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.
At the close of another dry winter, Gov. Jerry Brown and
legislative leaders announced a $1 billion package of bills
Thursday to expedite money for people and cities hit hard by
the drought and prepare the state for the flip side of extreme
weather patterns — flooding.
Gov. Jerry Brown and top lawmakers from both parties unveiled a
plan that would invest more than $1 billion to improve the
state’s water infrastructure, provide emergency assistance to
struggling communities and protect wildlife.
With California entering its fourth year of drought, Gov. Jerry
Brown and legislative leaders will propose more than $1 billion
in emergency legislation Thursday for flood protection and
water supply projects and to alleviate impacts of the drought.
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has released
for public review and comment a draft strategic plan (Strategic
Plan) describing its roles and responsibilities under
the State’s new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
(SGMA). The Strategic Plan documents DWR’s strategy to
implement the SGMA and the efforts it will take to develop and
share information with those affected by, or tasked with,
implementation of the SGMA.
North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman on Friday reiterated his
desire to see marijuana legalized nationally, saying it would
help bring rational management to pot cultivation and thus
reduce damage to the environment.
Frank Bigelow stood at the bottom of a gully that a few years
ago was stocked with largemouth bass, and, more importantly,
supplied water for a herd of cattle that numbered 600 head. …
This year, eight of 17 bills he has introduced deal with water
in one form or another.
Among the most intractable debates of California politics is
what to do about the California Environmental Quality Act, or
CEQA, the 1970 law regulating the environmental impacts of
[Glen] Lewis, the open space ranger for the Muir Heritage Land
Trust, wondered what John Muir would think if he could look out
today at the panorama of modernity around Martinez, which, back
in the famous naturalist’s day, consisted of fruit orchards
almost as far as the eye could see.
Senate Bill 385, introduced by Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego,
would extend the July 1 deadline for complying with the new
chromium 6 standard until 2020 while requiring water suppliers
to show progress toward implementation.
Just a few months ago the state announced that new local
groundwater sustainability plans will be required throughout
California. … About 85 people gathered in Orland Thursday
night for the first of what will be many meetings on
On Tuesday, California senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara
Boxer launched a third effort by introducing legislation in the
Senate. U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, also
introduced a bill in the House.
Initial efforts implementing the state’s new Sustainable
Groundwater Management Act must focus on getting local and
state agencies organized and able to communicate with each
other. Having common expectations for the contents of the law’s
required “Groundwater Sustainability Plans” will save the
agencies and stakeholders considerable grief and confusion.
A new bill from Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia would hasten efforts
to clean up the New River, which flows from Mexico into the
Salton Sea and has long been known as one of America’s most
California lawmakers led by Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough,
and Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer
introduced legislation last week to double the amount of
federal grants to restore the bay, the largest estuary on the
West Coast, to $10 million a year.
Opponents of a ban on single-use plastic bags in grocery stores
have qualified a referendum on the law, delaying its July 1
effective date until voters act on the measure in November
2016, the California secretary of state’s office said Tuesday.
Assembly Bill 434, introduced this week by state Assemblyman
Eduardo Garcia, would authorize point-of-use filtration systems
as a way to help solve the elevated levels of arsenic in the
Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Nicolaus, introduced Assembly
Bill 311 on Thursday to streamline the environmental review
process for water storage projects funded through the 2014
Proposition 1 water bond.
Exactly six months ago, the Capitol’s politicians were hailing
a new era of bipartisan comity and cooperation with the
overwhelming passage of $7.5 billion in bonds to improve the
state’s water supply.
This handbook provides crucial
background information on the Sustainable Groundwater Management
Act, signed into law in 2014 by Gov. Jerry Brown. The handbook
also includes a section on options for new governance.
State lawmakers are preparing a sweeping package of bills that
would fulfill several of Gov. Jerry Brown’s climate change
objectives by increasing California’s reliance on renewable
energy and alternative transportation fuels.
There’s money for restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta,
likely to survive congressional winnowing. Proposed upgrades at
places like Yosemite National Park will probably find Capitol
Hill favor, as well, along with funding for Central Valley
flood control and dam improvements.
In his inaugural speech, Gov. Jerry Brown promised to be a
national leader on environmental issues. If California wants to
pass big environmental policies, legislators need to look to
people of color to lead the way.
California took enormous steps to address our water future by
passing a water bond and landmark groundwater laws last year,
but there’s more to be done. Lawmakers should look to reform
the California Environmental Quality Act to ensure we are using
water efficiently and sustainably.
Deadlines for meeting a new state mandate to balance the
overdrafted Salinas Valley groundwater basin are years away,
but Monterey County water and agricultural industry leaders are
calling for the local process to begin immediately.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, a self-described Brooklyn street fighter,
took a swing Wednesday at House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy
of Bakersfield over water, saying she told the Republican,
“Don’t threaten me.”
In his State of the State and inaugural address, Gov. Jerry
Brown reflected on the “eerie resemblance” between the
challenges his father faced and those we grapple with today.
Gov. Pat Brown’s California responded to the water crisis of
his day with a massive undertaking, building the State Water
A number of conversations are occurring in the U.S. House of
Representatives, and between the House and the U.S. Senate
(particularly Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford, Calif.) and Sen.
Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.)) to reintroduce a version of last
year’s drought legislation (H.R. 5781).
A state scientific review of what’s known about fracking in
California finds the controversial oil and gas production
technique is used in nearly half of all new wells, particularly
in four Kern county oil fields in the southern part of the San
California has shallow, vertical fracking wells that require
about 140,000 gallons of water per well to extract oil. That’s
millions of gallons less than other states. But the fluids
contain more concentrated chemicals.
The saga of the California drought — possibly the most severe
in 1,200 years — may not be enough on its own to cause the
114th Congress to fork over billions in federal dollars for new
water projects that benefit the Golden State.
About 20 percent of California’s oil and natural-gas production
uses hydraulic fracturing — with almost all of it happening in
one corner of the San Joaquin Valley — according to the most
authoritative survey yet released of fracking in the Golden
Hydraulic fracturing unlocked oil at about half of the new
wells launched in California over the last decade, and the
practice will likely expand in a chunk of the San Joaquin
Valley, according to a new study required by the 2013 law to
regulate the practice.
State Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, noted at a Sacramento gathering
of water policy experts and elected officials on Monday that
water oversight begins with figuring out how much water is
needed for cities, agriculture, industry and the environment.
In Solomon-like fashion, President Barack Obama split the
heavily used Angeles National Forest in two, placing one half
inside a brand-new San Gabriel Mountains National Monument
while leaving out the other half.
Two months ago, in the grip of a historic drought, California
voters overwhelmingly approved a $7.5 billion water bond to
fund everything from new storage projects to modernizing
drinking water treatment plants.
A staggering economic and environmental problem festering for
three decades in the southern San Joaquin Valley would be
addressed by a secret deal reached between the Obama
administration and farmers — one that is sounding alarms for
Bay Area lawmakers. … Details of the deal between
Westlands and the federal Bureau of Reclamation have not been
revealed to members of Congress, who would have to approve it.
Rampant speculation yesterday over who might replace
I’m-not-retiring-I’m-just-not-running-again U.S. Sen. Barbara
Boxer momentarily threatened to overshadow all else in
California politics. But the announcement that political
observers have been waiting for since November is Gov. Jerry
Brown’s budget proposal, which will finally drop at 10 a.m. in
Room 1190 in the Capitol.
The first time Barbara Boxer’s name showed up in a Los Angeles
Times editorial, it was May of 1984 and she was a first-term
U.S. representative from the Bay Area pushing legislation that
would force utilities – including the Los Angeles Department of
Water and Power and the Metropolitan Water District – to pay
market rates for power generated by the Hoover Dam.
California’s knack for spotting problems and producing answers
on topics both grand and puny is on display in 930 laws taking
effect this month. … Local water agencies will now have
to account for groundwater pumping, an unregulated practice
that is siphoning off last-ditch water supplies in a drought.
The heads of the 13 major [Senate] committees and Veterans’
Affairs are some of the most senior members of the Senate. …
Only one new leader will be a woman; Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski
is in line to take over the Energy and Natural Resources
Forty-five years ago, in December 1969, President Richard Nixon
signed a unique Bi-State Compact approving California and
Nevada’s plan to create the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. It
was the first such undertaking of its kind, uniting two states,
six local jurisdictions, and the federal government in a shared
mission to protect Lake Tahoe’s sensitive environment from
During his tenure President Barack Obama has designated 13
national monuments, and the next one on his list should be
California’s Berryessa Snow Mountain. Berryessa Snow Mountain
is a national treasure — the region’s natural beauty, cultural
history and economic significance place it among the most
special places in the country — and it should be permanently
Sen. Ricardo Lara has landed one of the most powerful committee
chair assignments in the California Legislature, overseeing the
Senate Appropriations Committee that decides the fate of
hundreds of bills each year.
The Antelope Valley groundwater adjudication case is the
current poster child for how painfully long and expensive
groundwater adjudications can be. … On November 20, the
Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water held an
informational hearing on groundwater adjudications titled,
“Resolving Disputes Regarding Groundwater Rights: Why Does It
Take So Long and What Might Be Done to Accelerate the
On November 20, the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and
Water held an informational hearing on groundwater
adjudications titled, “Resolving Disputes Regarding Groundwater
Rights: Why Does It Take So Long and What Might Be Done to
Accelerate the Process?” … This hearing will be covered in
three parts: In part 1, The Honorable Ronald B. Robie,
Associate Justice with the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate
District, begins with an overview of the groundwater
As the most severe winter storm in at least a half-decade bore
down on California on Tuesday, 3,000 miles away in Washington,
the House voted, largely along party lines, for a California
drought relief bill.
For years, the California Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown
squabbled over what should be in a multibillion-dollar water
bond. Finally, this summer, they agreed on a $7.5 billion
measure that won landslide approval in November. … Now
Congress needs the same epiphany on water legislation meant to
Just days after promising to bring highly controversial water
legislation to the Senate through “regular order” in January,
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., appears poised to ram through
a bill in the last days of the session without public hearings
and widespread debate.
California homeowner associations would be required to allow
artificial turf in front yards under a bill recently proposed
by the San Diego County Water Authority. … Citing the growing
need to conserve water, the San Diego agency sponsored similar
legislation in 2010 and 2011.
House Republicans who have scrambled all year to complete a
California water bill throw a Hail Mary pass Tuesday, with
legislation that’s drawn a presidential veto threat and
resistance from the state’s two senators.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson will announce Monday a proposal
to prohibit single-use plastic bags at stores in the city in
the event that opponents of a newly adopted statewide ban are
able to force a public vote on that legislation.
The draft Safe Drinking Water Plan for California acknowledges
that contaminated water sources, the high costs of treatment,
and the large numbers of small water systems “will continue to
challenge progress in addressing the Human Right to Water.”
House Republicans intend to jam through a California
drought-relief bill early next week that would suspend some
state water rights and environmental law to maximize water
diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
This video clip comes to us from a late-night session of the
House Rules Committee on Wednesday, a fascinating display of
how one might try to explain the intricacies of California
water law to an outsider, in this case panel chairman Rep. Pete
When it comes to state politics, few issues are as contentious
as water and parks. North Coast Assemblyman Marc Levine will be
navigating those treacherous waters next year after he assumes
the chair of the state Assembly’s Water, Parks and Wildlife
Brown lawns might seem like an extreme form of water
conservation, but now comes the first bill of the new
legislative session — from an assembly member named Brown —
that seeks to make brown lawns off-limits to local fines.
A last-ditch effort by Central Valley Republicans to push an
overhaul of federal water policy through Congress during this
session met with opposition Wednesday from at least one
California senator, all but ensuring that the bill will die
until next year.
The noticing requirements special districts must follow to
terminate delinquent residential light, heat, water or power
service accounts were substantially modified by the passage of
omnibus bill AB 2747 by the state Legislature.
Still staggering under $24 billion in debt, the Federal
Emergency Management Agency will increase flood-insurance rates
up to 18 percent next year for those living in high-risk flood
zones, including the Smith Canal area of Stockton.
More than two-thirds of California voters authorized the state
to borrow more than $7 billion to improve a water system
strained by more than three years of drought. Now the difficult
job of smartly targeting problems and effectively implementing
projects is beginning.
For California water managers, 2014 has been one for the record
books. Reservoirs have dropped to near-record lows, surface
water deliveries have been slashed and some communities are
rationing water to keep supplies in reserve for next year. But
amid these challenging conditions, California voters opened the
door for long-term solutions when they passed Proposition 1 on
When Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the deal he had helped
broker between Japanese light-rail manufacturer Kinkisharyo
International and the electrical workers union, it was a win
for the economy in Los Angeles County. But for
Whether Prop. 1 delivers on its promise, however, depends on
what happens next. One danger is that Prop. 1 will lull
Californians into believing that we have solved our water
troubles. We haven’t. Nothing that Prop. 1 can do will redress
the current drought.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s abrupt decision to yank a water bill
she had spent more than four months negotiating came just as
the California Democrat and Central Valley Republicans appeared
on the brink of a deal.
Late Thursday morning, while the Capitol Hill spotlight was
pointed elsewhere, three Northern California congressmen paid a
quiet call on the state’s junior Democratic senator, Barbara
Boxer. They wanted to talk water.
With the continuation of California’s historic drought and the
recent passage of Proposition 1, the potential value of
additional water storage in the state is an area of vigorous
discussion. In a new study released today, we look at the
different roles of storage in California’s integrated water
system and evaluate storage capacity expansion from what we
call a “system analysis approach.”
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California on Thursday
pulled the plug on secret, high-stakes negotiations over a
water bill for her drought-plagued state, saying she and fellow
lawmakers will try again next year.
Already missing out on state money to address the drought, San
Joaquin County officials will soon ask property owners if
they’re willing to disclose to the state what some feel are
sensitive details about their wells.
Under the new groundwater legislation, the California
Department of Water Resources must establish the initial
priority for each groundwater basin in the state no later than
Jan. 31. Those basins that are ultimately designated as high or
medium priority will be subject to groundwater sustainability
plans to be adopted no later than Jan. 31, 2020, in some cases,
or Jan. 31, 2022 in others.
The headline on Thursday’s front page spoke volumes:
“Californians approve $7.5 billion water bond; now what?” …
After billions are spent on pork projects designed to garner
votes (it worked), there’s $2.75 billion set aside for “water
A day after passage of bond measure Proposition 1, water
experts said it was too soon to say exactly how the gusher of
tax dollars will be spent — but they envisioned new pipelines
in Bay Area neighborhoods, groundwater cleanup in the San
Fernando Valley, clean tap water in East Porterville, creek
protections in the Sierra and a new dam on the San Joaquin
California’s passage of a $7.5 billion water bond is not an
end, but a beginning. … Joining us to explain what
Californians need to know about the future of these water funds
is Andrew Fahlund, deputy director of the California Water
California’s aging water infrastructure and collection of
ecosystems will receive a $7.5 billion injection of taxpayer
dollars, as voters on Tuesday approved a sizable bond that had
become a priority for lawmakers and the governor.
Under recently enacted legislation, local agencies in
California are required for the first time to manage
groundwater pumping and recharge sustainably. … Within the
next six to eight years, agencies in groundwater basins subject
to critical overdraft must adopt plans that put these areas on
a path to sustainability by 2040. A major factor complicating
such long-term water planning is climate change.
If you are a water manager, your “fear list” may include
earthquakes, climate change, having your water use made public
and not least of all, new laws and regulations. California has
a law that is new and complex – the Sustainable Groundwater
Management Act. … The key element of the new legislation
is the development of “groundwater sustainability plans” by
groundwater sustainability agencies.
Sometimes, people take identical facts and reach opposite
conclusions. I don’t dispute the facts that Dr. Rob Santos, the
veterinarian and Turlock Irrigation District board member, used
when he wrote “Here’s why I can’t vote for Brown’s water bond”
(Oct. 19, Issues & Ideas).
When Californians close the musty drapes of the voting booth on
Tuesday, they will face a $US 7.5 billion question: Should the
perpetually water-worried state, in the midst of a record
drought, use its taxing authority to pay for another set of
state-funded water projects? If the voters say yes – as the
polls suggest is likely – Proposition 1 will be the seventh and
most expensive water-related bond passed in California since
California voters have turned against two health-related
measures on Tuesday’s ballot while majorities continue to
support a water infrastructure bond and a criminal sentencing
initiative, according to a new Field Poll.
The environmentalists and other activists who had advocated for
protecting the San Gabriel Mountains were shocked this month
when President Obama created a national monument that was
significantly smaller than they had expected and that excluded
heavily used areas of the forest north of Los Angeles and
Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond, gathered the
reluctant hold-your-nose support of The Press Democrat
editorial board. But you should vote no on Proposition 1.
Here’s why: Proposition 1 is not a solution to our water
shortages or drought. But it does burden us with $14.4
billion of real debt obligations including interest …
For the past half-century, California has fallen behind in
adequately planning for our water future by not investing in
water storage and improved infrastructure. This failure,
combined with the persistent drought, has led to the current
statewide water crisis and threatens the future of our
A showdown over whether to employ state legislation requiring
union-backed labor protections on the Interlake Tunnel project
continued Tuesday even as a status report indicated the project
cost has nearly doubled.
California’s stubborn drought helped push a $7.5-billion water
bond through the Legislature and onto the November ballot. But
even if voters approve Proposition 1, it won’t provide relief
any time soon.
Conservationists are turning their attention to the restoration
of the Santa Ana River after recently approved legislation
established a program to create a network of trails and
river-bottom parks that could eventually connect scenic spots
from Big Bear Lake to Huntington Beach.
The Santa Ana River, born of snowmelt and natural springs near
Big Bear Lake, flows through Southern California as one of the
region’s most scenic rivers — until it hits Orange County.
… Under the legislation by state Sen. Lou Correa
(D-Santa Ana), the Santa Ana River Conservancy Program will
operate within the state Coastal Conservancy …”
In his first policy speech as California’s Senate leader, Kevin
de León said one of his key priorities will be combating
climate change by setting policies that promote energy
efficiency. … In his speech to the water officials Thursday,
de León also stumped for Proposition 1 …”
Restoring the ecological health of the Delta is critical to
California’s water system. It’s also a prime reason why voters
should approve Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond on
the November ballot.
The Pacific Institute, an internationally-renowned independent
think tank focused on water issues, has released a report that
helps voters untangle the complexities of the water bond
measure. The Pacific Institute is taking no formal position for
or against Proposition 1.
An in-depth analysis of the $7.5 billion water bond
(Proposition 1) on the Nov. 4 ballot finds that it could
benefit California’s communities and the environment but that
those benefits (water supply, water reliability and
environmental quality improvements) are not guaranteed.
Faced with a state mandate to balance groundwater basins within
the next two decades, Monterey County officials on Tuesday took
the first step toward meeting that goal in the long overdrafted
Salinas Valley groundwater basin.
The [Public Policy Institute of California] survey, produced
with support from The James Irvine Foundation, determined
likely voter sentiment on other issues, including: … On
Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond, 56 percent say they
would support it after being read the ballot title and label
for the measure.
[Gov. Jerry] Brown, running for his fourth term as governor,
used his appearance at The Hamilton Project conference to give
a sort of oral history of California water — which is, in a
sense, a Brown family story — and to make a pitch for
Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion bond measure on the November
The signs appear about 200 miles north of Los Angeles, tacked
onto old farm wagons parked along quiet two-lane roads and
bustling Interstate 5. “Congress Created Dust Bowl.” “Stop the
Politicians’ Water Crisis.” “No Water No Jobs.”
Step by step, sewage flows through the city’s Donald C. Tillman
Water Reclamation Plant in the San Fernando Valley. Ultimately,
the cleaned effluent flows into lakes and rivers.
… Mayor Eric Garcetti, who prefers the term “showers to
flowers” instead of “toilet to tap,” also lobbied for
groundwater cleanup funds.
He’ll [Gov. Jerry Brown] dive further into the world of water
at a policy conference today at Stanford University, hosted by
The Hamilton Project at The Brookings Institution and the
Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. … His
speech, scheduled for 9:20 a.m., will be webcast.
San Joaquin County is missing out on millions of dollars in
state grants to fight the drought, in part because some private
landowners are reluctant to share confidential information
about their wells.
The reduction of water use in new homes has long been a focus
of California’s homebuilding industry. … The good news is the
state has a golden opportunity to use the emergency drought
funds available to retrofit older homes to comply with current
building standards – potentially saving hundreds of billions of
gallons a year.
Federal officials confirmed Wednesday that the Mount Baldy ski
area and village are outside the boundaries of the newly
designated San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, settling
days of uncertainty.
A new campaign is underway to promote the new Salton Sea
license plate, with the goal of registering at least 7,500
pre-sales by the end of next year. … Assemblyman Brian
Nestande, a Palm Desert Republican, sponsored the legislation
to create the plate. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law
It’s been four days since President Barack Obama flew into
Southern California to establish the San Gabriel Mountains
National Monument, but federal officials are still unclear on
exactly where it is. … Neither does staff at the office of
Rep. Judy Chu, D-Monterey Park, who pushed for the designation.
Sonoma County planning officials on Monday unveiled the most
significant changes in nearly 40 years to the county’s
underground well ordinance, which sets in place rules property
owners must follow when drilling a new water well.
President Obama on Friday officially set aside 346,000 acres of
the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument, a move to
link more communities east of Los Angeles with wild places in
their own backyards. … The San Gabriel River takes shape
in three forks that drain a lacework of pristine mountain
Three straight years of desperately dry conditions in
California are igniting hills in walls of towering orange
flames, turning reservoirs to sandpits, and causing residents
across America’s most populous state to clamor for water.
The lure of a San Gabriel Mountains wilderness teeming with
wildlife, rivers and breathtaking panoramas is so strong that
it now draws 3 million annual visitors whose presence,
paradoxically, has overrun the region and degraded its beauty.
President Obama will address that reality Friday by announcing
that he is designating part of the mountains a national
The biggest changes to California groundwater law in 150 years
are on the way. What it means for local water leaders is a lot
of work. The goal within 20 years is for all groundwater basins
in the state to achieve sustainability.
Storage was the key sticking point in getting the legislature
to pass the water bond with the two thirds vote it needed. That
portion of the bond includes reservoirs and projects to clean
up or store more groundwater.
The Sacramento Region is one step closer to reducing its
reliance on Folsom Reservoir. The state of California has
recommended the Regional Water Authority receive almost $10
million for projects to improve water supply.
The legislation, authored by State Assemblyman Luis Alejo,
D-Watsonville, is designed to fast-track the proposal by using
a design-build process on the $25 million project, which calls
for construction of an 8-mile pipeline between Lakes Nacimiento
and San Antonio in South County.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s efforts to clean up California have been
impressive in the past four years, but he outdid himself
Tuesday when he signed the nation’s first statewide ban on
single-use plastic bags at grocery and convenience stores.
The ink was barely dry on the governor’s signature to ban
plastic bags when foes of his decision filed paperwork with the
state attorney general’s office for a referendum in 2016 to
overturn the new law.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto of a bill to reform the California
Department of Toxic Substances Control is drawing indignation
from community groups and state legislators who had pressed for
broad changes at the troubled agency.
Rebates received by homeowners for replacing their lawns with
drought-tolerant landscaping will not be counted as income,
according to a bill authored by a Los Angeles lawmaker and
signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday.
Gov. Jerry Brown launched a statewide campaign Friday — not for
his own re-election, but for a pair of state ballot measures
that he said were critical for both California’s economic and
environmental future. … He called Prop. 1 “the
first real integrated water plan” to come before voters since
his late father, Edmund “Pat” Brown, was governor in the 1960s.
California made history recently when Gov. Jerry Brown signed
into law the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Its
passage marks a once-in-a-century achievement, for it was 100
years ago that California enacted the first comprehensive legal
framework for managing surface water.
Governor Jerry Brown signed into law legislation by State
Senator Lois Wolk, D-Solano, to strengthen requirements that
urban water districts report to the state their water losses
through leaks in their water systems.
Under new amendments to California’s Urban Water Management
Planning Act, urban water suppliers will be required to provide
narrative descriptions of their water demand management
measures and account for system water losses when preparing
Urban Water Management Plans, among other changes. The amended
Act, created by Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature on Assembly Bill
2067 and Senate Bill 1420 last week, also establishes July 1,
2016 as the deadline for urban water suppliers to prepare and
submit their 2015 UWMPs to the Department of Water Resources.
The outcome is rarely certain when state government asks voter
permission to spend $7.5 billion of the taxpayers’ money, but
it’s also unusual for a ballot proposition to win as wide a
range of support as Proposition 1 already had more than a month
before the Nov. 4 Election Day.
An epic drought and wave of wildfires have left California
voters thirsty for the $7.5 billion state water bond on
November’s ballot — and also anxious to approve local bond
measures to supply more water, a wide-ranging new poll finds.
California voters will be faced with a $7.5 billion question
this fall about whether to publicly finance a water bond meant
to help the state better manage its most precious and
increasingly limited resource.
As part of the historic Colorado River Delta, the Salton Sea
regularly filled and dried for thousands of years due to its
elevation of 237 feet below sea level.
The most recent version of the Salton Sea was formed in 1905 when
the Colorado River broke
through a series of dikes and flooded the seabed for two years,
creating California’s largest inland body of water. The
Salton Sea, which is saltier than the Pacific Ocean, includes 130
miles of shoreline and is larger than Lake Tahoe.
The federal Safe Drinking Water Act sets standards for drinking
water quality in the United States.
Launched in 1974 and administered by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, the Safe Drinking Water Act oversees states,
communities, and water suppliers who implement the drinking water
standards at the local level.
The act’s regulations apply to every public water system in the
United States but do not include private wells serving less than
According to the EPA, there are more than 160,000 public water
systems in the United States.
This printed issue of Western Water looks at some of
the pieces of the 2009 water legislation, including the Delta
Stewardship Council, the new requirements for groundwater
monitoring and the proposed water bond.
This printed issue of Western Water looks at California
groundwater and whether its sustainability can be assured by
local, regional and state management. For more background
information on groundwater please refer to the Foundation’s
Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater.
This printed issue of Western Water looks at hydraulic
fracturing, or “fracking,” in California. Much of the information
in the article was presented at a conference hosted by the
Groundwater Resources Association of California.