Delta in Crisis
California lawmakers seek to slow desert water project (AP) 7-11-19
A project to pump billions of gallons of water out from under the Mojave Desert and sell it to people in Southern California could be slowed by a bill approved for the first time on Thursday by the Democratic-controlled Legislature.
Got Surface Water? Groundwater-only Lands in the San Joaquin Valley (Public Policy Institute of California) 7-8-19
The San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest agricultural region—has the largest groundwater deficit in the state. However, water scarcity is not experienced equally across the valley. Some areas receive abundant surface water to support cropland irrigation and drinking water supplies.
‘We need to be prepared.’ Few in CA Central Valley buy earthquake insurance (Sacramento Bee) 7-6-19)
Two strong earthquakes, a day apart, jolted many residents in the Golden State to think about preparing for the so-called Big One in their backyard. But as many Californians sought tips for preparing for an earthquake, state insurance officials said considering earthquake insurance was an often-overlooked part of the equation.
Slap and go (Sacramento News and Review) 07/04/19
The battle over the state’s eminent domain plan for the Delta was reignited in June, ending with Sacramento County seeking a restraining order against DWR.
Trump Said Water Wars ‘Easy’ to Fix. What Do Farmers Say Now? (GV Wire) 7-3-19
Three years ago, presidential candidate Donald Trump got right to the heart of Central Valley agriculture’s fight over its most precious resource.
Conservation Coalition Outlines Goals for Gov. Newsom’s “Water Portfolio” Plan (Maven's Notebook) 7-3-19
A coalition of 55 conservation, fishing, recreation, water policy, and environmental justice groups from throughout California, representing hundreds of thousands of Californians, sent a letter to state officials today thanking the Governor for his “…leadership in tackling California’s water issues.”
DWR rushes to complete geotechnical drilling in WaterFix project alignment (California Water Research) 7-1-19
On June 10, 2019, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) began extensive geotechnical drilling to evaluate a single tunnel project in the WaterFix project alignment. The drilling is currently suspended, pending resolution of a Temporary Restraining Order issued by Sacramento Superior Court at the request of Sacramento County. The work is being done without required county permits to protect groundwater.
DWR rushes to complete geotechnical drilling in WaterFix project alignment (Califonrnia Water Research) 7-1-19
On June 10, 2019, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) began extensive geotechnical drilling to evaluate a single tunnel project in the WaterFix project alignment.
Future Climate Change Starts With Steps Now (California State Water Contractors) 6-27-19
As we wrestle with our rigid rules, imperfect science and diverse views on how to best manage today’s water system, climate change is the one certainty in our future. Climate change is all about adapting. And that, hopefully, starts with adapting right now.
Delta Flows: A Day for California History Books. But What’s Next? (Daily Kos) 5-5-19
When scholars of California history and California water review the decisions our state leaders made to plan for the impacts from climate change, they will look back at May 2, 2019 as the pivotal date in our state’s water planning processes.
The California Water Model: Resilience through Failure (California WaterBlog ) 5-5-19
A review of 170 years of water-related successes in California suggests that most successes can be traced directly to past mistakes.
Solano supervisor leery of Delta WaterFix successor (Daily Republic) 5-3-19
Supervisor Skip Thomson views the decision to end the twin tunnels Delta project as a major battle won, but warns the water war continues.
How Gov. Gavin Newsom is progressing on his key policy promises for California (LA Times) 4-21-19
In his first 100 days in office, California Gov. Gavin Newsom quickly set about launching parts of the progressive agenda he promised during his campaign.
‘Monumental achievement’: Trump signs Colorado River drought plan (Las Vegas Sun)4-18-19
President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed a plan to cut back on the use of water from the Colorado River, which serves 40 million people in the U.S. West.
Bernhardt’s office acknowledges meetings left off schedule (Roll Call) 4-16-19
The Interior Department has acknowledged that Secretary David Bernhardt’s staff intentionally left controversial meetings with representatives of fossil fuel, timber and water interests off his public calendar, citing “internal protocol” governing his schedules.
Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot on Challenges of New Climate Reality (The Planning Report) 4-15-19
California is leading the world when it comes to climate action and environmental sustainability. The fifth largest economy in the world is already deriving more than half of its energy on a daily basis from renewable energy. In terms of electrification and electrifying transportation, that movement is happening and being led in California. About half of electric vehicle sales in the country are generated here.
Trump Administration’s Cold Water War With California Turns Hot (Legal Planet) 4-9-19
When it comes to California water policy, the federal-state relationship has always been both strained and challenging. That intergovernmental tension harkens back at least to the Reclamation Act of 1902. In section 8 of this iconic federal statute that transformed the American West, Congress declared that the federal government “shall proceed in conformity with” state water rights law.
The Energy 202: Interior nominee's old firm saw payday after he joins Trump administration (Washington Post) 4-4-19
For years, David Bernhardt worked for a law and lobbying firm to try to influence the federal government on behalf of his clients. Now the firm, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, is seeing a big payday — only after Bernhardt left.
CAL WATER FIX: Metropolitan Board workshop compares one-tunnel options to Cal Water Fix (Mavens Notebook) 4-4-19
Governor Newsom sent reverberations through the California water community when he announced during his state of the state address: “I do not support the Water Fix as currently configured,” said Governor Newsom. “Meaning, I do not support the twin tunnels. But we can build on the important work that’s already been done. That’s why I do support a single tunnel.”
Why Harder, other valley reps are asking EPA for close review of delta water plan (Modesto Bee) 4-3-19
Political leaders from the valley are urging the Environmental Protection Agency to closely scrutinize new water quality standards proposed for the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta.
Under the Delta’s domain (Sacramento News and Review) 02-28-19
Attorneys for counties, DWR agree that downsized California WaterFix still calls for massive intakes, industrial construction zones along the Sacramento River.
With Delta tunnel project, Governor should avoid mistakes made with High Speed Rail (California Water Research) 02-26-19
Governor Newsom inherited a mess from Governor Brown with the California High Speed Rail project.
Commentary: Delta Interests Should Seize the Opportunity to Cease Water Fights (Public Policy Institute) 2/21/19
The Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta is a major source of water for cities and farms across the state, and a major source of water conflict.
Delta Project Scaled Back to One Tunnel. Now What? (KQED) 2/20/19
Governor Newsom announced in his State of the State speech that he will scrap a controversial $19 billion plan to build two tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to carry water southward.
California wastes most of its rainwater, which simply goes down the drain (LA Times) 2/20/19
California’s wet winter has dumped an estimated 18 trillion gallons of rain in February alone. But much of it is simply going down the drain.
Tunnel Compromise? "Who gets left out if there's less water available? Do we really need to answer our own rhetorical question?"
L.A. Times writer George Skelton writes about what he calls a grand compromise with the twin tunnels proposed under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. As he says, "The battle has been over whether to bore two monster water tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta or to build none at all. The solution: Duh. One tunnel."
Dec. 2018 Bay-Delta Agreements Were Only Smoke and Mirrors?
It’s becoming clear that the voluntary settlement agreements presented to the State Water Board last December as part of the so-called “grand bargain” were nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
Brown was obsessed with twin-tunnel vision. Newsom has a more realistic view (LA Times) 2-19-19
A potential grand compromise to settle a decades-long water fight has been obvious for years but blown off. Now Gov. Gavin Newsom is forcing all combatants to consider it seriously. California’s water future hinges on the ultimate deal.
Brown was obsessed with twin-tunnel vision. Newsom has a more realistic view (LA Times) 2/18/19
A potential grand compromise to settle a decades-long water fight has been obvious for years but blown off. Now Gov. Gavin Newsom is forcing all combatants to consider it seriously.
Garamendi stops short of supporting Newsom’s modified Delta tunnels plans
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal to downsize a controversial Delta waterway project is a step in the right direction, but more progress needs to be made to satisfy critics who say even the modified proposal does more harm than good, Rep. John Garamendi – whose district includes communities that would be affected by the project – said in a wide-ranging interview Wednesday with the Daily Republic.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom downsizes Delta water project: one tunnel, not two (Sacramento Bee) 2/14/19
Gov. Gavin Newsom, diving into one of California’s most contentious water issues, said Tuesday he wants to downsize the Delta tunnels project.
Top Leader at Interior Dept. Pushes a Policy Favoring His Former Client (New York Times) 2-12-19
As a lobbyist and lawyer, David Bernhardt fought for years on behalf of a group of California farmers to weaken Endangered Species Act protections for a finger-size fish, the delta smelt, to gain access to irrigation water.
Transition watch: Water board shake-up? (Maven's Notebook) 2-12-19
Facing pressure from farm interests, Gov. Gavin Newsom appeared poised Monday to replace Felicia Marcus as chair of the State Water Resources Control Board
Governor Newsom Announces Key Water, Economic Development and Education Appointments
Governor Gavin Newsom announced several key appointments to help tackle some of the most urgent challenges facing California, as outlined in his State of the State Address earlier today — meeting California’s diverse water needs, boosting economic development across the state and bolstering the education system.
American Canyon keeps Sites reservoir in its sights (Napa Valley Register) 2-11-19
American Canyon will continue looking to the proposed, massive Sites reservoir in Colusa County to someday help slake its thirst.
Congressman McCarthy, Coalition for Sustainable Delta, CA Farm Water Coalition and Golden Gate Salmon Association react to release of new Biological Assessment of CVP/SWP operations (Maven's Notebook) 2/6/19
Recognizing the failure of the existing biological opinions issued a decade ago by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for Delta smelt and by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for salmon, the Bureau of Reclamation released a new biological assessment which serves as the basis for new biological opinions that will be released within 135 days.
Gov. Newsom must mop up Brown’s water mess (Sacramento Bee) 2/5/19
Despite many high priority issues on his plate, one of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first tests will be how he deals with California’s water challenges and opportunities. Unfortunately, in the last days of his term Gov. Jerry Brown made a bad bargain with the Trump administration and special interests. It’s yet another mess for the new governor to mop up.
Will Trump’s California water plan send more to Republican farmers and short Democratic cities? (Sacramento Bee) 2/5/19
While campaigning for president in 2016, Donald Trump promised a cheering Fresno crowd he would be “opening up the water” for Central Valley farmers who’d been victimized by “insane” environmental rules to protect fish.
Reclamation releases Biological Assessment for California water operations (US Bureau of Reclamation) 2/5/19
The Bureau of Reclamation released late last week the Biological Assessment for the re-initiation of consultation on the coordinated long-term operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project.
Trump taps ex-California water lobbyist for Cabinet. Critics call him a ‘swamp creature’ (Sacramento Bee) 2-4-19
President Donald Trump on Monday nominated David Bernhardt, the former top lobbyist for a powerful Fresno-based irrigation district, to run the Department of the Interior, raising renewed questions about whether he’d try to steer more California water to his former clients.
Sen. Dodd Introduces Delta Tunnels Oversight Bill (Senator Bill Dodd's Office) 2/1/19
Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, introduced legislation today that will help protect California’s precious water supply and ensure the vitality of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by requiring more legislative oversight and public scrutiny of the state’s twin-tunnels project known as WaterFix.
Dusty agency gets sharp elbows under Trump (E & E News) 1/31/19
The Bureau of Reclamation, the Interior Department's Western water bureaucracy that saw its dam‐building heyday in the 1960s, has risen in stature once again in the Trump administration.
Will State Agencies Let CA's Bay-Delta Estuary Get Trumped? (NRDC) 1/28/31
On January 31, the Trump Administration is scheduled to release its new proposal for the operations of the federal Central Valley Project and State Water Project under the Endangered Species Act (known as a biological assessment).
https://www.dailydemocrat.com/2019/01/26/garamendi-appointed-to-transportation-infrastructure-subcommittees/ (Daily Democrat) 1/26/19
Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Creek, has been appointed to four key subcommittees on the House Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which he was already a senior member of.
Newsom inherits a ‘whole bunch of headaches’ despite last-minute water deals by Brown (Sacramento Bee) 1/9/19
As his term as governor drew to a close last month, Jerry Brown brokered a historic agreement among farms and cities to surrender billions of gallons of water to help ailing fish species.
Will Gavin Newsom change the state’s water course? Fish and farmers will soon find out (LA Times) 1/4/19
In the final weeks of Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration, his appointees on a state board ordered some powerful water districts to cut their historic river diversions to protect endangered salmon populations.
Delta Tunnels, Diversity Are Focus of New California Water Leader (Bloomberg) 1/3/19
The new person in charge of delivering water to one in 17 Americans has two big goals: seeing through a controversial public works project to build two new California water tunnels and ensuring her agency is represented by a more diverse group of people.
What the Water Deals Mean, Part 1: December 2018 Agreements between the Department of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation 1/1/19
The foundational agreement between DWR and the Bureau announced on December 12 is the Addendum to the Coordinated Operation Agreement Central Valley Project/State Water Project.
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