With a friend in the White House and their party in control of both chambers of Congress, HouseRepublicans have embarked on their most ambitious effort yet to change the way water flows in California. Legislation that the House sent to the Senate last week outlines a bold effort to build big new dams and shift water from fish, birds and other wildlife to farms in the San Joaquin Valley.
San Francisco Chronicle, July 19, 2017Water Wars Loom As State Plans to Boost Streamflow for Imperiled Fish
On the heels of of the worst drought in California history, state officials are telling water users in the San Joaquin River basin to give up a major share of their water supplies--permanently.
KQED, July 18, 2017McNerney outlines tunnels alternative
Saying he wants to "change the narrative" about California water, U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney will introduce legislation today that he describes as an alternative to Gov. Jerry Brown's controversial Delta tunnels.
Stockton Record, July 17,2017These farmers say they may not pay for Delta tunnels pushed by Gov. Brown
The governor's proposed Delta tunnels ran into a roomful of skeptics Monday -- an influential group of San Joaquin Valley farmers who remain unconvinced the controversial project will deliver the water they need at a price they're prepared to swallow.
Sacramento Bee, July 17, 2017Fish or farms? A new battle rages over California water
The House this week will tackle the question, which for years has triggered a tug-of-war between growers and environmentalists. It plans to vote on a Republican-authored plan aimed at sending more of northern California's water to the Central Valley farmers who say they badly need it.
Sacramento Bee, July 11, 2017Environmentalists File Lawsuit Over California's Delta Tunnels Project
Environmentalist have filed a lawsuit after the federal government said last week that Northern California's delta tunnels project would not harm endangered fish in the delta and bay.
CBS, July 5, 2017Costly approval doesn't guarantee the governor's delta tunnels
Federal wildlife officials gave the first approval last week to Gov. Jerry Brown's decade-old plan to re-engineer California's water system by building twin tunnels to ship water around the delta to cities and farms. It's a regrettable step in a long, costly and politically charged approval process with an uncertain outcome. It doesn't make sense to spend $17 billion to move water instead of investing in water saving and reuse.
San Francisco Chronicle, July 1, 2017
Gov. Jerry Brown's ambitious plans to build two massive tunnels, reengineering the hub of California's water system, would destroy native fish species already on the brink of extinction, lawsuits filed Thursday said.
Fresno Bee, June 29, 2017There's no green light for terrible Delta tunnels
The investments funded by Proposition 1 create new water for the entire state. They constitute a robust package of infrastructure improvements that almost everyone can get behind, and they will make our state more resilient to fluctuations in both wet and dry years. It is time that we move toward a solution that works for all of California: Create new water, and stop the tunnels.
Sacramento Bee, June 28, 2017California's Giant Water Tunnels Win First Crucial Approval
U.S. wildlife officials gave crucial first approval Monday to California Gov. Jerry Brown's decades-old ambitions to build two massive tunnels that would re-engineer the water system in the nation's most populous state.
KQED, June 25, 2017California: beyond the drought
Efficient water use is the cheapest way to have adequate supply for new housing and to avoid scrambling in the next drought. Other water-challenged nations treat water -- potable, nonpotable, recycled, desalinated, fresh -- as precious. We must, too.
San Francisco Chronicle, June 14, 2017Why go for desal when California has cheaper options
Let's tackle the cheaper, most cost-effective things first: improving water-use efficiency, expanding water reuse and capturing more storm water. If we do the right things in the right order, we can avoid spending billions on what ultimately could be an expensive white elephant.
Sacramento Bee, June 14, 2017Why years of waiting may be over on Delta tunnels
The state's most powerful water agencies have set a September goal to decide whether they're going pay for the biggest and most controversial water project California has undertaken since the 1960s: overhauling the plumbing system that pumps billions of gallons of water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the Bay Area, Southern California and one of the nation's most productive farm belts.
Sacramento Bee, June 13, 2017What Did California Learn From The Drought?
A report from the Public Policy Institute of California says the state's cities and suburbs responded well to the unprecedented mandate to cut water use by 25 percent during the drought.
Capital Public Radio, June 12, 2017A Fight Over Water in the Mojave
A company's vision to pump water from the Mojave Desert and sell it to thirsty Southern California cities had looked to some to be a long shot. Cadiz Inc., which owns about 50 square miles atop a major aquifer in the Cadiz Valley, has pushed proposals to tap the water since the 1990s. The latest iteration has been mired for years in a thicket of regulatory and legal hurdles. But a series of developments has invigorated backers of the project, which involves both federal and state jurisdictions.
New York Times, June 9, 2017
The president's choice of David Bernhardt to serve as deputy Interior Department secretary would be a disaster for California's environment and water quality. The former lobbyist for the mammoth, water-sucking Westlands Water District is the last person the state should want representing it on crucial California water issues.
San Jose Mercury News, May 30, 2017California needs to stop letting farm-water suppliers ignore the law
Agriculture accounts for roughly 80 percent of the water used by people in California. "Roughly" because, unlike urban water districts, farm-water suppliers reveal little about how much of the state's most precious resource goes into irrigation ditches and fields.
Sacramento Bee, May 25, 2017Water extraction project would be destructive to California's Mojave Desert
California's public lands and resources are under siege by a powerful corporation and its allies in Washington. Congressional Republicans used a recent must-pass government spending bill to pave the way for the Cadiz water extraction project, a particularly destructive project in California's Mojave Desert.
Sacramento Bee, May 24, 2017The ludicrous plan to pump Mojave water to L.A.
Cadiz claims the project has been delayed because of environmental obstructionism and burdensome regulations. In fact, the project has struggled because it fails on its merits. While technically feasible and legal, it presents significant economic, engineering, quality, sustainability and environmental challenges, and is made even less desirable by a recent surge in cheaper, less risky alternatives. Southern California would be wise to move beyond the outdated methods of the Cadiz project and welcome a new generation of ideas for securing water.
Los Angeles Times, May 21, 2017Most California farm-water suppliers are breaking this law. Why doesn't the state act?
During California's epic five-year drought, most of the state's irrigation districts didn't comply with a 2007 law that requires them to account for how much water they're delivering directly to farmers, a Bee investigation has found.
Sacramento Bee, May 21, 2017California's trout, salmon species could be mostly gone in a century, report says
Nearly half of California's diverse types of native salmon, steelhead and trout are headed toward extinction in 50 years unless environmental trends are reversed, a team of scientists warn in a new report.
San Jose Mercury News, May 16, 2017California asks federal taxpayers to fund repairs at dam
California is asking the federal government to pay 75 percent of the hundreds of millions of dollars in repairs to the badly damaged spillways at the nation's tallest dam, a state water agency spokeswoman said Monday.
Capital Press, May 9, 2017Oh, well. California water info can remain secret, court rules
Crucial details about the location and depth of certain California water wells can be kept secret, and out of the hands of an environmental group, a top federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
Sacrmaento Bee, May 9, 2017Rick Drew: Newhall deserves water vote
We will not be allowed to vote on what is perhaps the most important issue in the water district's history -- whether it will continue to exist and be served by a board elected by us, or rather be dissolved into a huge "new" district, which is essentially the Castaic Lake Water Agency -- without our approval.
Santa Clarita Signal, May 2, 2017Break in California Levee System Could Contaminate Bay Area Drinking Water Supply
The report also indicates 60 percent of the levees that protect the state's rural areas from flooding -- roughly 1,230 miles in all -- are at high risk of failure from seepage, boils, structural instability, erosion and even rodents; that includes the levees that protect the drinking water aqueducts for the Bay Area and Southern California.
NBC, May 1, 2017
Bernhardt's nomination, however, is already drawing fire from critics, who note that Trump, as a candidate, promised to "drain the swamp" of lobbyists' influence over the White House and Congress. As president, Trump has placed lobbyists in key positions on his transition team and in his administration, and has adopted ethics rules looser than those of the Obama administration for appointees.
Charlotte Observer, april 28, 2017USGS finds vast reserves of salty water underground in California
Untreated brackish water can replace fresh water for some uses, but would have to be desalinated for municipal use. A recent study by the Oakland-based Pacific Institute found that the costs of doing that were competitive with other methods of adding water capacity.
San Jose Mercury News, April 15, 2017California governor declares historic drought over for now
Still, lifting the emergency drought order is a largely symbolic measure that doesn't remove most of the restrictions. Officials insisted they're holding onto some conservation rules for the 40 million residents of the nation's most populous state.
Associated Press, April 8, 2017Mighty L.A. water agency wants a share of Valley's Sites Reservoir -- and is willing to pay
Southern California's most powerful water agency is prepared to invest in Sacramento Valley's proposed Sites Reservoir, a move that could broaden support for the $4.4 billion project but also raise alarms about a south state "water grab."
Sacramento Bee, April 6, 2017Trump eases the way for a controversial water pumping project in a California desert
In another U-turn from existing environmental policy, the Trump administration has eased the way for a controversial California desert water project that President Obama's team had blocked. Federal directives drafted under Obama had erected a major obstacle to Cadiz Inc.'s long-standing plans to pump Mojave Desert groundwater and sell it to urban Southern California.
Los Angeles Times, April 5, 2017