January 2016

Why the future of the Delta tunnels project could be determined in 2016

There's two reasons why the project could be doomed if construction doesn't start this year. One reason is the lack of financing for further environmental reviews... Reason number two is the political will to get the project done.

ABC10, January 30, 2016

2016 to be a decisive year for governor's water tunnels

State regulators launched Thursday into a year of pivotal decisions on Gov. Jerry Brown's quest to build two giant tunnels to ferry water from Northern California for central and Southern California, a $17 billion project that would be one of the largest in decades in the state.

Associated Press, January 29, 2016

Mercury News editorial: Stop the Delta tunnel water madness

The Bay Area does not want to further damage the largest estuary west of the Mississippi so that Central Valley farmers and Los Angeles residents can get more water. And the Santa Clara Valley board might actually be able to stop this water grab.

San Jose Mercury News, January 29, 3016

There is no map to California's water future

Federal law requires the state to update the Water Quality Control Plan for the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary every three years and to enforce the standards it sets in these plans.

San Francisco Chronicle, January 28, 2016

California's Most Endangered Fish Having Worst Year Ever

The Threatened Delta smelt isn't extinct, or at least it wasn't in mid-January when the California Department of Fish and Wildlife found some in the western Sacramento Delta. The bad news: CDFW's mid-January trawls... found just a handful of the three-inch fish: four males and three females.

KCET, January 27, 3016

State reps voice concern to governor about Delta tunnels plan

Sen. Lois Wolk and Assemblymen Jim Frazier and Bill Dodd were among 18 legislators who expressed concern Monday about Gov. Jerry Brown's plans to dedicate $3.6 million in state funding to integrate the Delta tunnels proposal into the Delta Stewardship Council's Delta Plan, the state's management plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The Daily Republic, January 27, 2016

California water: Silicon Valley leaders express skepticism of Gov. Jerry Brown's Delta tunnels plan

Three of Gov. Jerry Brown's top water lieutenants came to Silicon Valley on Tuesday to make the case for his $17 billion plan to build two huge tunnels under the Delta to more easily move water from north to south. But rather than embracing the idea, five of the seven board members of the Santa Clara Valley Water District -- whose support is considered critical to the controversial project -- instead voiced skepticism.

San Jose Mercury News, January 26, 2016

Democrats break with governor, demand vote on water tunnels

Six Northern California Democrats are breaking from Gov. Jerry Brown to demand a vote on his proposed tunnels to send water to Southern California. Democratic Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman of Stockton said Friday that she'll introduce a bill to ask voters about the $15.5 billion project.

Associated Press, January 23, 2016

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.

Los Angeles Times, January 21, 2016

California adopts rules for tracking water diversions

Seeking better accounting of how much water is drawn from rivers and streams, state regulators approved new rules that will change how California tracks diversions of surface water.

Desert Sun, January 20, 2016

Will state water resources board protect the Delta?

The question for Water Resources Control Board members is whether they will do their job and establish meaningful standards to protect people and fish before considering approval of these massive tunnels. Or will they make decisions that will lead to the extinction of salmon and other fish and potentially put people's health at risk?

Sacramento Bee, January 20, 2016

Another step toward the twin tunnels

Opponents slammed the agreement as premature."The region most affected by this plan for taking additional water from the Delta was never consulted or even made aware of this outrageous plan to begin construction before a mandatory environmental review is completed," said Don Nottoli, a Sacramento County supervisor and chairman of the Delta Counties Coalition, which includes San Joaquin County.

Recordnet.com, January 15, 2016

Congress members want answers from governor

Six California Democratic members of Congress on Thursday are asking the governor why tax money is to be spent on planning for the governor's controversial Delta water tunnels. In a letter, they ask Gov. Edmund Brown Jr. how a $3.6 million allocation in his proposed state budget will be used, and requests a more detailed discussion with the Brown administration as to why budgetary funding now is necessary for the regulatory review of the tunnels.

Central Valley Business Times, January 14, 2016

If you're 26, these California water disputes have lasted longer than you've been alive

2 major lawsuits filed in '88 over water in San Joaquin Valley Settlements were agreed to, but action in Congress required. The deadline is 2017.

sacramento Bee, January 13, 2016

After Two Years, Final Round Of Drought Aid Distributed

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.

Capitol Public Radio, January 13, 2016

As rain pummels California, some see a way to fight drought

Southern California imports a lion's share of its water from Northern California and the Colorado River, on aqueducts that stretch hundreds of miles. The drought has slashed water consumption across the state and renewed interest in developing new water sources such as recycling and seawater desalination.

Washington Post, January 11, 2016

Will taxpayers pay part of tunnels tab?

Governor's budget calls for $3.6 Million to include tunnels in a revised Delta Plan. "This $3.6 million is to help the Delta Stewardship Council fix the California Water Fix".

Central Valley Business Times, January 8, 2016

These 4 Things Need to Happen to End California's Drought

The Golden State is being drenched this week by heavy rains and snow driven by a powerful El Nino. But quenching a years-long thirst takes more than a few storms.

National Geographic, January 7, 2016

Governor's tunnels opponents file legal actions

Restore the Delta and its coalition partners on Tuesday filed either formal protests or notices of intent to make formal statements with the State Water Resources Control Board to oppose permitting to change the point of water diversion in the Sacramento River to allow for Gov. Edmund Brown Jr.'s water tunnels to be built.

Central Valley Business Times, January 5, 2016

Delta Smelt and other fish species plummet to record low levels

Fish species ranging from endangered Delta Smelt to Striped Bass continued to plummet to record low population levels in 2015 in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, according to the annual fall survey report released on December 18 by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

Daily Kos, January 4, 2016

December 2015

Farmers Try Political Force to Twist Open California's Taps

Few in agriculture have shaped the debate over water more than the several hundred owners of an arid finger of farmland west of Fresno.

New York Times, December 30, 2015

Controversial sale of Delta islands runs into problems

Metropolitan Water District, Kern County partners eye five islands. Legal restrictions could hinder Metropolitan's plans. Agencies already have 'handshake' agreement on price.

Sacramento Bee, December 28, 2015

Damage from sinking land costing California billions

Four years of drought and heavy reliance on pumping of groundwater have made the land sink faster than ever up and down the Central Valley, requiring repairs to infrastructure that experts say are costing billions of dollars.

AP News, December 27, 2015

Feinstein's water negotiations with Republicans anger Democrats

Democratic House members from Northern California demanded Tuesday that Sen. Dianne Feinstein divulge the details of secret water talks she had with San Joaquin Valley House Republicans during their failed effort to slip California drought legislation into a must-pass year-end spending bill.

San Francisco Chronicle, December 22, 2015

San Diego activates largest seawater desalination plant in US

The Carlsbad Desalination Project (Carlsbad, CA, US) reports that operations are now under way at the nation's largest and most technologically advanced seawater desalination plant. After successfully completing construction, the Carlsbad Desalination Plant-dedicated to Carlsbad's former Mayor Claude "Bud" Lewis-has already produced more than 1.5 billion gallons of locally controlled water for San Diego County (CA, US), helping to minimize the region's vulnerability to the statewide drought.

Composites World, December 22, 2015

Klamath Agreement Supporters Will Decide Future Of Compromise

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.

KLCC, December 21, 2015

California Wants to Store Water for Farmers, but Struggles Over How to Do It

The prolonged drought of recent years has prodded California into action, with new laws and a willingness to spend public money to better prepare for a future that is likely to be more difficult because of climate change. The state must decide how best to save the water that arrives between the drought years, weighing the value of billion-dollar construction projects against smaller and less expensive measures.

New York Times, December 21, 2015

How a stunning Klamath Basin water agreement has been doomed by lawmakers

After five years of struggle for congressional approval of the Klamath agreement, the four Democratic senators of California and Oregon introduced authorizing legislation in January. But this month, just ahead of a Dec. 31 deadline dissolving the agreement if it hasn't gained Congress' approval by then, Walden unveiled a draft House bill that will almost surely kill the deal.

Los Angeles Times, December 18, 2015

Study: Rising lake temperatures may worsen algae blooms

Some of the world's biggest temperature jumps are happening in lakes -- an ominous sign that suggests problems such as harmful algae blooms and low-oxygen zones hazardous to fish will get worse, says a newly released scientific report.

Associated Press, December 17, 2015

Delta protection will require vigilance

Despite Republican claims to the contrary, GOP proposals do undermine existing environmental and water-rights protections and push our fragile ecosystem to the brink.

Sacramento Bee, December 17, 2015

Omnibus Spending Bill Includes Funds For Jerry Brown's Delta Tunnels

"Deep within the 2009 page Omnibus Spending Bill, up for a vote in Congress on Friday, is a provision called the CALIFORNIA BAY-DELTA RESTORATION starting on page 401 and referenced again on page 409. This would once again allow some $37 million in federal tax dollars to help plan and build massive export tunnels that would take essential freshwater and export it to irrigators south of the Delta," reported Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta.

Daily Kos, December 16, 2015

Gov. Brown's 'Water Fix' is not a real solution for the Delta

Gov. Brown's plan doesn't help fisheries or address flood protection. It may be a temporary 'needle in the arm' type of fix. But it's mostly the backroom deal kind of fix.

Sacramento Bee, December 14, 2015

Collaborative efforts needed to save Central Valley's salmon

To save salmon, we need broader solutions that foster self-sustaining populations. Research shows endangered fish are not inevitable consequence of development. Several multibenefit projects underway will improve river conditions for salmon.

Sacramento Bee, December 12, 2015

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

After intense negotiations, GOP legislators agree there will be no bill this year. Republicans blame Democrats; Democrats blast what they call GOP secrecy. Did GOP misrepresent Sen. Dianne Feinstein's position on a proposed compromise?

McClatchy News, December 11, 2015

Almond board steps up effort to boost water efficiency, stewardship

The initiative's announcement was the latest effort at outreach by the increasingly image-conscious almond industry, which has sought in recent months to push back against criticisms that growers use too much water and that California's massive crop places too much stress on honeybee populations.

Capitol Press, December 11, 2015

Angry California Republicans call drought bill dead for the year

House GOP lawmakers blame Democratic senators for failure. A furious round of Capitol Hill finger-pointing ensues.Democrats say Republicans were too secretive.

McClatchy News, December 10, 2015

Delta advocates question federal funds for tunnels

Delta advocates question federal funds for tunnelsRestore the Delta, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Association, and other Delta advocates are questioning whether state officials used false pretenses to secure funding for the WaterFix project, previously known as the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan and the Delta Tunnels.

Lodi News Sentinel, December 10, 2015

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.

Los Angeles Times, December 10, 2015

Californians clash over money 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.

Los Angeles Times, Decemb34 10, 2015

California mulls new plan to save imperiled salmon

Preparing for another season of drought, California officials plan to hold back more water at Lake Shasta next year in an effort to save an increasingly endangered fish: the winter-run Chinook salmon.

Sacramento Bee, December 8, 2015

El Nino may not soak parched California: Braun

This year's El Nino may not deliver drought-busting rains to California as is popularly believed.

Rueters, December 7, 2015

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.

San Francisco Chronicle, December 7, 2015

California water supplies not looking good for 2016

Public water agencies that serve millions of residents in drought-weary California might only receive 10 percent of expected supplies in 2016 -- half the amount that flowed to them this year through the state's massive system of reservoirs and canals, state officials say.

Associated Press, December 2, 2015

With Klamath bill uncertain, dam relicensing moves forward

The process to relicense the hydroelectric dam system on the Klamath River will likely move forward if Congress fails to act by the end of the year on historic settlement agreements to remove four of the dams.

Fresno Bee, December 2, 2015

Salmon RIP?

Reckless water management might wipe out California's Chinook salmon -- and the state's fishing industry along with it.

Est Bay Express, December 2, 2015

Mercury News editorial: Drought relief held hostage to trashing the Delta

The Dec. 12 deadline is approaching for Congress to act on legislation to provide relief for California's drought. But given what's on the table now, it's entirely possible that the best course is to do nothing -- and stopping bad legislation may require a presidential veto.

San Jose Mercury News, December 12, 2015

November 2015

Delta research center proposed

The Delta is one of the most closely studied river estuaries in the world. But the scientists who are studying it are dispersed across the region, in different offices and in different towns. The state and federal governments propose changing that by building a new research center and fish breeding facility that would eventually house 180 employees and cost a collective $130 million.

Stockton Record, November 28, 2015

More California farmland could vanish as water shortages loom beyond drought

Groundwater legislation will limit pumping, squeeze farmers. San Joaquin Valley to be hardest hit. "Solar farms" could be wave of the future.

Sacramento Bee, November 26, 2015

Metropolitan Water District: Old delta foe is new neighbor

The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the much-maligned - and for most Californians unknown - region central to the state's human water system is suddenly a real estate play. Why? Because the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has taken an option to buy all or part of five sinking islands in the path of the governor's misguided twin tunnels plan. Delta interests - farmers, environmentalists, sportsfishermen - worry a long-time foe is going to become a new neighbor and, as a major landowner, influence delta policies. The Met, they fear, wants to return their levee-ringed farms to the fish.

San Francisco Chronicle, November 22, 2015

California water agency's land purchase rattles growers, highlighting farm-city tensions

The nation's largest distributor of treated drinking water became the largest landowner in a remote California farming region for good reason: The alfalfa-growing area is first in line to get Colorado River water. Metropolitan Water District of Southern California's play in Palo Verde Valley, along the Arizona line, tapped a deep distrust between farm and city that pervades the West over a river that's a lifeline for seven states and northern Mexico.

U.S. News and World Report, November 21, 2015

Tensions, threats as California's new groundwater law takes shape

For the first time in more than a century, California is trying to regulate groundwater pumping. Legal challenges are expected, starting with who gets to decide how much water can be pumped. Local officials look to state for guidance, legal backing.

Sacramento Bee, November 21, 2015

Water wars: L.A. behemoth sets sights on delta islands

While Metropolitan's long-term plan is still somewhat murky, it's clear to everyone that acquiring the islands -- including Bacon Island in San Joaquin County, and a portion of Chipps Island in Solano County -- would give the district more leverage in the bitter battle for delta water, especially if California's four-year drought continues.

Los Angeles Times, November 20, 2015

What's behind a bid to shift dollars from the bullet train to water projects

While high-speed rail certainly will draw the headline focus, the proposal's primary purpose apparently is to reduce water for the environment and provide more for agriculture.

Los Angeles Times, November 19, 2015

Study: California Drought Management Lacking

The report from the Public Policy Institute of California says the state's system for allocating water is fragmented, inconsistent and lacks transparency. It says the problems keep the state from adequately managing water in a drought.

Capital Public Radio, November 18, 2015

Op-Ed California must capture water, not waste it

We don't know for sure whether the El Nino we face this winter will be a drought buster or a bust. But we had better prepare for a lot of rain and the potential flooding, landslides and disruptions we know especially heavy winter storms can bring to California. At the same time, we need to look past the comingEl Nino at the long-term changes in our weather patterns, as climate change poses new challenges to water managers, planners, utilities and, indeed, all of us.

Los Angeles Times, November 17, 2015

What are Met's intentions as new Delta dweller?

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is negotiating to buy four Delta islands. In the minds of locals, this is like the fox pricing the henhouse. The Met, as it is called, is the most powerful of all water interests perennially contriving to draw water from the ailing estuary. The mighty Met supplies 19 million in metro Los Angeles

Stockton Record, November 12, 2015

Ballot proposal would divert high-speed rail money to water

Two well-known Republican state lawmakers submitted language Thursday for a ballot initiative that would ask California voters to redirect about $8 billion in bond money from the state's high-speed rail project to build water storage. Board of Equalization member George Runner and Sen. Bob Huff of San Dimas, the former Senate minority leader, said they filed language for the initiative with the attorney general's office.

Merced Sun Star, November 12, 2015

Environmentalists sue over Sacramento River water, fish perils

Legal action is latest skirmish amid drought. Attorney: Federal water management 'near death blow' for Chinook salmon.

Sacramento Bee, November 11, 2015

L.A.'s water board seeks to buy key delta lands

The powerful Metropolitan Water District of Southern California decided Tuesday to begin negotiations to buy thousands of acres including four islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, an effort to secure steady flows of water amid the historic drought. But delta advocates and environmentalists called the bold move by the nation's biggest water agency, which serves 19 million people, a blatant water grab.

San Francisco Chronicle, November 10, 2015

Jerry Brown's tunnels meet flurry of criticism, but will it matter?

Governor pushes forward with Delta water project. Critics prepare for years-long battle. Financing concerns could force changes.

Sacramento Bee, November 8, 2015

Editorial: Cortopassi measure to scuttle Delta tunnels is a disaster

Wealthy Stockton farmer Dean Cortopassi is right that California voters should be able to vote on Gov. Jerry Brown's misguided, $17 billion twin-tunnel plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. But instead of a straightforward ballot measure, he has concocted a nightmare of a law that appears to require statewide voter approval of all state revenue bond projects costing more than $2 billion. It's a classic badly drafted proposition with the potential for massive unintended consequences, none of them good.

San Jose Mercury News, November 8, 2015

Delta tunnels project brings deluge of opposition comments

The contentiousness of the project was on full display during the public comment period for the project. That period came to an end on Friday, Oct. 30, with more than 30,000 comments against the proposal. Roughly 10,000 were registered in favor of or neutral to the project.

Central Valley Busiess Times, November 5, 2015

Capitol Journal: Brown gets touchy over criticism of water tunnel plan

Last week after tunnel opponents protested on the state Capitol steps -- claiming the $15.5-billion project was financially risky and a water grab by San Joaquin Valley corporate farmers and Southern California developers -- Brown issued a brief prepared statement unique in its formal acerbity.

Los Angeles Times, November 5, 2015

Measure that imperils Delta tunnels plan qualifies for 2016 ballot

Supporters turned in 932,966 signatures. Today is the deadline for counties to complete random signature sampling. Stockton-area farmer Dean Cortopassi and wife have contributed $4 million to the effort.

Sacramento Bee, November 2, 2015

Southern California water agencies push forward on Delta land purchase

Metropolitan, three Kern County agencies eye four Delta islands. Islands could be used to move water south, assist with tunnels project. Possible purchase comes as south state agencies offer tepid support for tunnels.

Sacramento Bee, November 2, 2015

October 2015

Delta tunnels plan draws protest

The project is supported, in principle, by farms and cities in Southern California, which see it as a potentially more reliable source of surface water. Opponents, including some environmental and fishing groups and Delta farmers, lambast the plan as an unabashed Southern California "water grab."

Sacramento Bee, October 30, 2015

Opponents Expect 30,000 Comments Against Delta Tunnel Plan

California officials expect an earful from opponents of the Bay Delta tunnel plan, as the public comment period comes to a close Friday. The twin 40-mile tunnels would carry water from the Delta to Central and Southern California. The state says the $15 billion project would be less environmentally-intrusive than the current system. Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla of the group Restore the Delta calls it "the worst and most expensive, low-value public works project ever proposed in the history of California."

Capitol Public Radio, October 29, 2015

Drought-driven salmon deaths could have far-reaching impact

One of the last wild runs of chinook salmon in California is sinking fast amid the four-year drought and now appears perilously close to oblivion after the federal agency in charge of protecting marine life documented the death of millions of young fish and eggs in the Sacramento River.

San Francisco Chronicle, October 29, 2015

California officials outline preparations for El Nino flooding

Water engineers and emergency managers addressed a state Senate hearing in Los Angeles on preparations for the El Nino phenomenon, a recurring climate pattern that warms parts of the Pacific and is expected to bring severe weather to California and other regions.

Reuters, October 29, 2015

Recharge method could boost Merced-area aquifers up to 20 percent, report says

Excess flows in wet years would soak into ground on selected farms. Findings could apply in Stanislaus and other counties outside study area. Almond Board already is planning recharge tests in orchards.

Modesto Bee, October 27, 2015

Breaking Western Water Taboos

The recent severe drought in the western United States and California in particular has shined a spotlight on a range of water-management practices that are outdated, unsustainable, or inappropriate for a modern, functional 21st century water system. Unless these bad practices are fixed, no amount of rain will be enough to set things right. Yet a discussion of many of these bad practices has been taboo for fear of igniting even more water conflict. Well, water conflict is here and no strategy that can fix our problems should be off the table.

Huffington Post, October 26, 2015

Place some limits on new pumping till drought ends

Groundwater levels are dropping faster than they have for decades. Surface decline due to subsidence is causing serious problems. Gov. Jerry Brown should ban pumping in critical areas until the drought ends.

Sacramento Bee, October 23, 2015

Mokelumne River Bill Signed Into Law

Conservationists cheered Friday after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill by Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, R-O'Neals, that grants temporary wild and scenic river protection to 37 miles of the Mokelumne River east of Pardee Reservoir. Bigelow represents Calaveras County.

Calaveras Enterprise, October 12, 2015

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.

Los Angeles Times, October 10, 2015

Bera, Congressional colleagues criticize governor's tunnels plan

U.S. Rep. Dr. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) and other local members of Congress remain critical of a $15 billion plan to build tunnels that would carry water from the Delta to southern California. "We still believe that these multibillion-dollar tunnels fail to increase water supply, devastate an already fragile ecosystem, and divert funding from more effective statewide water solutions for California," they wrote.

Elk Grove Citizen, October 9, 2015

Feinstein, Boxer hopeful for compromise to increase state water

Four years into California's epic drought, a Senate committee heard Thursday from California lawmakers proposing two wildly conflicting approaches to water shortages, hoping to meld a compromise that could come together by the time El Nino arrives in the state.

San Francisco Chronicle, October 8, 2015

Environmental Groups Say Governor's Delta Tunnels Would Violate the Law

The twin water tunnels touted by Gov. Edmund ... The comparatively clean water would be piped 35 miles to the State Water Project and federal Central Valley Project to be sold to buyers in the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California and Silicon Valley.

Central Valley Business Times, October 8, 2015

Water attorney gives new definition to "water fix"

Veteran water war attorney Thomas Zuckerman says the "California Water Fix" -- the marketing name now given to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan's twin tunnels project -- is like a junkie rolling up his sleeve, sticking a needle in your arm, and blowing the rent money in the corner bar.

Central Valley Business Times, October 8, 2015

Scientists question twin tunnels report

An independent team of scientists renewed its criticism of Gov. Jerry Brown's twin tunnels plan this week, saying that the massive documents justifying the project are "incomplete and opaque." The Delta Independent Science Board isn't judging whether the $15 billion tunnels are a good idea or a bad idea. Rather, the board is criticizing the environmental documents that are supposed to explain -- to experts and the general public -- what benefits the tunnels would provide and what impacts they might have.

Record.Net, October 7, 2015

California’s federal reservoirs even lower than last year

In the latest indicator of the severity of the drought, the federal government's main reservoirs serving California have begun the new "water year" at just a quarter full and in worse shape than last year.

Sacramento Bee, October 6, 2015

Sepember 2015

Dreadful dam project would strand California's salmon

The wholesale re-plumbing of the Central Valley watershed to create the CVP-SWP has wreaked havoc on the environment, drowning wild rivers, blocking salmon from reaching their former spawning grounds, and rendering flows below the dams too low and too warm to support healthy populations of native fish. A number of native species, including California's iconic Chinook salmon, are perilously close to extinction, their once-abundant populations decimated by the low flows and high temperatures caused by decades of CVP-SWP operations. Too much water is taken out of California's freshwater ecosystems for the species that evolved in those ecosystems to flourish, and perhaps even to survive.

San Francisco Chronicle, September 29, 2015

Lawmakers Urge Governor to Scrap His Tunnels

The governor would be wise to scrap his crusade to build massive water tunnels beneath the California Delta, say seven members of Congress, all Democrats

Central Valley Business Times, September 28, 2015

Former Brown Official Pushes Water Bond

Just a year after California voters approved a multi-billion dollar water bond, another may be on the way. Governor Jerry Brown's former top water official is pushing another initiative to upgrade the state's water system.

Capital Public Radio, September 28, 2015

Officials: Klamath River fish healthy after flow increase

The monthlong Trinity River dam water releases that ended on Sept. 20 have helped prevent disease and parasite outbreaks on Chinook salmon and other fish harboring on the drought-stricken lower Klamath River, officials said. The flows down the Trinity River and into the lower Klamath River helped cool the drought-stricken waters, improving fish immune systems and washing away deadly, single-celled parasites known as ich that thrive in low-flowing, warm waters, The Eureka Times-Standard reported Saturday

Sacramento Bee, September 26, 2015

New California water bond seeks to plug funding holes

California environmentalists plan to file a new water bond proposal with the secretary of state next week, a measure backers say will provide critical money for programs that were under funded by the $7.8 billion bond passed by voters last year. The exact amount of the new water bond has yet to be determined but will be less than $5 billion, Jerry Meral, director of the California water program at the Natural Heritage Institute, told Reuters this week.

Reuters, September, 24, 2015

Uncle Sam sells out the Delta

The Westlands scored an unbelievable victory last week. It got rights to Delta water in perpetuity -- regardless of the Delta's health, climate change or any future California water shortage. The powerful water district's bonanza came in the form of a proposed settlement of its lawsuit against the federal government.

Stockton Record, September 22, 2015

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. Sen. Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) gutted another bill to insert the language of his new proposal but said he would not have it taken up by the Legislature until next year.

Los Angeles Times, September 9, 2015

Murkowski plans drought hearing in October

Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she is planning to hold a legislative hearing to address drought in California and other western states in October. The bills in the spotlight at the hearing will be Rep. David Valadao's Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015, which passed the House on July 16, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein's California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2015, which she introduced on July 29

Politico, September 9, 2015

Governor's tunnels would violate federal law, say conservation groups

Would run afoul of the Endangered Species Act, hurting imperiled salmon. "The governor has his hard hat ready to go for this project"

Central Valley Business Times, September 9, 2015

Less water might be plenty for California, experts say, and conservation is only the start

"The reality is that there are so many soft paths that we can take that might have a lot less environmental impact and be a lot less expensive, and still meet our future demand," said Newsha Ajami, director of urban water policy for Stanford's Water in the West initiative. "This is probably a smarter tack than building more infrastructure, and moving more water around long distances."

Los Angeles Times, September 6, 2015

Feds scramble to avoid another mass salmon die-off in the Sacramento River

Last year, warm water killed endangered fish in the Sacramento River. Federal models for saving the species have proved faulty Farmers say they're asked to sacrifice based on flawed science.

Sacramento Bee, September 5, 2015

Ex-California official says governor ordered regulators to bypass US water law

California's top oil and gas regulators repeatedly warned Gov. Jerry Brown's senior aides in 2011 that the governor's orders to override key environmental safeguards in granting oil industry permits would violate state and federal laws protecting groundwater from contamination, one of the former officials has testified.

Associated Press, September 4, 2015

Fresno State drought study seeks consensus on water use

Authors of a California State University-Fresno study that suggests ways to get the most out of limited water in the San Joaquin Valley say they hope their research fosters dialogue and political compromise.

Capitol Press, September 2, 2015