April 2018

California announces tentative funding for new giant dams

Bids to enlarge the East Bay's Los Vaqueros Reservoir and Santa Clara County's Pacheco Reservoir were deemed eligible for the highly sought Proposition 1 money. So were proposals for a new, 13-mile-long reservoir in Sites (Colusa County) and a new, 18-mile-long reservoir known as Temperance Flat near Fresno.

San Francisco Chronicle, April 19, 2018

What needs to happen for San Joaquin Valley to replenish its groundwater

The San Joaquin Valley -- where decades of unchecked pumping has depleted reserves, resulting in a long-term deficit of nearly 2 million acre-feet per year -- has about a generation to bring its groundwater use into balance to comply with the state's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Storing more water underground through "groundwater recharge" can help, reducing the deficit by as much as a quarter.

Sacramento Bee, April 18, 2018

Don't be rushed in awarding water storage billions, California. Let's take our time

But the commission shouldn't let itself be rushed through this final phase of deliberation. All these projects deserve careful and thorough consideration. If the commission stays its course in carrying out voters' mandate to make sound investments in water storage and drought preparation, average Californians and the state's ecosystem will benefit in an enduring, sustainable manner that gives our water system more of what it needs to confront climate change.

Sacramento Bee, April 17, 2018

White House, Congress side with California growers over raising Shasta Dam

Congress and the Trump administration are pushing ahead with a plan to raise a towering symbol of dam-building's 20th century heyday to meet the water demands of 21st century California -- a project backed by San Joaquin Valley growers but opposed by state officials, defenders of a protected river and an American Indian tribe whose sacred sites would be swamped.

San Francisco Chronicle, April 14, 2018

Water agency approves $11B for California twin tunnels plan

California's largest water agency on Tuesday approved a nearly $11 billion plan to help fund two enormous tunnels, breathing new life into Gov. Jerry Brown's ambitious and controversial plan to remake the state's water system.

Sacramento Bee, April 10, 2018

Southern California water agency backs off plan to finance both Delta tunnels

That plan died suddenly on Monday, less than a week after staffers from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California presented the proposal to the agency's board of directors. The district -- the source of tap water for 75 percent of Ventura County residents -- ultimately decided the financing plan contained too many risks.

VC Star April 4, 2018

March 2018

Westlands' water rights bill is poison for taxpayers

In summary, there are no safeguards for the environment or taxpayers. This is a bad deal for California and America. Meanwhile, salt continues to accumulate under Westlands farms. Some of us remember what happened to Mesopotamia.

Fresno Bee, March 23, 2018

California doesn't want this towering water project. Trump administration may build it anyway

The Trump administration is pushing forward with a colossal public works project in Northern California -- heightening the towering Shasta Dam the equivalent of nearly two stories. The problem is that California is dead-set against the plan, and state law prohibits the 602-foot New Deal-era structure from getting any taller.

Los Angeles Times, March 15, 2018

New Report Sparks Debate: Delta Tunnels Could Help Save Fish Species

"We predicted they'd go extinct if present trends continue," he [Peter Moyle] said. "The new report is a plan to make present trends not continue." The paper -- entitled "Making the Delta a Better Place for Native Fishes" -- aims to provide lawmakers and policy directors with a framework to reverse the trends that have made the Delta such a hostile place for native fish that evolved to thrive in an estuary environment.

KQED, March 13, 2018

These Chinook almost went extinct during California's drought. Can this $100 million plan save them?

Thanks to cold springs that keep the stream flowing all summer long, Battle Creek long has been considered a possible sanctuary for the winter-run, which spawn in the blast-furnace heat of the Sacramento Valley's summers.

Sacramento Bee, March 8, 2018

Jerry Brown's grand California water solution remains in jeopardy as he prepares to exit

Opponents still don't like the so-called WaterFix plan, which despite downsizing is massive. Financing remains an open question. And backers haven't given up their dream of two 35-mile tunnels carrying high-quality Sacramento River water under the delta's levee-ringed farm islands to government pumping plants that fill southbound aqueducts.

Los Angeles Times, March 5, 2018

Los Angeles' new "Mulholland moment" for safe and adequate water: Eric Garcetti

In years past, we've taken water from the Owens Valley, the California Delta and the Colorado River. But we cannot rely solely on 20th century engineering for our 21st century water needs -- and projects like the Delta tunnels run the risk of siphoning off precious ratepayer dollars and endangering the fragile Delta ecosystem.

Los Angeles Daily News, March 3, 2018

January 2018

State scores Temperance Flat dam project at a big fat zero. Boosters are pushing back

An application for $1 billion of state bond money to build Temperance Flat dam east of Fresno scored a dismal zero from the California Water Commission on the cost-benefit ratio, potentially jeopardizing its construction.Supporters of the dam expressed shock and dismay and are blaming the commission staff for the low score.

Fresno Bee, January 28, 2018

Editorial: Don't give Southern California control of Delta water

The Associated Press reports that the governor is considering removing control of design, construction and operation of any Delta project from the state Department of Water Resources and giving it to the water agencies that pay for it. This means any Delta water conveyance project would be largely driven by Southern California's Metropolitan Water District.

San Jose Mercury News, January 27, 2018

Options for Gov. Brown's delta tunnel project look to be drying u

Very little about the project known as California WaterFix is clear. A report by the state auditor last October expressed concern that "the state has not completed either an economic or a financial analysis to demonstrate the financial viability" of the twin-tunnel plan.

Orange County Register, January 26, 2018

Delta Smelt Fail To Rebound, Despite End To California Drought

The 2016-2017 water year was one of the wettest on record in California. While all that water in the system was enough to officially end the state's drought, its impact on endangered species is another story, especially when it comes to the Delta smelt. A survey conducted in October 2017 by state and federal agencies found only 2 of the fish, the lowest number on record.

NPR, January 26, 2018

How Trump's pumping plan is dividing California over water -- again

The Trump administration's plan, which will take about a year to finalize, is based in large part on a 2016 law signed by former President Barack Obama. The vaguely worded law creates some additional protections for the Delta but also directs pump operators to deliver more water when possible to customers of the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project. Many environmental groups condemn the law, but its backers, including California's U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, said it served as a compromise between environmental and water-supply needs.

Sacramento Bee, January 26, 2018

Nearly all envisioned dams and reservoirs don't provide enough public benefit

Signaling trouble for nearly a dozen landmark water storage projects to help California cope with its next drought, state water officials on Thursday announced none of the proposals -- including the Sites Reservoir in Northern California -- provide the public benefits that their supporters claim, potentially putting their state funding at risk.

Daily Democrat, January 19, 2018

Brown administration working to scale down $17 billion Delta tunnels project

Faced with a shortage of money and political support after seven years of work, Gov. Jerry Brown's administration is working on a plan to scale back one of his key legacy projects -- a $17 billion proposal to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to make it easier to move water from Northern California to the south.

Mercury News, January 12, 2018

Editorial: Block Trump plan to pump Delta water south to the Central Valley

California must block this plan to curry favor with Trump supporters at the expense of the Delta and the communities that now rely on its water.

Mercury news, January 8, 2018

The delta smelt heads for extinction, marking a half-century of failed California water policy

"This fish draws so much attention not because they are an indicator of the health of the ecosystem. That will affect not only the delta smelt itself, but other species, and even the health of humans," says Tien-Chieh Hung, director of the fish conservation and culture laboratory at UC Davis, which is trying to cultivate a population of delta smelt for possible restoration in the wild some time in the future.

Los Angeles Times, January 5, 2018

As fish disappear, Trump administration seeks to pump more California water south

The Trump administration, teeing up a fight with California regulators, is trying to pump more water through the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the southern half of the state despite fresh evidence of the estuary's shrinking fish population.

Sacramento Bee, January 2, 2018