April 2016

Too many water straws in the ground?

Wolk, a Davis Democrat whose district formerly included Stockton, is pushing a bill that would require local agencies to place conditions on new well construction - in some cases, at least.

Stockton Record, April 19, 2016

Delta tunnels bill mandating voter approval advances

Voters would have to approve Delta tunnels. Massive project seeks to export water south. Gov. Jerry Brown remains a supporter.

Sacramento Bee, April 19, 2016

Lawmakers reject bill for greater twin tunnels scrutiny

California lawmakers have rejected legislation that would have added protections for water contractors in a massive project to ship water from Northern to Southern California through a pair of twin tunnels. AB2583 by Assemblyman Jim Frazier, a Democrat from Oakley, could have delayed Gov. Jerry Brown's $15.7 billion water tunnel project by requiring more extensive environmental review.

Associated Press, April 19, 2016

Bill in works to put Delta tunnels to vote

Stockton Democratic Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman plans to present legislation Tuesday afternoon that would prohibit the building of Gov. Jerry Brown's Delta tunnels project without a statewide vote

Central Valley Business Tmes, April 19, 2016

Westlands Water District deal is questioned by lawmakers

Northern California lawmakers are turning up the heat on the Westlands Water District with coordinated calls for congressional hearings and tougher Obama administration scrutiny. Citing recent enforcement action by the Securities and Exchange Commission, House Democrats from outside the San Joaquin Valley on Thursday initiated what one lawmaker termed "an investigation" into the district and its proposed irrigation drainage deal with the administration.

McClatchy Washington Bureau, April 17, 2016

Drought proposals in Congress are so last century

Politicians could have passed laws four years ago that would yield benefits today. Instead, Congress has fixated on building dams and rewriting Endangered Species Act Feinstein, Valadao bills offer few benefits that don't harm other water users.

Sacramento Bee, April 16, 2016

Congressional challenge to Obama water deal in California

California Democrats in Congress launched challenges Thursday to a proposed Obama administration settlement with a powerful California water district, including announcing their own probe of the deal. The multi-front assault by the deal's opponents comes as the U.S. Department of Interior and other federal agencies near conclusion on negotiations related to the settlement with Central California's Westlands Water District, the country's largest irrigation district.

Associated Press, April 14, 2016

New Sea Level Rise Study Calls Delta Tunnels Into Doubt

The at-least-$17-billion public works project, intended to divert Sacramento River water around the Delta to the giant pumps that send that water south to farms and cities, may well find its proposed tunnel intakes under three or four feet of seawater by the end of the century.

KCET, April 14, 2016

Striking back on Delta land buy

San Joaquin and Contra Costa counties - along with farmers and environmental groups - sued Thursday to block a Southern California water district from buying more than 20,000 acres of farmland in the heart of the estuary. The lawsuit, filed in San Joaquin County Superior Court, charges that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California violated the law when it determined that the $175 million land buy is exempt from environmental study.

Recordnet.com, April 14, 2016

Southern California's Delta land purchase to be challenged

San Joaquin and Contra Costa counties, along with Delta farmers and environmental groups, intend to sue today over a large Southern California water district's efforts to buy more than 20,000 acres of land in the Delta.

Stockton Record, April 14, 2016

GOP should drop effort to gut Endangered Species Act

MWD seeks to ensure reliable water delivery by buying five Delta islands. Farming interests are noncommittal on Jerry Brown's twin tunnels project. Republicans offer a counterproductive plan to weaken Endangered Species Act.

Sacramento Bee, April 13, 2016

North Valley rivers make 'endangered' list

No. 2 ranking on 2016 list for San Joaquin River and three tributaries. National group says diversions have harmed San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Merced rivers. River users defend diversions and worry about proposed flow increases

Modesto Bee, April 12, 2016

House Republicans reopen the bidding on California water bill

GOP lawmakers now trying a must-pass appropriations bill to push their water agenda. Once again, an effort to squelch San Joaquin River restoration program. New tactical maneuver reviving familiar water ideas.

McClatchy DC, April 12, 2016

California's Tunnels Spending Prompts Federal Review

Federal authorities say they will investigate whether California improperly used federal funds for Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed water tunnels. The Interior Department's inspector general said in a letter made public Monday that it will look into the funding allegations. A group called Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility asked for the review, on behalf of an unidentified federal whistleblower.

Capital Public Radio, April 12, 2016

Mercury News editorial: Contra Costa's secret water deal hurts Bay Are

In a quest to protect drinking-water supply, Contra Costa Water District directors secretly cut a deal that sold out the entire Bay Area. Under the bargain with the state, CCWD will drop objections to Gov. Jerry Brown's twin tunnels proposal. In exchange, the state will provide enough upstream water to offset the project's expected increase of salinity, algae and minerals at the district's water source in the western Delta.

Metropolitan Water District buys 20,000 acres of Sacrament-San Joaquin River delta land

California's largest water district has signed a multimillion deal to buy several sprawling islands far north in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, drawing criticism for giving the powerful district a stronghold in the vital water hub, officials said Monday. The deal worth $175 million will put the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California in ownership of 20,000 acres in the delta, a source of water for millions of residents throughout the state and some of the nation's most valuable farmland.

Associated Press, April 11, 2016

Time for Plan B to save the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta

After years of spending millions of water ratepayer and taxpayer dollars on a flawed plan to build tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, it's time to develop a realistic and cost-effective plan to save the delta and address the state's water supply needs. It's time for Plan B.

San Francisco Chroncle, April 6, 2016

A delta tunnel project's lofty ambitions have been scaled back

The San Joaquin Valley irrigation districts and Southland water agencies that would pay for the project originally envisioned it as a grand delta fix that would push water exports back to - or even above - their peak in the early 2000s of an average 5.3 million acre-feet a year. But as the project has gone through a protracted environmental review by skeptical federal fishery agencies, reality has set in. Instead of cranking open the pumps, the tunnels will, at best, do little more than maintain the status quo.

Los Angeles Times, April 4, 2016

East Bay water distrct's Delta deal raises eyebrows among environmentalists

In a deal stirring up new waves about the governor's twin water tunnels plan through the Delta, a water supplier for 500,000 Contra Costa County residents has dropped its protest against the project in exchange for a new source of higher-quality water from the Sacramento River. Some environmentalist say the legal deal between the state and the Contra Costa Water District helps the district at the expense of water quality for the Delta environment, farms and fish.

Marin Independent Journal, April 4, 2016

March 2016

California seeks hearing delay for giant water tunnels

California and federal officials want to delay crucial hearings on Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to build two giant water tunnels to help move water from Northern California. The 60-day delay was sought Monday by the Brown administration and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. It was the second request for a delay of the hearings, currently set for May.

Record.net, March 29, 1016

Deadlines down the drain for State Water Board

The State Water Resources Control Board has postponed any action on a request that's key to building the governor's mammoth peripheral tunnels system under the California Deltas.

Central Valley Business Times, March 29, 2016

Gov. Brown's $17 billion Delta tunnels plan faces new hurdle -- a leading taxpayers organization

In a development that casts significant doubt on whether Silicon Valley's largest water district will help pay for Gov. Jerry Brown's $17 billion Delta tunnels plan, a majority of Santa Clara Valley Water District board members now say they want to put the issue to a public vote.

San Jose Mercury News, March 27, 2016

Feinstein, GOP press Obama administration on delta water

As lingering El Nino rains swell the state's rivers, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein joined California House Republicans on Thursday to demand that President Obama order more water to be pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to farms in the San Joaquin Valley.

San Francisco Chronicle, March 24,2016

New Dispute Erupts Over Sacramento Delta Tunnels Project

A potentially major fight has erupted over Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to build two huge tunnels beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, with a key Central Valley agricultural district demanding that two state officials be disqualified from ruling on a critical aspect of the project.

Sacramento Bee, March 22, 2016

Feds warn of new threats to water supplies with climate change

The Obama administration underscored the threat of climate change to Western water supplies Tuesday, releasing a report that projects less snowpack in the mountains and reduced flows in major rivers -- all of which spells a much drier future for places such as California.

San Francisco Chronicle, March 22,2016

Fight over senior water rights splashes into the Capitol

Late last spring, amid the depths of California's punishing drought, state officials made a historic determination that rivers and creeks were too low for many farms and cities to draw from. Not everyone agreed, however. And now nearly a year later, even as waterways have partially recovered, the fate of two delta water agencies accused of illegally pumping is expected to be decided at a hearing in Sacramento.

San Francisco Chronicle, March 21,2016

Our View: Tunnels don't add up, now we know why

SEC fines tunnels partner Westlands for its "Enron accounting". You can't take water out of the Delta and make it better. California can't trust those who want to build the tunnels.

Modesto Bee, March 20,2016

State Water Project Estimates Most Deliveries Since Drought's Start

Cities and farmers who rely on the State Water Project will receive the most water they've received since 2012. The California Department of Water Resources announced today that it plans to meet 45 percent of requests for deliveries.

Capital Public Radio, March 17, 2016

Mercury News editorial: Delta tunnels partner Westlands is not trustworthy

Jerry Brown is counting on the Westlands Water District to be one of the major financial backers of his $15 billion Delta tunnels, easily the largest public works project in U.S. history. He needs to dump the whole project, and last week's admission by Westlands' general manager is just one more reason: The nation's largest water district got caught cooking the books with "a little Enron accounting."

San Jose Mercury News, March 17, 2016

Rain fills reservoirs, but California still suffers drought's effects

The drought isn't over, but the recent storms that many hope are part of a "March miracle" have put California a lot further down the road to recovery.

San Francisco Chronicle, March 17, 2016

March Storms Brighten Future of Winter-Run Chinook salmon

Seasonal storms that have raised the region's reservoir water levels to their highest points in the last two years could bolster this year's run of Chinook salmon, water and wildlife officials said Wednesday.

Sacramento Bee, March 16, 2016

Troubled waters: California salmon season facing big restrictions

California's commercial fish industry, already struggling with the devastating loss of the crab season, is likely to see its run of bad luck continue as new and far-reaching restrictions take aim at the state's salmon opener in May.Federal fishery regulators unveiled plans this week to limit this year's chinook salmon catch in an effort to protect the state's signature seafood amid the growing threats of a warming ocean and drought-parched rivers and creeks.

San Francisco Chronicle, March 15, 2016

California's biggest reservoirs recover, putting water limits in question

Shasta, Oroville reach average levels for first time since 2013. State's top regulator is optimistic that emergency cutbacks may be relaxed. Officials to decide in May whether to ease 25 percent urban cut.

Sacramento Bee, March 14, 2016

El Nino's Winter Storms Are No Cure-All for California Drought

The El Nino storms drenching California won't suffice to solve the state's drought and won't permanently save the Central Valley's vulnerable salmon, federal scientists are cautioning.

McClatchy Washington Bureau, March 11, 2016

The feds slam a big water agency for cooking its books -- but they didn't go far enough

The SEC slapped the district and two officers with a total of $195,000 in penalties for faking financial records in connection with a 2012 bond issue.

Los Angeles Times, March 11, 2016.

Kill high-speed rail and spend the money on reservoirs? Proposed California ballot measure sparks debate

Supporters of a proposed ballot initiative to kill California's high-speed rail project and use the money to build new reservoirs are racing to gather enough signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot. But the campaign, which is being bankrolled by San Joaquin Valley farmers, is already drawing fire from fellow farmers and environmentalists, who call it a "Trojan horse."

San Jose Mercury News, March 10, 2016

Pouring bullet train money into water development could backfire

The initiative also seems to be a full employment act for lawyers. It messes with long-established water rights. It would amend the state Constitution to make domestic use the No. 1 priority for stored water and crop irrigation No. 2. And those would be the only listed priorities. Salmon runs, endangered species and waterfowl habitat? Not priorities. The environment would take a bath.

Los Angeles Times, March 10, 2016

MWD votes to buy 20,000 acres of island farmland in Sacramento-San Joaquin delta

The board of Southern California's water importer voted Tuesday to buy 20,000 acres of farm islands in the heart of the state's north-south plumbing system.

Los Angeles Times, March 8, 2016

Coalition backs legislation to put Delta tunnels before voters

On March 1, the Delta Counties Coalition (DCC) officially supported legislation that prohibits the construction of the peripheral canal, twin tunnels or other isolated conveyance project unless approved by California voters. The coalition, represents Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano and Yolo counties, expressed its support in a letter addressed to state Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, D-Stockton. "The people most impacted by the twin tunnels project must have the right to vote to approve or disapprove the project," the letter read.

Lodi News-Sentinal, March 7, 2016

Delta Smelt Populations Plummet 2nd Year In A Row

Populations of the threatened Delta smelt have plummeted to the lowest in history. The three-inch fish is often the focus of California's water wars.

Capital Public Radio, March 7, 2016

California bond vote measure takes a beating

Farmer Dean Cortopassi wants big revenue bonds to face voters. Gov. Jerry Brown's twin tunnels project would be affected. Critics say it would hamstring vital public works.

Sacramento Bee, March 2, 2016

Water conservation efforts must expand in fifth year of drought

Moderate amounts of rain, snow have done little to refill reservoirs. Greater efforts needed to ensure vulnerable communities, ecosystems are protected.

Sacramento Bee, March 2, 2016