s not a universal standard in California

Next year, a new California law will revolutionize how the state manages its groundwater. … There is an entirely different category of California groundwater, however, that is exempt from SGMA [Sustainable Groundwater Management Act]. These are the “adjudicated” groundwater basins, so-called because the rules for managing them has been decided in a court of law. 

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Westlands Water District irrigation drainage bill set for House approval

California’s politically resurgent Westlands Water District is set to win House committee approval Wednesday of a big irrigation drainage plan that’s opposed by Northern California’s Democrats.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Lake Tahoe Restoration Act not included in House version of water bill

League to Save Lake Tahoe is calling for public support to help secure federal funds for the preservation and restoration of Lake Tahoe.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

In this California congressional district, water is more important than Donald Trump

The signs vie for space with political campaign placards at intersections along State Route 43 as a constant reminder to Central Valley residents. “No water, no jobs.”

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

California designs first statewide water affordability program

Prompted by a 2015 state law, the State Water Resources Control Board has begun designing a program to provide state aid to individuals and families who need help paying their water bills. Due to the Legislature by February 1, 2018, California is determined to be the first to use state funds to subsidize water service for poor residents, water rate experts say.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: Submeters — A new incentive for California tenants to save water

If you live in an apartment in California, you don’t pay for the water you use – not directly, anyway. … On September 26, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 7, a law drafted by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis. It requires new apartment buildings constructed after January 1, 2018, to include submeters for every rental unit and to bill of tenants accordingly.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Six new California laws impacting water

The end of September meant both the end of the 2016 water year and a deadline for signing new legislation. In the past few weeks California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bevy of new bills into law, many of them addressing drought or water issues in the state.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Brown signs water projects bill aiding Friant-Kern farmers

The AB 935 water projects bill by Assemblyman Rudy Salas, D-Bakersfield, authorizes $7 million in state money to build pumps to move water north to about Terra Bella via reverse flow pump-back facilities still to be built.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Earthquake alerts could begin within 2 years

Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill creating a program for a statewide earthquake early warning system in California. State Senator Jerry Hill authored the legislation.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California projects fill water resources bill

Flood control efforts in California’s Central Valley get a boost in sprawling water legislation that reaches the House floor Tuesday. 

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

Legal Commentary: New California law amends water supply planning laws

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed Senate Bill 1262 into law, representing an initial attempt to incorporate groundwater management requirements under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act into two of California’s water supply planning laws. … SGMA was adopted in 2014 and, for the first time in California, establishes statewide requirements for establishing sustainable groundwater management in all basins designated by the California Department of Water Resources as medium- or high-priority.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Why California may ban new small water agencies

California’s goal of ensuring universal access to safe drinking water, as mandated in the 2012 Human Right to Water Bill, will come a step closer to being met if Gov. Jerry Brown signs a new measure into law that halts the creation of new small, unsustainable ­– and in many cases dangerous – water districts in the state.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

This Los Angeles County water district will be forced to reform after Gov. Brown signs bills

Two reform bills aimed at the Central Basin Municipal Water District — introduced after a state audit slammed the district for political corruption last year — were signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Merced County flood control work initiated in World War II gets new Senate help

The United States was fighting World War II when lawmakers first wrote Merced County flood protection into law. It’s been there ever since.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Senate approves $415 million Lake Tahoe Restoration Act

The Senate approved the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2015, which was included as part of a $10-billion water projects bill, on Thursday, Sept. 15.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Lake Tahoe protection and Sacramento flood control in Senate bill

California’s Salton Sea and state-straddling Lake Tahoe would receive funding for environmental restoration under a bill set for Senate approval Thursday. More controversial water-related efforts remain stuck in Capitol Hill limbo, however.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

With nod to Flint crisis, Senate weighs a $9 billion water infrastructure bill

With senators in a standoff over annual spending bills, the chamber is expected as soon as Wednesday to take up a bipartisan, $9 billion measure that would authorize spending on the nation’s water infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California’s heavy water users could face penalties if drought persists

Locked in a multi-year drought, California’s urban water suppliers have, for the most part, happily enforced rules that prohibit specific wasteful water practices, such as hosing down driveways and over-watering lawns.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers enter final weeks of Congress seeking success

The real action, and probably the last chance for myriad California proposals, will come in a post-election session set to start Nov. 14, when the expiring Congress will consider a sprawling omnibus funding package.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Forest Service, Mammoth Mountain ski resort land swap nears end after 5 years

A Sierra Nevada land swap that would add 1,317 acres to three national forests in exchange for about 30 acres serving the prominent Mammoth Mountain ski resort is nearer completion.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

California water guzzlers to face new penalties, possible public disclosure of names

A law signed late Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown requires retail urban water suppliers with more than 3,000 customers to put in place rules that define “excessive water use” and impose them during drought emergencies.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Lawmakers pass drought bill to help homeowners drill deeper wells

A drought relief bill providing $15 million in loans and grants to homeowners to deepen dry wells passed the Assembly unanimously, Assemblyman Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Bill targeting water secrecy scrapped in California Senate

Strong opposition in the Legislature has scuttled a bill that would have required agencies in California to release information about water use by businesses such as farms and golf courses.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Water-use disclosure bill sinks in California Senate

A measure to expand public disclosure of commercial, industrial and other institutional water uses in California fell far short of passage in the state Senate on Friday. … Another bill this year also sought more disclosure as part of a “drought-shaming” campaign to discourage excessive water use.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Wildfires could get emergency funding under deal to end ‘fire borrowing’

[New York Democratic Sen. Chuck] Schumer’s frustration has sparked an unusual alliance with Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo and Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, who for years have sponsored a bill to get Congress to treat wildfires as national disasters.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

CEQA doesn’t stunt economic growth, study says

The study, sponsored by Oakland-based Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, found there’s no evidence that the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, has a retarding effect on the state’s economic prospertity.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

Local legislators reach compromise on Central Basin reform bills

State Sen. Ricardo Lara and Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia announced Friday a compromise on their proposed legislation to reform the Central Basin Municipal Water District.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg BNA

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Water bill may navigate 2016 congressional rapids

If a Water Resources Development Act of 2016 is passed by Congress this year, it will be accompanied by sighs of relief at seeing the infrastructure legislation successfully get back on a two-year schedule.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio NPR for Central California

Bill aims to increase Delta’s salmon population, decrease bass

The effort to preserve a healthy population of salmon in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a huge challenge. Those little salmon have a lot of factors working against them.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Senate bills address Western water conflicts and California national historic sites

California has a stake in a sprawling public lands package moving through the Senate, including controversial water provisions that don’t even name the state.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

House keeps California water provision in spending bill over Democratic objections

Provisions aimed at moving water around California remain in an appropriation bill after House Republicans on Wednesday rebuffed California Democrats’ attempts to have it removed.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: House sets stage for post-election showdown over California water

Controversial efforts to steer more water toward California farms advanced Wednesday in the House of Representatives, setting up yet another post-election showdown.

Aquafornia news USA Today

Lawmakers debate benefits of holding water back to benefit endangered fish

Whether the temperature management of the runoff of Northern California water reservoirs, including Shasta Dam, results in improved survivability of endangered fish or uncertainty for human water users was debated at a House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing Tuesday.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California politicians still split on water legislation

Framed by a hearing Tuesday, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives will vote this week on whether to retain farmer-friendly California water provisions in an Interior Department funding bill for the fiscal year that begins in October.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Water for pot no longer unregulated

Within less than a year, as many as 50,000 marijuana growers in California could be required to obtain state permits for the irrigation water they consume. … This new ability to regulate water for marijuana growing is a result of SB 837, a state law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on June 27.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California drought and water bills are stuck on Capitol Hill

California water will retake the Capitol Hill stage in coming days, with compromise nowhere in sight. … Underscoring the many complications entangling California water, the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority and the Westlands Water District on Friday sued the federal Bureau of Reclamation over measures intended to protect endangered species.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Scientist: Culling predator fish won’t save salmon

A bill passed by U.S. House of Representatives seeks to limit predator fish, such as striped bass, in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to aid struggling salmon populations. But scientists say the strategy won’t work.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Facing historically low levels, Lake Mead officials are fending off a water war. Here’s how

This may be what the start of a water war looks like. Drought is draining the West’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, to historic low levels.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: House acts on Rep. Jeff Denham’s bill concerning Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta predator fish

Lawmakers are targeting striped bass in a farmer-backed effort to protect the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta’s salmon while trimming a 1992 environmental law.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Voters this fall could send millions for Salton Sea rehab

Assembly member Eduardo Garcia’s $3.1 billion bond proposal includes $25 million for air quality mitigation and the creation of wildlife habitat at the Salton Sea. The California Natural Resources Agency, thanks to a previous bill carried by Garcia, includes a list of shovel-ready projects on the lakebed. 

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: California’s groundwater sustainability challenge

California took a needed and much overdue step in 2014 when it passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) to regulate groundwater. The law will take decades to implement, but the first steps of the process are already underway.

Aquafornia news KPBS

Salton Sea restoration gets $80.5 million in state budget

The state budget Gov. Jerry Brown signed this week includes $80.5 million for restoration of the Salton Sea — more than California has ever allocated for the state’s largest and most troubled lake.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Groundwater could be a godsend, if we protect it

Our [Stanford University] new study published this week in the Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences concludes that the Central Valley has almost three times more fresh water underground than the state estimates. … Assembly Bill 1755, scheduled to be heard Tuesday by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water, establishes a shared water database for surface and groundwater and water diversions.

Aquafornia news USA Today

Forest Service pushes for fire funding change

Some forest fires should be considered natural disasters and their damage paid for like hurricanes and tornadoes, according to the chief of the U.S. Forest Service, who laments that 56 percent of his budget is going to suppressing fires. … A bill pending in the House would allow for supplemental appropriations, like those made for natural disasters like hurricanes, as needed. 

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Interlake Tunnel state funding cut 60 percent to $10 million, passes Assembly

Promised state funding for the increasingly costly Interlake Tunnel project in legislation backed by Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, has been cut by 60 percent to $10 million, potentially risking long-term project financing.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Commentary: Defining a groundwater management system

In the past 30 years, perhaps no legislative effort to bolster the state’s water policy has received as much attention as the management of groundwater. This effort lead to the expansion of water district powers, the creation of special act districts with unique powers, the authorization of voluntary plans and finally culminated in the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and its trailing legislation.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Farm Beat: Salmon predation issue has new twists

The photo with this column can’t help but draw your eyes. It shows a baby salmon being removed from the gut of a non-native bass that preyed upon it on the Tuolumne River.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Bill targets secrecy in California water data

Farms and golf courses rank among the biggest water users in the Coachella Valley, but detailed information about how much water each of those businesses use is kept secret by the area’s largest water agency. That would change under a bill now before the California Legislature. 

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Should California limit the number of small, new water systems?

California’s drought has revealed that when it comes to water, not every community is equal. … Now, a bill by a Bay Area state lawmaker aims to slow the spread of little “mom and pop” water providers by making it very difficult to create new ones.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

No easy path to implementing California groundwater law (with audio)

The state’s new groundwater management laws mean Californians no longer have unfettered use of water underground.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

First step in California groundwater law stirs debate (with audio)

Two years ago, California became one of the last states in the West to pass a law to manage groundwater. … But the bigger battle may be putting the law into practice.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Big steps ahead on regional groundwater management

By this time next year a lot of work needs to be done on a regional groundwater sustainability plan. … Every big task needs to start somewhere, and this week the public is being asked to join the conversation.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Keeping Capitol Park green with reclaimed water won’t come cheap

Drought-stressed Capitol Park will get $1.7 million for a reclaimed water project in the new state budget, even though the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal analyst concluded that the project won’t pencil out for more than a century and a half.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Sen. Feinstein: ‘We’ve got to reach consensus’ on drought bill

At the first hearing on Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s controversial drought legislation, it emerges that the Obama administration supports the bill. But a deeper look shows that many concerns remain, leaving consensus still in doubt.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

Directors of troubled Central Basin water district say they don’t need reform bills

The directors of the Central Basin Municipal Water District, who in a scathing state audit in December were blasted for mismanagement and violating state law, are criticizing two bills in the Legislature that would bring additional reforms to the district.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Bill to protect oak woodlands moves to state Senate

A bill that would put in place efforts to restore the North Coast’s disappearing oak woodlands made it through the state Assembly unanimously Wednesday and now faces the gauntlet of the state Senate floor and various committees before reaching Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Effort to force vote on twin tunnels stalls

Assemblywoman Susan Eggman’s bill to force a public vote on the Delta twin tunnels has stalled in the state Legislature, her office reported Friday.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Commentary: Westlands’ foes distort drainage compromise

In an election year, despite the usual suspects rallying against anything that would help Valley agriculture, the House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources has taken an important step to advance bipartisan legislation codifying a settlement between the federal government and the Westlands Water District.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: House moves on California water bills, but toward what end?

The House of Representatives passed yet another set of controversial California water provisions Wednesday, sending a political signal and, perhaps, putting pressure on the Senate.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

House rejects bid to strip California water provision from appropriations bill

The House voted 247 to 169 Wednesday to keep to a measure affecting California’s drought in an appropriations bill.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Conflicts swirl around San Joaquin Valley irrigation drainage plan

A proposal to solve a long-running San Joaquin Valley irrigation drainage dispute between the Westlands Water District and the federal government is roiling a Congress already hung up on other California water fights.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Labor unions, environmentalists are biggest opponents of Gov. Brown’s affordable housing plan

Powerful opponents have emerged to fight Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to streamline affordable housing development — and their main reason isn’t about building homes.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

State’s congressional delegation debates water plans on the House floor (with video)

House Republicans are making another push for a bill addressing California’s drought, adding the text of a measure by Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) to two pieces of legislation headed to the Senate. … Here are some highlights from Tuesday’s back and forth among some California lawmakers.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California water bill has three possible paths for passage

House Republicans this week are adding a controversial California water bill to an unrelated Senate energy package, opening a new front in a fight that’s already put Democrats on the defensive.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

‘Deeply disappointed’ with Garamendi bill — Delta congressman faces pushback from his own allies

Long considered an ally of Delta advocates, U.S. Rep. John Garamendi introduced legislation this week that appears likely to test that reputation. … The Feinstein-Garamendi bills are pitched as a more moderate alternative to a bill by U.S. Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford, that already has passed the House.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Sen. Dianne Feinstein pushes Senate subcommittee for water bill to address California’s drought

El Niño’s rains didn’t end California’s drought, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein urged Senate colleagues Tuesday to hurry and find a compromise on a package of bills to address the water crisis in the West.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California water bill — Here’s why it’s so hard for Congress to pass

Five years into California’s latest drought, a major water bill compromise can seem as far away as ever. The perennial conflict, often summed up as fish vs. farms, subtly surfaced again Tuesday at a key Senate hearing.

Aquapedia background

Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)

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.

When fully implemented, SGMA is expected to effectively administer groundwater pumping, though it remains to be seen if some of the damage done to aquifers is irreparable. Without SGMA, however, there is no hope for management.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: A question for the ages — Can Congress pass a California water bill?

California’s two Democratic senators remain somewhat out of sync over proposed water legislation, underscoring its ambiguous future on the eve of a big hearing.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California irrigation-drainage disputes targeted in new bill

California’s tireless water warriors have something fresh to fight over, with the introduction of a bill to resolve an irrigation drainage dispute that affects three modest-sized San Joaquin Valley water districts, as well as the much bigger Westlands Water District.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California Senate backs bill to fine excessive water users

The California state Senate has passed legislation that seeks to crack down on people who use too much water during droughts.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Hydroelectric power officials bemoan federal regulations

Federal burdens dampen California’s hydroelectric power potential, PG&E and Turlock Irrigation District officials told lawmakers Tuesday. … In 2013, President Barack Obama signed into law two bills intended to streamline the approval process for small hydroelectric projects.

Aquafornia news Desert Sun

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Federal water bill would boost Salton Sea projects

A major water resources bill introduced Tuesday in the Senate would allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to partner with local governments and other agencies – not just California officials – on projects to address the problems of the shrinking Salton Sea. 

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: A predator fish in California has lost its White House support

A still-controversial 1992 law intended to boost California’s striped-bass population can be scaled back, the Obama administration now believes. … Another bill, by Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, to revise a water-recycling grant program established in the 1992 law likewise secured administration support Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Too many water straws in the ground? — Wolk bill would require permits for well construction

Where’s the water? Somebody’s got to ask that question, state Sen. Lois Wolk says, before even more new wells can be drilled in California.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Pushing for tunnels vote: Eggman bill clears Assembly committee

Six years ago, a bill to force a public vote on the peripheral canal went before a state Assembly committee. It died there without a vote.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Delta tunnels bill mandating voter approval advances

A California Assembly committee on Tuesday moved to force a public vote on a controversial water conveyance project.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

You could vote on controversial Delta water tunnels plan in 2018

An Assembly committee gave its approval Tuesday to legislation that would require California voters approve of Gov. Jerry Brown’s $15-billion water plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Delta tunnel critics put project to votes

For all the plaudits Gov. Jerry Brown gets from Democrats these days, there are still two big things dividing him from numerous members of his party: the Delta tunnels.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Budget dispute over Tahoe funding

Deep in Gov. Brown’s 2016-17 budget was a big surprise for Lake Tahoe – the lake was cut out of its expected share of a $475 million environmental pie. Two years ago, California voters approved Proposition 1, a complex, $7.12 billion water bond package.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Drought proposals in Congress are so last century

Politicians in Washington could have passed laws four years ago that would be yielding benefits today. These would be things like assistance with groundwater recharge, water conservation on farms, stormwater capture and wastewater recycling. I [Matt Weiser] call these non-nuclear options, because they don’t peg the Geiger counter in many lobbying offices in the land.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Sacramento Valley rice growers have water, but markets have turned for the worse

Surface water supplies have returned to normal for most rice growers in the Sacramento Valley. … However, now that farmers are ready to fire up their tractors to plant rice, commodity prices have taken a nose-dive. 

Aquafornia news Central Valley Business Times

Bill to protect state’s aquifers, groundwater moves forward

Legislation to protect California’s aquifers and groundwater resources from permanent damage due to over-pumping has been approved by the state Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water on a 6-2 vote.

Aquafornia news The Davis Enterprise

Coast Range Conservancy bill moves forward

Building on last year’s declaration of the Berryessa Snow Mountain Region as a National Monument by President Obama, the California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water voted 6-2 Tuesday to approve a bill that establishes a state conservancy to protect, preserve and restore the Northern Inner Coast Range.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California drought and drainage bills could collide on Capitol Hill

The politics of California water is becoming three-dimensional chess in Congress as lawmakers balance competing anti-drought ideas with a proposed San Joaquin Valley irrigation drainage settlement that’s going to get bigger.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: House Republicans reopen the bidding on California water bill

House Republicans intent on storing more California water and redirecting it to farms have resurrected some familiar and controversial ideas, this time as part of a must-pass spending bill.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Arizona wants legal assurances California won’t take its stored water

Arizona and California are arguing over Colorado River water again — this time over whether it should be inscribed in law that California can’t take Arizona’s share of river water that’s left in Lake Mead to prop up lake levels.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

US Sen. Dianne Feinstein says water wars tougher than assault-weapons ban (with video)

Moments before release of a crucial snowpack survey Wednesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein warned against loosening the mandatory water restrictions imposed last year by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

4 things to know about federal drought legislation

Congress is about to try again to help ease California’s drought. … Discerning the helpful proposals from the hyperbole can be difficult. So as a guide to the process, Water Deeply offers the following four themes to watch as the bills are debated.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Blog: Four things to note in federal drought legislation

Congress is about to try again to help ease California’s drought. A handful of bills — some new, some held over from last year — will come up for debate in the weeks ahead. The subject is as partisan as the presidential race, and a lot more complicated.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

Here is a how a new bill would reform the embattled Central Basin water board

A second state legislator plans to introduce legislation that would add appointed members to the embattled Central Basin Municipal Water District’s now elected Board of Directors that were slammed in a state audit for “poor leadership,” violating state law and spending money inappropriately.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Water district proposal voted down in Paso Robles (with video)

Landowners in the Paso Robles wine country have voted down a proposal to create a new water district to manage their groundwater basin.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Blog: Will Human Right to Water resolution really help?

California is the first state to have a law declaring the human right to water, and now it also has a resolution from the Water Board prioritizing it. … In Poplar, California, an unincorporated Central Valley town of low-income, largely Hispanic residents, two of three community wells are contaminated with nitrates. The other one is going dry.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Bill aims to give crab industry $138 million in disaster relief

The bill proposed by [Rep. Jackie] Speier and [Rep. Jared] Huffman — the Crab Emergency Disaster Assistance Act of 2016 — seeks to appropriate about $138 million in disaster funds to fishermen and small businesses, including restaurants, that were banking on the commercial season. Sen. Barbara Boxer is expected to introduce its companion bill on Monday.

Aquafornia news The Davis Enterprise

Sen. Wolk introduces Aquifer Protection Act

State Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, introduced a package of water measures Friday, including legislation halting the proliferation of new wells to slow the depletion of aquifers, and avoid permanent damage to the state’s groundwater resources.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

House Republicans seek to open up national forests to mining, logging

Congress is to consider two bills that would allow states to hand over vast tracts of federal land for mining, logging or other commercial activities – just weeks after the arrest of an armed militia that took over a wildlife refuge in Oregon in protest at federal oversight of public land.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Old tensions boil over once more in House hearing on California water

The year’s first congressional hearing on California’s water crisis incited stern voices and familiar feuds Wednesday, but showed no sign of legislative progress.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Daylight saving time could end in California

Hence Assembly Bill 2496, which would end the [daylight saving time] practice in California, undoing a law that voters approved back in 1949 via Proposition 12. At the time, a ballot statement in favor argued altered summertime hours would bolster “public health and industrial efficiency” by improving worker safety, limiting juvenile delinquency, saving water, preventing car crashes and aiding farmers.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California water politics could get choppier with new House bill

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, said his proposal would provide for new dams, spur water transfers and fund emergency drought aid.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Should desalination play a bigger role in California’s water future?

When it comes to finding new sources of drinking water for residents of a coastal state mired in drought, some say desalination gets little respect in Sacramento.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: ‘Excessive water users’ fine would elevate drought-shaming to California policy

As California enters its fifth year of a historic dry period and residents buckle down to reduce urban water use by one-fourth, a novel strategy adopted by the East Bay water utility has turned the spotlight on the region’s most wasteful consumers – among them the rich and famous – and could become the basis for statewide policy.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

New limits on California well-drilling sought

Warning that a drought-driven surge in well drilling is causing the earth to sag and imperiling long-term water supplies, a California senator wants to place more stringent limits on new wells.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California releases draft regulations for groundwater management (with audio)

The Department of Water Resources has now released the first draft regulations to manage groundwater sustainably. The plan lays out the steps local public agencies will need to take to prevent chronic groundwater overdraft.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Try the treated wastewater, California legislator says

Water scarcity, always an issue in California, has preoccupied policy makers more than usual during a multi-year drought. Many want the state to consider more opportunities to recycle and reuse water.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Feinstein water policy bill could signal a compromise in sight

Sen. Dianne Feinstein filed a 184-page water policy bill Wednesday, calling it one of the most difficult bills she’s worked on in 23 years representing California.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Sen. Dianne Feinstein tries yet again with California water bill

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Wednesday relaunched a big California water bill, in what might be cast as the triumph of hope over experience.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Bill seeks to improve, preserve American River Parkway (with audio)

A bill (AB 1716) introduced in the California state Assembly would protect and improve the American River Parkway in Sacramento County. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Lawmakers want to put Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels plan before voters

Lawmakers representing the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta, the heart of California’s water system, have introduced a bill that would make Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial twin tunnels project subject to statewide voter approval.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Lawmaker pushes for public vote on any Delta water project

In a largely symbolic show of opposition to Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta water project, a Stockton lawmaker said Friday she is introducing legislation to require public approval of such plans.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Most of San Joaquin Valley on state list of critically overdrafted groundwater basins

The state Department of Water Resources on Thursday released a list of 21 groundwater basins and subbasins that are overdrafted, causing land subsidence, chronically lowered groundwater levels and, in the case of the Salinas Valley, seawater intrusion.

Aquafornia news Oregon Public Broadcasting

PacifiCorp pursues dam removal after collapse of Klamath Agreement

PacifiCorp is now trying to reach a quick deal with federal and state regulators to remove four aged dams on the Klamath River. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Feinstein water plan would fund recycling, desalination and storage

California’s congressional delegation continued to wrangle over how to respond to the Golden State’s water crisis Thursday when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released what she called a “discussion draft” of proposed legislation.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Two years later, water agencies receive final round of ‘emergency drought’ aid (with audio)

It turns out “emergency drought relief” can take up to two years to distribute. On Wednesday, California regulators awarded the final pieces of the $680 million drought aid package Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers approved in March 2014.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: If you’re 26, these California water disputes have lasted longer than you’ve been alive

The now-distant December of 1988 was a big month for California water lawsuits that would last a generation and eventually land in Congress’ lap, where their ripples linger to this day.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Clashes on California water resume in DC with introduction of drainage bill

U.S. lawmakers from California have more political turbulence ahead of them with the introduction Tuesday of a bill to settle a long-running San Joaquin Valley irrigation drainage dispute.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Punk rock and Plato are touchstones for incoming Assembly speaker

On Monday, he’ll [Anthony Rendon], be voted into one of the top political posts in California, the speaker of the Assembly. … But early in his first term, he charged into a high-profile and politically thorny issue: water.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Demise of Klamath River deal could rekindle old water-use battles

The complicated pact, backed by the states of California and Oregon, called for the removal of four hydroelectric dams, settled water rights disputes and spelled out water allocations for irrigators and wildlife refuges in the Klamath Basin.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Lawmaker wants to throw the checkbook at water hogs

Legislation introduced this week would require the state’s 411 urban water districts to set local limits on household water consumption during drought emergencies.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Governor Brown’s state budget includes Salton Sea funding

Gov. Jerry Brown’s $122.6 billion budget plan out Thursday contained $80.5 million for the restoration of habitat at the shrinking Salton Sea, the creation of a longterm plan for the lake’s management, and is raising hopes for its restoration, officials said. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Governor Brown’s budget earmarks big money for natural disasters

[Gov. Jerry] Brown’s $170.7 billion budget proposal includes a $719 million one-time drought package, including an extra $215 million to the state’s emergency fund for battling big blazes.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Lawmakers look Down Under to help state get over the drought

Don’t be surprised to see a flurry of new legislative proposals in 2016 that push toilet water recycling, rooftop water tanks and underground systems to filter sewer sludge for field irrigation in California. Call it the Australian plan.

Aquafornia news KLCC NPR for Oregonians

Klamath Agreement supporters will decide future of compromise (with audio)

Congress has adjourned for the year without authorizing the Klamath water agreements. And now the locally-negotiated compromises will expire at the end of the year unless signees decide to extend.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Corps of Engineers to get $1.3 billion funding boost in budget bill

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will receive a 27 percent spending boost in a $1.1 trillion budget bill working its way through Congress this week.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

GOP members blame Feinstein for blocking drought language

Debate over a plan to address California’s drought continued Friday as the Republicans in the state’s delegation held a news conference blaming Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) for not supporting their bid to insert the plan into a must-pass spending bill.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Drought worries weren’t enough to force agreement on Calif. water bill

California lawmakers’ repeated failures to agree on legislation to resolve the state’s seemingly endless battle over how to use its water resources raise new questions about whether they’ll ever be able to find a compromise. This year, the climate looked ripe for an agreement.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Angry California Republicans call drought bill dead for the year

The utter collapse of negotiations means a California water package that in its latest manifestation spanned 92 pages will not be slipped into a much larger, much-pass omnibus federal spending package needed to keep the federal government open. 

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

2 House bills would open California public lands to off-road vehicles

Off-road vehicles could again be roaring through Fresno County’s western hills and Southern California’s desert under bills weighed Wednesday by a House panel.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought relief language proposed by California Republicans

Document, obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Californians clash as GOP seeks $300 million for drought in spending bill

California Republicans will continue trying to include language addressing the state’s drought in a must-pass bill to fund the federal government, over objections from the state’s Democratic delegation.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A deal to remove four Klamath River dams is in danger of collapse

Five years after a high-profile deal was struck to remove four hydroelectric dams and improve conditions on one of the West Coast’s prime salmon rivers, the agreement is on the verge of collapse for lack of action by Congress.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Feinstein-McCarthy clash dooms prospects for drought law for year

A closed-door attempt to rewrite California water law crashed late last week in a public row between Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy that could doom drought legislation for yet another year.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

‘Power struggle’ over local groundwater

A new law regulating groundwater use for the first time in California is decades away from being fully implemented. But already, it is clear how difficult it will be for local water providers to comply. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Democrats criticize GOP attempt to insert drought plan in federal spending bill

California Democrats are fuming over an attempt by the state’s Republican House members to insert language addressing the state’s drought into a must-pass bill to fund the federal government.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Amid complaints about secrecy, California water bill bogs down again

A California water bill that skeptics say has been cloaked in excessive secrecy will probably miss its Capitol Hill train this year. … The latest plot turn in California water politics bears a striking resemblance to past Capitol Hill narratives.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Off-roaders may again have access to federal land in Fresno County

In a classic Capitol Hill tradeoff, conservatives would get the Clear Creek Management Area reopened to off-roaders while liberals would secure new wilderness and wild-and-scenic river designation for other federal lands.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Councilman pushes for limits to artificial turf installations

A California law – that was passed to respond to the drought – allows artificial turf on all residential property. But, a Sacramento city councilman says the law should allow cities to restrict its use.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Tensions, threats as California’s new groundwater law takes shape

The tensions in Kings County offer just a taste of what’s expected in cities and towns throughout California’s farm belt over the next few years as local officials work to enact the state’s first-ever groundwater regulations.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Salton Sea — Are changes ahead for troubled shorelines?

The first significant restoration project has begun at the Salton Sea, where declining water levels have triggered widespread odors, unhealthful blowing dust and shrinking habitat for birds.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Dueling drought relief bills reveal stark differences

As California enters the fifth consecutive year of unprecedented drought, Congress is debating two competing bills designed to provide federal drought relief to California agriculture. The proposals reveal stark differences in proposed federal water and environmental policy.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Human cost rises as old bridges, dams and roads go unrepaired

From coast to coast, the country’s once-envied collection of bridges, dams, pipelines, sewage treatment plants and levees is crumbling.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: A new law stops gold dredging

Gold is, of course, no longer even a minor factor in California’s economy. But for decades, the 49er spirit has survived in a few thousand semi-professional hobbyists who have used small suction dredges to gather gold-bearing gravel from streams.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Key provision for groundwater regulation approved (with audio)

It’s been one year since California Governor Jerry Brown signed a landmark law to manage the state’s groundwater. The California Water Commission has approved new groundwater basin boundaries – the first major step in implementing the law.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California lawmakers head to Australia to study drought response

While the rest of us hope for a strong El Niño this winter, California lawmakers are looking to farther-flung locales for solutions to the state’s historic drought, now deep into its fourth year.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Commentary: Congress can help California with comprehensive water plan

As Congress considers an appropriate response to the Western drought, our experience in California gives us a keen sense of how Congress can best help. … I [California Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird] take passage of Proposition 1 as a resounding endorsement of a constructive approach that does not pit urban or agricultural users against one another and does not undermine water rights or environmental protection laws.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

Blog: New water laws address groundwater, marijuana

As the California legislative session came to a close, Governor Brown signed more than 20 bills that address different aspects of water policy, ranging from water conservation and measurement to water quality. Two bill packages took important steps toward improving groundwater management and reducing the negative environmental impacts of marijuana farming.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Bill closes loophole in state ag land preservation program

Of the many bills signed by Gov. Jerry Brown this month, one was inspired by closed-door negotiations by the state costing Humboldt County hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Mokelumne ‘wild and scenic’ bill passes

A portion of the Mokelumne River in the Mother Lode may be one step closer to being declared “wild and scenic,” after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill late last week.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Salton Sea survival boosted

The California Natural Resources Agency will move forward with the projects in the coming months and work with Colorado River officials to accelerate planning, permitting and construction, the governor’s office said. 

Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP

Legal Commentary: Governor signs Sustainable Groundwater Management Act Part II: Groundwater adjudications meet groundwater management

On October 9, 2015, Governor Brown completed what is probably one of the most remarkable two years in water legislation in California’s history. … In signing SGMA, the Governor pledged that during the 2014/15 legislative session, he would submit a proposal to streamline groundwater adjudications. With the signing of AB 1390 (Alejo) and SB 226 (Pavley), the Governor kept his promise.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

New mining law may prompt litigation actions

Among the batch of bills signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last week is one that sets new water quality regulations on certain types of mining popular in the North Coast area and could result in the state lifting its ban on new mining activity that began in 2009. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California cannabis regulations signed into law

Rules governing pesticides and water discharge will apply to cannabis, newly classified as an agricultural product. [Gov. Jerry] Brown directly addressed pot’s ecological implications in a signing message, saying he would direct the state Natural Resources Agency to “identify projects to begin the restoration of our most impacted areas in the state.”

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Leaky water pipes losing billions of gallons targeted by new state law

With California mired in the worst drought in state history, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed into law a measure aimed at reducing the billions of gallons of water lost every year across the state from leaks in aging and cracked water pipes in hundreds of city water systems.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Restrictions on water rates get newfound opposition from Gov. Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown is picking a fight over a two-decade-old law that can make it difficult to increase water rates, raising the possibility of a new battle over the issue at the ballot box next year.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Jerry Brown clears way for artificial turf, blasts Prop. 218

With California withering through a multiyear drought, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed legislation banning cities and counties from prohibiting drought-tolerant landscaping, including synthetic grass and artificial turf.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown orders study aiming to restore parts of shrinking Salton Sea

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill to require the Salton Sea Authority, working with the Natural Resources Agency, to study projects to restore parts of the rapidly shrinking Salton Sea, a huge and troubled body of water considered a health menace.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun Washington Bureau

Drought relief legislation proves challenging in D.C.

Thursday’s Senate committee hearing on legislation to provide drought relief in the West showed why passing anything on this issue is so difficult.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Senators drill into California water bill

Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, [Sen. Lisa] Murkowski convened the two-hour hearing Thursday primarily to consider significantly different House and Senate versions of California water legislation. The morning hearing was the first to be held specifically on the bills.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Plastic microbeads and state coal investments banned as Gov. Jerry Brown signs new laws

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed 23 new environmental bills into law, banning tiny plastic beads in cosmetics that scientists say are polluting the ocean and San Francisco Bay, toughening oil pipeline laws and requiring the state’s massive pension funds to sell off their coal stocks.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Westlands Water District agreement a retreat from previous U.S. plan

Five years ago, a U.S. Interior Department official outlined the terms of potential legislation to resolve a lingering battle over badly drained farmland in the Westlands Water District.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

State legislation could lift gold mining ban

For a local tribe and environmental groups, recently passed state legislation that would require a certain method of gold mining to comply with the state’s clean water regulations could be the key to resolving long-standing environmental concerns and litigation.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: California groundwater law tests state’s capacity to oversee a vital resource

On September 16, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown, cheerfully triumphant, signed into law the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which many observers assert is the most significant addition to California’s water protection code in a century.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Diving in on groundwater law

For years, an obscure team of water wonks has met each month in a conference room at the California Water Service Co. offices in downtown Stockton. Their charge: To protect the region’s precious groundwater, an invisible natural resource as little-known as those who guard it.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

San Joaquin Valley officials lobby and learn on Capitol Hill

In an annual lobbying ritual, more than 30 officials from eight [San Joaquin] valley counties this week swarmed the hill in search of federal support for an assortment of projects and priorities. … What they got was a crash course in congressional politics, circa 2015.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Sen. Hertzberg proposes California reuse all treated water

With California in the fourth year of a drought, a state lawmaker has introduced a last-minute bill that would require half of treated wastewater to be used for beneficial purposes, including landscape watering, by 2026 and 100% usage by 2036.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California lawmakers approve ban on plastic microbeads

California lawmakers on Tuesday approved a measure banning the sale of personal care products that contain plastic microbeads starting in 2020.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Gov. Brown acts to protect homeowners installing artificial turf

California homeowners who replace their water-gulping grass lawns with artificial turf in response to the drought would be protected from sanctions by homeowner associations under one of 10 bills signed Friday by Gov. Jerry Brown.