Recent California Water News
May 2013"Water group blasts Delta Plan
The "Delta Plan," adopted Thursday as state law by the Delta Stewardship Commission, is fatally flawed, says a nonprofit water group based in Santa Barbara."
Central Valley Business Times, May 16, 2013
"Editorial: If BDCP were science-based, Delta flows would be a priority
This editorial board has called on Gov. Jerry Brown not to approve any tunnel or other "conveyance" project for the Delta until there is a clear understanding among all parties on how much water would be available for the ecosystem, and how much is leftover for water exports."
Sacramento Bee, May 12, 2013
"Why Federal Efforts to Ensure Clean Tap Water Fail to Reach Faucets Nationwide
The Environmental Protection Agency distributes these funds to state agencies that are supposed to identify problems and underwrite solutions. By the E.P.A.'s calculations, no state has been as inept in distributing the money as California."
New York Times, May 10, 2013
"Mercury News editorial: Bay Area can't afford to lose Delta water fight
The best way to improve the health of the Delta is to fix the damaged levee system and allow more water to flow through the estuary, not less. Additional water for cities and agriculture can come from increased recycling and from expanding reservoirs and using underground aquifers for more storage."
Mercury News, May 3, 2013
April 2013"EDITORIAL: All options must be on table for Bay-Delta fix
If Gov. Jerry Brown had his way, the tunneling machines would be boring right now under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, carving out space for two 40-foot-wide tunnels to ship Sacramento River water to cities and irrigation districts south of the Delta."
Fresno Bee, April 30, 2013
"The consensus seems to be: Let somebody else fix the delta
Confidential surveys of water officials, water users and others involved with the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta offer some telling insight on why the delta is stuck in a perpetual quagmire. When it comes to fixing the hub of California's water system, most parties would prefer it if someone else made the sacrifices."
Los Angeles Times, April 29, 2013
"$35B overhaul of water system on tap
The combined price tag for a grand redesign of California's plumbing network now surpasses a staggering $35 billion, although there are signals that the final bill will eventually shrink."
San Diego Union Tribune, April 28, 2013
"Interactive map: Sacramento Delta tunnel project
The Bay Delta Conservation Plan would affect 3,530 acres of land in Sacramento County, mostly between Freeport and Courtland, to divert Sacramento River water. This map shows the latest official location and size of the proposed facilities, which may change when a final proposal is released later this year."
Sacramento Bee, April 28, 2013
"Editorial: Feds need to press Brown to look at all options for a Bay-Delta fix
What is really needed is for the Obama administration to address some of the gaping flaws in BDCP, which the governor has so far refused to acknowledge or confront."
Sacramento Bee, April 28, 2013
"Gov. Jerry Brown presses feds for quick review of Delta water tunnel project
Brown's letter follows growing pressure from the water agencies funding the project, including the Kern County Water Agency, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Westlands Water District. They agreed to pay $240 million toward planning efforts. Nearly all that has been spent, and they are concerned that delays beyond this year would require still more money."
Sacramento Bee, April 26, 2013
"Congressional Democrats demand resignation of Brown appointee
The controversy surrounds Jerry Meral, deputy director of the state Natural Resources Agency, who allegedly told officials that Brown's water plan was never about saving the delta and that in fact the delta could not be saved."
L.A. Times, April 26, 2013
"Governor's tunnel plan could take Humboldt County's Trinity water, impact salmon
In the course of the last half-century, Humboldt County has stood fast for our rights and interests. We all have a right and responsibility to protect this precious resource, and urge all Californians to oppose any form of a BDCP that takes more of our water. We also urge the Department of the Interior to act to resolve this issue. To take our water is to steal our future. "
Times Standard, April 25, 2013
"Viewpoints: Twin tunnels water grab is doomed to fail
California deserves a better plan. In fact, one exists -- a rational and cost-effective strategy based on conservation, recycling, groundwater recharge and the retirement of impaired agricultural lands."
Sacramento Bee, April 25, 2013
"Delta pipeline pact could 'get project done, then go away'
Southern California water agencies have been quietly negotiating with state officials to take a major role in designing and building the giant Sacramento River diversion tunnels at the core of Gov. Jerry Brown's water policy for the state, according to documents obtained by The Bee."
Sacramento Bee, April 22, 2013
"California not complying with water act, EPA says
California today was declared to be out of compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act because it is sitting on $455 million that should be spent to improve local drinking water systems."
Sacramento Bee, April 19, 2013
"Colorado River tops 2013 endangered waterways list
The annual top-10 list by Washington, D.C.-based American Rivers points to a three-year federal Bureau of Reclamation study that warned last December that the river won't always be able to serve all the residents, businesses, ranchers, Native Americans and farmers who rely upon it.The Merced River, which flows through Yosemite Valley in California, was added to the list due to concerns that Congress may weaken wild and scenic protections."
Sacramento Bee, April 16, 2013
"Fish agencies still have concerns about Delta tunnels
Federal wildlife agencies still have serious concerns about how two giant water diversion tunnels proposed in the Delta may harm imperiled species such as salmon and Delta smelt."
Sacramento Bee, April 15, 2013
"Carolee Krieger: California's Delta water drain scheme is like "Chinatown" all over again
A massive public works project that will strain the state treasury, increase Southern California water rates and wreak environmental havoc - while benefiting a narrow, wealthy constituency - is the last thing California needs. This isn't the 1930s. It's high time to bring California's water politics into the 21st century."
Los Angeles Daily News, April 3, 2013
March 2013"Broke California Unveils Fish-Saving Boondoggle
The plan would not increase the water-flow capacity -- the pipes coming out of the southern pumping plant would not be widened -- but would improve reliability by eliminating the lawsuits that routinely stop the pumps to ensure that there's enough freshwater to protect the fish. In other words, engineering is being proposed to fix a legal and regulatory problem."
Bloomberg View Newsletter, March 31, 2013
"The Delta: Rep rips tunnels, offers own plan
U.S. Representative John Garamendi is so disappointed in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan that he has suggested an alternative."
Benicia Herald, March 31, 2013
"Stuart Leavenworth: Scope and impact of Delta twin tunnels is starting to hit home
As state and federal officials push ahead with their Bay Delta Conservation Plan, the unavoidable elephant in the room is the 35-mile twin tunnels they propose to build through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. BDCP supporters would prefer the media not focus so much on these tunnels."
Sacramento Bee, March 25, 2013
"Delta twin-pipe plan moves ahead
Seven years in the making, the first details of the $23 billion plan to restore the San Francisco Bay and delta ecosystems were unveiled last week by state and federal water agencies. Regrettably, the presentation assumed the need to build a twin-pipe project to move water 35 miles under the delta, leaving little room in the public debate to suggest alternatives."
San Francisco Chronicle, March 17, 2013
February 2013"Carolee Krieger: Land retirement solves selenium problem
This low-tech and cost-effective approach would effectively solve all of our drainwater problems. Selenium contamination of the San Joaquin River -- and ultimately, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and San Francisco Bay -- would fall to near zero because drainwater discharges would cease. We would save great quantities of California's most precious natural resource -- water. And large tracts of land would become available for a wide range of alternative uses, including sustainable industries such as solar energy farms."
Fresno Bee, February 20, 2013
"Report: California fishermen in 2012 caught most Chinook salmon since 2005
The 2012 king salmon commercial fishing season was the best in California in nearly a decade, according to a new report that also offers hope for good trolling in 2013."
san Mateo County Times, February 20, 2013
"Delta pipes pitch less than perfect
The pipe idea - single or double - won't address the need to take less water from the delta (delta exports rose to a record in 2011), and it disturbs the flow through the delta needed to maintain the salmon population.The governor needs to forget the flannel shirt and embrace a plan that keeps more water in the delta."
San Francisco Chronicle, February 19, 2013
"Lawmakers call for study of alternatives to Bay Delta plan
Six members of Congress want the Department of the Interior and the Commerce Department to do a cost-benefit analysis of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, due to be released in final form shortly."
Central Valley Business Times, February 13, 2013
"Deaths of endangered fish curtail water exports
State and federal water managers have reduced exports to the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California after too many delta smelt die at the delta's export pumps."
Los Angeles Times, February 13, 2013
"Earth Log: Valley drinking water woes in spotlight in state report
We're talking about water systems relying solely on tainted groundwater that violates standards, forcing people to buy bottled drinking water. Of the 772,883 Californians in that situation, 400,000 are in the San Joaquin Valley."
Fresno Bee, February 12, 2013
"Delta water diversions reduced to protect smelt
Federal wildlife officials Friday ordered substantial cuts in water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect a rare fish."
Sacramento Bee, February 9, 2013
"National Heritage Area status sought for Delta
California's U.S. senators introduced a bill in Congress on Monday to name the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as a National Heritage Area."
Sacramento Bee, February 6, 2013
"California Gets Fracked
Big Oil is rushing to extract fossil fuel from the state's underground shale formation. But will it contaminate - and waste - portions of our water supply?"
East Bay Express, February 6, 2013
Editorial: Congress must vote to save the Klamath
It's time for Washington to heed science over politics. The test involves the ailing Klamath River, where four aging power dams along the California-Oregon border are holding back farming, tainting river flows with toxic algae, and decimating migratory fish."
San Francisco Chronicle, February 5, 2013
January 2013"Economist blasts cost-benefit analysis plans for Delta tunnels
Like the proverbial butcher with his thumb on the scale, the state's plans to do a cost-benefits analysis of Gov. Jerry Brown's scheme to suck water out of the Sacramento River would seem to be rigged. That's a conclusion that could be drawn from reading a criticism of the plans by economist Jeffrey Michael of the plans of the governor's Department of Water Resources."
Central Valley Business Times, January 29, 2013
"Jerry Brown's water plan faces mixed reviews
The controversy is decades old. Yet the pointed nature of the criticism -- and the eagerness of even Democratic lawmakers to challenge Brown on a day in which tradition suggests restraint -- laid bare how significant a test of Brown's political abilities the $14 billion project may be."
Sacramento Bee, January 28, 2013
"Editorial: Can governor broker a water peace treaty?
Water is crucial to California's economy and environment, and both are threatened if the state does not plan for its future. Climate change portends a future of extremes -- deluges and floods some years and droughts that could last decades. California must change how it uses, stores, protects and moves its erratic water supply."
Sacramento Bee, January 24, 2013
"A better idea, and billions cheaper
The concept put forward by the county water authority, Filner, the other water agencies and the environmental groups -- a remarkable alliance in itself -- proposes a single, smaller tunnel under the delta. They say it could be built for $5 billion-$7 billion, with the billions in savings helping to pay for development of projects that many Southern California water agencies already have in their long-term plans to significantly increase the development of new local water supplies."
San Diego Union Tribune, January 20, 2013
"Groups say smaller delta tunnel is better
A group of conservation organizations and Bay Area water agencies is proposing a vastly scaled-down version of a new export system for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, arguing that it would cost less and be more reliable than a plan supported by Gov. Jerry Brown's administration."
Los Angeles Times, January 16, 2013
"Governor's delta plan is a big mistake
A combative Gov. Jerry Brown has announced his plan to dig two huge tunnels underneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta - comparable to the "Chunnel" between England and France - at the estimated cost of more than $15 billion. The stated purpose is to provide water "reliability" for Southern California users; "reliability," in this case, is code for more water. The delta cannot be saved and its ecological crisis cannot be addressed by taking out more water."
San Francisco Chronicle, January 9, 2013
December 2012"Groups mull plan to reintroduce chinook salmon in upper Sacramento, McCloud rivers
After an absence of more than 70 years, chinook salmon and steelhead may be returning to their native waters in the Upper Sacramento and McCloud rivers. Spurred by dwindling numbers of steelhead and winter- and spring-run chinook in Central Valley waters, an ad hoc committee of federal and state agencies has been studying the possibility of their reintroduction above Shasta Dam to boost their numbers and their overall health."
Redding Record Searchlight, December 29, 2012
"Mercury News editorial: California's water supply comes before fracking needs
The great fracking debate is coming to California, pitting the oil and natural gas industry against environmentalists in a battle for control of the Monterey Shale, believed to be the richest oil deposit in the United States. Gov. Jerry Brown has gotten off to a terrible start. The draft rules he has released are ridiculously inadequate."
Mercury News, December 28, 2012
"Viewpoints: Water challenges need a viable bond measure
Regionally, water managers have discovered that local investments in recycling, conservation and storm-water capture are the key to increasing water supply reliability, reducing reliance on the Delta and adapting to the impacts on climate change. Aggressive development of these local resources will ensure a more secure water supply for each region and the state as a whole."
The Sacramento Bee, December 20, 2012
"Most of California's water footprint tied to food production
These days, there's a lot of discussion of carbon footprints. A new study by the Pacific Institute focuses on another footprint, that of water. The report, released Tuesday by the Oakland-based think tank, takes a look at the amount of water required to produce the goods Californians consume, whether it's the food we eat or the things we buy; whether they are produced in state or imported from other states or foreign countries."
Lost Angeles Times, December 11, 2012
"Sinking farms hinder San Joaquin River restoration
The San Joaquin River restoration has hit a strange snag -- a vast area of swiftly sinking farmland. It means the much-heralded return of salmon runs to the state's second-longest river will wait a little longer. Over the past two years, irrigation pumping near the river has caused a two-foot dip in the landscape across many square miles on the valley's west side, federal engineers say. Now, months from the start of major construction in the restoration, the engineers must rethink the $25 million replacement of Sack Dam, which would have special features for salmon passage."
The Modesto Bee, December 9, 2012
November 2012"Disruption of water delivery could devastate L.A. County economy
An earthquake that shuts down water deliveries from Northern California for a year could devastate the Los Angeles County economy, costing $55 billion and wiping out a half-million jobs, according to a new study."
Los Angeles Times, November 30, 2012
"Salmon still not receiving promised water
A key goal of this [the 1992 Central Valley Project Improvement Act] water project is to rebuild the state's commercially valuable salmon fishery and the rest of the delta ecosystem. The act required water managers to double the average number of adult naturally reproducing salmon (as opposed to hatchery-raised fish) in Central Valley rivers. In spite of good intentions, the law hasn't worked."
San Francisco Chronicle, November 21, 2012
"US, Mexico sign pact on new rules for sharing Colorado River water in fight against drought
The United States and Mexico on Tuesday signed a pact for new rules on sharing water from the Colorado River, capping a five-year effort on how to spread the pain of drought and reap the benefits of wet years. The far-reaching agreement gives Mexico badly needed water storage capacity in Lake Mead, which stretches across Nevada and Arizona."
The Washington Post, November 20, 2012
"Calif. snowpack outlook grim for water
The future of water for drinking and irrigation looks increasingly bleak throughout California and the world's northern regions as the changing global climate shrinks mountain snowpacks and speeds early runoffs, Stanford researchers forecast."
San Francisco Chronicle, November 12, 2012
"Feds to evaluate rates charged for Delta water
The federal government is reviewing how much its clients pay for water pumped out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and will update the public on the process on Nov. 16 in Sacramento."
Sacramento Bee, November 7, 2012
"Bad news for salmon: streams warmer and lower
A study of mountain streams in the West over the past 60 years finds the hottest temperatures of summer and the lowest water levels of fall are converging--which is bad news for salmon."
Contra Costa Times, November 6, 2012
October 2012"Congressman calls for more federal money to strengthen Delta's levees
Mr. Garamendi is also calling for a statewide cost-benefit analysis of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to ensure the plan does not cause harm to Northern California farming, fishing, and tourism."
Central Valley Business Times, October 24, 2012
September 2012"Klamath salmon could be harmed by planned canal
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors was right when it recently acted to protect the Trinity and Klamath River salmon runs from the looming peripheral canal."
Eureka Times-Standard, September 27, 2012
August 2012"Viewpoints: Healthy headwaters are key to water future
The climate news is sobering. But we have the opportunity now to advance innovative policies that will help modernize our approach to water. Only then will we be able to ensure that we have enough water to meet all of the needs of a 21st century economy and environment."
Sacramento Bee, August 26, 2012
"Opinion: Keep fishing for a water solution
The biggest threat to this estuarine paradise is the volume of freshwater exported south from the delta. Two recently peer-reviewed scientific studies have criticized the high level of delta water exports."
San Francisco Chronicle, August 21, 2012
"Viewpoints: Restore public trust to water law
What can be done to restore the public's trust in California water? A fundamental first step lies within my profession of law: restoring California's remarkable public trust doctrine."
Sacramento Bee, August 20, 2012
"Solano County Board of Supervisors say Gov.Brown's idea a 'pie in the sky'
Gov. Jerry Brown's "tunnel vision" to move forward with building a large water conveyance to move massive amounts of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to Southern California without seeking the necessary input from Solano County is a "pie in the sky" idea, according to supervisors."
The Vacaville Reporter, August 15, 2012
"Editorial: A nice problem for north's rivers: Too many salmon
The Sacramento River runs are booming, and the Klamath River this year is expecting the best salmon return in decades -- to the point were fisheries managers fear an overcrowded river that will spread disease and lead to a repeat of the notorious 2002 fish die-off."
Redding Record, August 13, 2012
"Redirecting Fresh Water Raises Fears for Farmers
Opponents, including elected officials and farmers from this area, say the tunnels will reduce the amount of fresh water in the delta and cause irreparable damage to fish and farmland by raising the level of salt water."
New York Times, August 11, 2012
"Our View: Math makes governor's pipeline a pipe dream
The only analysis that makes sense is that the peripheral tunnel idea would result in less water for the Delta and more water for users in the Central Valley and SoCal. You don't even have to follow the water to figure that out -- all you have to do is follow the money."
Tracy Press, August 10, 2012
"The Conversation: Eclectic Delta coalition is set to fight proposal for 'peripheral tunnels'
"We think it is wrong to sacrifice one region of the state so others can benefit," said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, a self-described "Stockton mom with an email list and an attitude" who serves as campaign director for Restore the Delta. "Should we be taking water from one set of farmers to help another?" she asks."
Sacramento Bee, August 5, 2012
"Return of the California water wars
Herrick, the South Delta Water Agency manager, said there is too little water in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta system to satisfy all users."
Tracy Press, August 3, 2012
"California Water Wars: Will Thirsty Interests Divert More Water?
The San Joaquin delta is a merging spot of rivers, sloughs, and canals, where water and snow from the Sierra Nevada Mountains flows to the Pacific Ocean. But there are some residents, especially farmers, who worry that thirsty interests will divert more of their water and ruin their livelihoods. Spencer Michels reports."
PBS News Hour, August 2, 2012
July 2012"Brown's tunnel vision
It's up to opponents to put a decisive end to governor's blatant Delta water grab"
Stockton Record, July 30, 2012
"Why is governor picking a water fight?
Balancing these needs and concerns is California's water future. We need the governor to lead us there, not just tell us he's going to "make stuff happen" because he's 74 and impatient on his second tour of duty in the governor's office. "
San Francisco Chronicle, July 30, 2012
"Viewpoints: Delta can't be restored on a wink and a promise
The proposed plan stakes the Delta's future on a wink and a promise. Trust us, they say. We'll build now, take the water and figure out how to protect the Delta later."
Sacramento Bee, July 28, 2012
"Editorial: Water war to heat up
Our view: There's nothing to like about the delta tunnel proposal, and plenty to fear. "
Chico Enterprise Record, July 27, 2012
"Mercury News editorial: Tunnel vision is bad news for the Delta
Gov. Jerry Brown's tunnel vision on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta points to a $23 billion disaster. A tipoff: The governor and Legislature refuse to require a cost-benefit analysis of the project, which feeds suspicion that it wouldn't pencil out."
Mercury News, July 27, 2012
"Editorial: State needs to protect precious groundwater
State and federal leaders must be part of the push for better groundwater management. In the Central Valley, groundwater makes up 80 percent of total water use, but gets much less attention than management of streams, rivers and the Delta. That needs to change if California's cities and farms are going to survive the droughts in our future."
Sacramento Bee, July 27, 2012
"Gov. Jerry Brown fires first shot in new water war
But opponents said the governor's proposal threatens the delta's health, which could result in possible great harm to fish and wildlife and vowed to fight it."
Mercury News, July 26, 2012
"California's next North-vs.-South battle over water begins Wednesday
Opening a major new chapter in California's decades-old battle over water, Gov. Jerry Brown is scheduled Wednesday to unveil plans to build a $14 billion pair of tunnels to move water more easily from the north to the thirsty south. Mercury News, July 24, 2012
"California's water bond that wasn't
The $11-billon measure was pulled off the November ballot. But the problems it addresses aren't going away."
Los Angeles Times, July 15, 2012
"Contra Costa Supes say No to the Peripheral Canal
Contra Costa County took an official "no" position on the contentious state and federal proposal to siphon Sacramento Delta water into central and Southern California through an underground tunnel."
Contra Costa Times, July 10, 2012
"Op-Ed: Gov. Jerry Brown's delta fix is not much of a plan
Questions abound. Until there are answers, the delta "fix" is less than a plausible plan."
San Francisco Chronicle, July 9,2012
June 2012"Op-Ed--Newton: Water ethics and a peripheral canal
...Brown has the opportunity to adjust California's historic relationship to water. As he does so, he should keep these principles in mind: Moving water is not a sin, but using it to favor big farms over family farms is unacceptable. And protecting Southern California's water future is commendable, but it shouldn't come at the expense of the delta's."
Los Angeles Times, June 25, 2012
"Stuart Leavenworth: Delta water deal is a long way from being cooked
Every politician wants to be part of a win-win deal, but sometimes, that is impossible. The Delta may be that type of situation. There may be no way to reverse the decline of this estuary while water contractors get the water they want or think they need. If that is the case, state and federal officials should figure that out now, not after a $14 billion investment is made."
Sacramento Bee, June 24, 2012
"Op-ed: Time to heed water warnings, rebuild our salmon runs
Gov. Brown's top aides are moving ahead with plans to build a massive peripheral canal that looks a lot like the one voters rejected in 1982. Only this time the project is expected to cost on the order of $40 billion to build and finance -- a lot of money at a time when the state is broke."
Sonoma News, June 7, 2012
"Voters will kill a peripheral canal
We share The Chronicle's view that a peripheral canal is a bad idea, but we disagree that its construction is inevitable."
San Francisco Chronicle, June 7, 2012
"California Peripheral canal coming soon
While the future of a proposed high-speed railroad to move people in California remains in doubt, a proposed giant canal to move water from Northern C alifornia to the south appears almost assured - with a little help from Washington. Now the questions are: How big? And whose hand is on the spigot?"
San Francisco Chronicle, June 3, 2012