Recent California Water News
April 2014Court rules for environmentalists in water fight
An appeals court said Wednesday that federal officials should have consulted wildlife agencies about potential harm to a tiny, threatened fish before issuing contracts for water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Modesto Bee, April 16, 2014
Environmentalists slam Dianne Feinstein's drought bill
Sen. Dianne Feinstein's revised drought bill is coming under increasing attack from the left even as the California Democrat tries to woo Republicans to speed the bill's passage through the Senate without committee consideration. More than a dozen environmental groups, including Sierra Club California, Audubon California, Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council, issued a letter late Monday demanding changes to the revised bill, S.2198.
San Francisco Chronicle, April 15, 2014
California drought spawns well drilling boom
Tapping groundwater has other costs. The water that was deposited underground naturally over thousands of years isn't being replaced as rapidly as it's being drawn, causing the ground in the Central Valley to sink in a process called subsidence. In California, there is little if any regulation of groundwater pumping by the state.
Sacramento Bee, April 14, 2014
Politics won't end state's drought
Sen. Dianne Feinstein is fast-tracking a bipartisan bill through the Senate that seeks to unravel decades of carefully crafted protections for the San Francisco Bay estuary in an effort to divert more water to Southern California farms and cities.
San Francisco Chronicle, April 9. 2014
San Joaquin tops list of endangered rivers in America
The San Joaquin River is America's most endangered waterway this year, says the national advocacy group American Rivers, known for annually picking the country's 10 most troubled rivers. The San Joaquin's water is spread too thin among farmers, hydroelectric projects and other uses on the mainstem and three tributaries, the Merced, Stanislaus and Tuolumne rivers, the group announced Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
Fresno Bee, April 8, 2014
California drought puzzle: store or conserve more water?
[T]here is not enough water storage in California to sustain all the competing interests. The dilemma has again put a spotlight on the precious water that gets away.
San Francisco Chronicle, April 6, 2014
March 2014The water revolution California needs
The state must follow Australia's example and fundamentally change the way water and water rights are managed.
Los Angeles Times, March 27, 2014
California drought: Central Valley farmland on its last legs
Even before the drought, the southern San Joaquin Valley was in big trouble. Federal studies long ago concluded that the only sensible solution is to retire hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland.
San Francisco Chronicle, March 24, 2014
California drought puts spotlight on water theft
It's amazingly easy to steal water from a California stream. Even in this epic drought, the state has no way of monitoring exactly who is tapping into its freshwater supplies and how much they take. And those who do get caught taking water they have no right to often are allowed to keep taking it for years just by promising to obtain a permit.
Sacramento Bee, March 23, 2014
Drying up the delta: 19th century policies underlie today's crises
Because they got there first, irrigation districts most Californians have never heard of have dibs on vast amounts of water upstream from the delta -- even in times of drought.
Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2014
California farms to get some drought relief
California and federal water officials say there is enough runoff in the Delta from recent storms to begin delivering some water to farms, potentially offering at least temporary drought relief.
Sacramento Bee, March 20, 2014
While Some Lawmakers Offer Outdated Ideas for Drought, California Proves Power of Water Efficiency
While some farmers have invested in advanced systems to use their water more efficiently, more than half of the irrigated acreage in California still relies on less efficient flood and furrow techniques. That presents a huge opportunity for the agricultural community to improve crop yields, maintain farm income, and save water.
Huffington Post, March 17, 2014
Bee Special Report: Continuing to pump, San Joaquin Valley irrigation districts selling surplus
Irrigation districts provide water that's key to agricultural prosperity in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, but some of those districts also have been cashing in on the region's water resources.
Modesto Bee, March 15, 2014
California drought - for salmon, more at stake than dollars
In the water crisis that Californians now face, state leaders are necessarily focused on relieving the immediate effects of the drought on citizens. But the salmon and the commercial and sport fishermen who depend on them must be part of the short-term remedial steps.
San Francisco Chronicle, March 14 2014
Appellate court ruling new hurdle for Delta tunnel plans
On a 2-1 decision, a three-justice appeal panel in Sacramento ruled the California Constitution bars the state from entering private properties to do preliminary soil testing and environmental studies unless it wants to condemn affected sections of the parcels through its power of eminent domain.
Modesto Bee, March 13, 2014
California: Court Upholds Guidelines to Protect Fish
An appeals court on Thursday sided with environmentalists over growers and upheld federal guidelines that limit water diversions in order to protect delta smelt.
New York Times, March 13, 2014
Exploiting California's Drought
The current drought is a crisis worth exploiting. Because rainfall cannot be relied upon but California agriculture is of critical importance nationally (the state provides around 50 percent of our fruits, vegetables and nuts), these kinds of changes are needed to begin to shift an arcane and antiquated system.
New York Times, March 11, 2014
Water fight pits farmer against farmer
San Joaquin Valley growers' demand for water conflicts with the needs of delta agriculture
Los Angeles Times, March 9, 2014
California Water Action Plan is wrong for state
[W]e know that we should be exploring all reasonable alternatives instead of constantly dithering about a dead-end plan that has left us unprepared in the face of the drought.
Stockton Record, March 8, 2014
State Panel Urges Rejection of Water Tunnels
The California Advisory Committee on Salmon and Steelhead Trout, which is appointed by the state legislature, says the governor's plan could decimate endangered fish.
East Bay Express, March 5, 2014
Farms threatened, basic water principles violated
The 19th and early 20th century idea of unfettered expansion is no longer appropriate to the 21st century. It has generated innumerable battles over water rights and land use and has led to our current fight over a valuable and limited resource.
Sacramento Bee, March 2, 2014
Febuary 2014Poll finds few in favor of Delta tunnel project aimed at bolstering water imports to Southern California
As top state water officials briefed lawmakers Tuesday on the status of the $37 billion Bay Delta Conservation Plan that includes construction of two large tunnels, a leading environmental organization released a public-opinion survey that shows only 10 percent of Californians approve of it.
San Francisco Examiner, February 28, 2014
California's drought is not about "fish versus farmers"
By choosing to focus on tired political rhetoric, the media has, by and large, avoided serious discussion of climate change, population growth, crumbling infrastructure and wasteful water practices in the state's agricultural, industrial and residential sectors -- all of which are much more serious factors underlying the state's current water dilemma.
High Country News, February 27, 2014
California drought relief package heads to governor's desk
In a concerted effort to aid California's drought-stricken communities, the Legislature on Thursday sped a $687 million relief package to Gov. Jerry Brown.
Sacramento Bee, February 27, 2014
California analyst suggests drought solutions
Saying Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal "includes little to address the effects of the current drought," a new report by the Legislature's nonpartisan fiscal analyst suggests anti-drought and conservation steps that lawmakers could take.
Sacramento Bee, February 25, 2014
Federal fish biologists are right
Jerry Brown has a record of understanding and communicating the finite nature of our natural resources. In his recent drought declaration, Brown restated that water is one of those finite resources. But his gigantic twin tunnels project, as currently construed, flies in the face of that reality. Attacking the messengers, in this case the federal fish biologists, is wrong.
Sonoma Index-Tribune, February 25, 2014
Severe drought? California has been here before
A thousand-year tree-ring study shows that deep droughts come with the territory. Now the issue is how to deal with them.
Los Angeles Times, February 23, 2014
Mike Dunbar: Southern California has all the water it needs; why doesn't the Valley?
Oh, and if water scarcity isn't already frightening enough, here's another worry: Farmers aren't the only ones willing to pay top dollar. In that Kern County auction, Cal Heavy Oil offered to buy 350 acre-feet at $1,207 per. What would an oil company want with 114 million gallons of water?... Oil companies inject water and solvents into shale, pushing out oil. It's called fracking.
Modesto Bee, February 22, 2014
Editorial: In record drought, state leaders can't ignore agriculture to save water
But if we're really all in this together, leaders must pay far more attention to the biggest user -- agriculture, which sucks up as much as three-fourths of available water in a given year.
Sacramento Bee, February 21, 2014
Most Central Valley growers to get no water from Central Valley Project
Central Valley growers Friday got the grim news they have been expecting for months. Most of them will get no water from the big federal irrigation project that supplies 3 million acres of California farm land.
Los Angeles Times, February 21, 2014
Is Brown's drought response something new or just spending?
With the drought deepening, Sacramento is taking the first steps to soften the damage. A $687 million package boosts conservation and provides aid for those left jobless in farm country. But the moves will take months to take effect and barely touch the state's long-term water woes.
San Francisco Chronicle, February 20, 2014
Days of Desiccation
California's big urban areas, after years of smart conservation measures, will get by. But in a state where agriculture consumes 75 percent of the water, farms will go fallow. This drought for the ages should prompt some imaginative thinking on what foods grow best in an arid land.
New York Times, February 20, 2014
California leaders propose $687 million to alleviate drought
Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders on Wednesday unveiled a proposal to spend roughly $687 million to alleviate the impacts of California's drought, including efforts to clean and recycle water, improve conservation, capture rain, and give emergency food and housing assistance to farmworkers who will be out of work because their fields are fallow.
Sacramento Bee, February 20, 2014
Reclamation to slash Calif. water deliveries to historic low
The Obama administration plans a historic tightening of the spigot for California farmers in the face of punishing drought. The Bureau of Reclamation notified senior water contractors on the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers last weekend that they should expect 40 percent of their regular deliveries this year.
E&E publishing, February 19, 2014
Water war boils down to farmers vs. fishermen
Even when there's not a drought, there isn't enough to go around. And the collapse of a great estuary will endanger far more than the smelt.
Wildlife director Bonham's take on the farmers vs. fishermen fight is this: "When people start screaming at each other, it takes all our energy away. And we need all the brainpower we can muster to solve this."
Los Angeles Times, February 19, 2014
Our View: Water contractors will pay bulk of the bill for Delta tunnels
If contractors south of the Delta aren't on board for picking up the bulk of the cost, the Twin Tunnels proposal is dead. Or it should be.
Modesto Bee, February 19, 2014
Jerry Brown, legislative leaders to announce drought aid
Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders on Wednesday will unveil plans to spend roughly $680 million on efforts to alleviate the impacts of California's drought.
Sacramento Bee, February 19, 2014
Obama promises money for drought relief; now the hard part begins
The White House has provided money, commitments and a presidential visit. But the money is limited, the president is moving on and the commitments will soon be tested on Capitol Hill and deep within the federal bureaucracies.
Sacramento Bee, February 17, 2014
California drought: Why is there no mandatory water rationing?
Yet when it comes to water in California, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to explain why rationing hasn't taken hold. While three utilities provide 80 percent of Californians' electricity, there are roughly 3,000 water providers statewide, all with different rules, political realities and needs. Some are cities. Some are corporations. Some are farm districts pumping from wells. Some have significant amounts of water stored up and some don't. But all of their bottom lines depend on selling water, not conserving. And as difficult as the economics of rationing are, the politics may be even more complex.
Mercury News, February 15, 2014
Drought conversation will turn to dreaded groundwater rules
If there's no river water, people turn on their wells. If everybody pumps at the same time, wells will go dry, land will sink and neighbor will be upset with neighbor.
Fresno Bee, February 13, 2014
Politics cloud water debate
Fixing California's water crisis requires finding a way to reallocate supply among the state's three major user groups -- and avoiding the political posturing and bickering that have surfaced.
Los Angeles Times, February 11, 2014
Storm allows boost in Delta water diversions
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation was able to take advantage of increased runoff from the wet weekend storms to boost water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Sacramento Bee, February 11, 2014
Mercury News editorial: California needs a more balanced approach to water
In a way the House's latest attempt to hijack California's water for one industry has done a service by making farmers' motives -- and the Central Valley's disregard for urban water needs -- so transparent.
Mercury News, February 7, 2014
Group Sues California For Privatizing Massive Water Reserve
The suit claims the transfer of the Kern Water Bank to controlling private interests "amounts to an unlawful and unconstitutional gift of a critical state asset.
CBS San Francisco, February 7, 2014
Thirsty growers bid sky-high for available water
Bids for a chunk of water being sold by a local agricultural water district came in so high Wednesday that one district pulled its bid in the middle of the process figuring "why bother?"
The Bakersfield Californian, February 5, 2014
House GOP's California drought bill seen as political ploy
House Republicans ratcheted up pressure on California Democrats to defend river and fish restorations in the delta amid a historic statewide drought, passing legislation Wednesday that would ship scarce water from Northern California to parched farms in the San Joaquin Valley.
San Francisco Chronicle, February 5, 2014
California Water Officials Made the Drought Worse
There's strong evidence that the state shipped extra water in 2013 - enough for about four million people - despite the threat of a third year of little to no rain.
East Bay Express February 5, 2014
California's Thirsty Almonds: How the water-intensive crop is helping drive the governor's $25 billion plan to ship water to the desert
Yet for many environmentalists and opponents of the governor's plan, the debate is not about whether California should have agriculture, it's about whether it makes sense to spend tens of billions of dollars so that farmers can grow water-intensive crops like almonds in dry environs - especially if droughts intensify because of climate change.
East Bay Express February 5, 2014
Drought triggers state of emergency in Tuolumne County
Tuolumne's Board of Supervisors declared a state of emergency Tuesday, warning that the drought poses "an imminent threat of disaster" that may "cause widespread harm to people, businesses, property, communities, wildlife and recreation.
Merced Sun-Star, February 4, 2014
Editorial: McCarthy should whip a new water deal into shape
Pumping more water south of the Delta would get water to farmers on the west side of the southern San Joaquin Valley, but would do nothing to remedy lack of rain and low river flows. It would ensure that more ocean water would encroach in the Delta, which would be destructive for Californians who depend on Delta water.
Sacramento Bee, February 4, 2014
Jerry Brown blasts bill as 'divisive intrusion' in drought
Gov. Jerry Brown lashed out Monday against a water bill moving quickly through the Republican-controlled House, calling it "an unwelcome and divisive intrusion" into California's effort to manage the state's drought.
Sacramento Bee, February 3, 2014
California officials forecast 'zero' water deliveries
State officials announced Friday that 29 water agencies serving 25 million people across California can expect "zero" water deliveries from the State Water Project this summer because of the worsening drought.
Sacramento Bee, February 3, 2014
Why not get tough on water use, California?
If the state's drought is as bad as Gov. Brown says, why settle for voluntary conservation?
Los Angeles Times, February 2, 2014
January 2014California drought produces thirst for water -- and political solutions
Big dams, bitter feuds and some political bombshells surface in a California water bill slated for lickety-split House approval next week.
Modesto Bee, January 31, 2014
California water deliveries dropped to zero
State and federal water officials announced Friday that deliveries of state water to agricultural and municipal users south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which had been slashed to 5 percent earlier, will drop further to zero due to the state's severe drought."
Sacramento Bee, January 31, 2014
California drought: Meager snowpack sets record
The snowpack in the Sierra is only 12 percent of normal for this time of year -- the lowest amount recorded since 1960, when the state began keeping snowpack records."
San Francisco Chronicle, January 30, 2014
Bay Area Democrats, Central Valley GOP clash over water
Republican leaders are expected to pave the way for House consideration as early as next week of a bill to halt the restoration of the San Joaquin River and send water south to Central Valley farms. The move by GOP Reps. Devin Nunes of Tulare, Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield and David Valadao of Hanford (Kings County) infuriated Bay Area Democrats, who noted that the bill would do nothing for communities, mostly in Northern California, that the state says are on the verge of running out of water."
San Francisco Chronicle, January 30, 2014
Viewpoints: A new water supply for urban California
Local, decentralized water solutions have major potential to tap the huge quantities of water that urban Californians apply to their outdoor greenery. Water-efficient software, stormwater recapture, drought resistant landscaping and graywater -- the soapy water from laundries and showers that can be repurposed for landscaping -- could provide significant benefits almost immediately."
Sacramento Bee, January 29, 2014
A brazen GOP water grab
The politics are obvious, but the rest of California should worry about such a brazen move. The drought will be forcing hard choices on the state with traditional access to water up for negotiation as never before. That includes agriculture, cities and environmental interests all needing to compromise."
San Francisco Chronicle, January 27, 2014
Stormy seas ahead for the California water debate
The California drought will soon expose the geographic, political, personal and institutional divisions that complicate meaningful congressional action. Forget farmers versus environmentalists, that classic California plot. These divisions go deeper, and could easily kill the legislative fixes House Republicans vowed to make at a Bakersfield-area farm last week."
Sacramento Bee, January 27, 2014
Viewpoints: Better solutions for managing California's water
First, we need to export a safe yield of water from the Delta without repeatedly depleting the watershed. Second, we need to reinforce levees to ensure that the water that can be shared from the Delta is secure for all Californians. Third, we need to retire drainage-impaired agricultural lands on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. This will ultimately be cheaper than building the twin tunnels, and it will end the cycle of poor water management decisions made by state officials to enrich a few hundred corporate agribusinesses."
Sacramento Bee, January 27, 2014
California drought lessons - what works, what doesn't"
California's leaders - and all Californians - are facing a major challenge, but this is not the first time we've faced a drought, and it won't be the last. It's time, once again, to roll up our sleeves and make sure we don't let a good crisis go to waste. Managing this crisis well will help ensure that the next one is less critical."
San Francisco Chronicle, January 26, 2014
California drought threatens coho salmon with extinction"
The lack of rain this winter could eventually be disastrous for thirsty California, but the drought may have already ravaged some of the most storied salmon runs on the West Coast."
San Francisco Chronicle, January 26, 2014
Republicans seek to tap California drought for a political edge
Beleaguered and outnumbered, California Republicans think they may have found a crucial ally -- drought."
Los Angeles Times, Janury 26, 2014
Our View: Don't make drought worse than it already is
[O]ur irrigation districts are public entities, with a duty to serve the public in their districts. Oakdale's farmers should get first dibs on excess water -- at the same price others are willing to pay. After all, the value of whatever is grown here increases at that 3-to-1 ratio as it moves through our local businesses. Under no circumstances should OID [Oakdale Irrigation District] be allowed to drain the county's aquifers so that it it can send water south."
Modesto Bee, January 25, 2014
California drought: Water officials look to rules of '70s
"The question that California will have to address ... is where do we invest the money," he said. "Do we invest in dams and pipelines ... or do we invest the money in recycling, groundwater cleanup and conservation technologies?"
San Francisco Chronicle, January 19, 2014
Drought declaration a warning of things to come
The drought is an opportunity to rethink our water use to reflect 21st century California. It will take regional cooperation and individual conservation commitments by every Californian to make it work."
San Francisco Chronicle, January 18, 2014
Jerry Brown declares California drought emergency, urges 20 percent cut in water use
Gov. Jerry Brown announced a state of emergency Friday that has been all but official for weeks: California is in a drought."
Sacramento Bee, January 17, 2014
Viewpoints: Drought is Mother Nature at work, not Congress
Let's not be diverted from the task at hand by fooling ourselves that Congress is to blame, or that Congress can deliver a silver bullet to somehow fix a badly broken system."
Sacramento Bee, January 16, 2014
EDITORIAL: Valley leaders must address increasing water overdraft
Valley farmers had better work with local leaders to rein in their narcotic-like addiction to -- or the state will swoop in with its own prescriptions."
Fresno Bee, January 15, 2014
The Truth about Jerry Brown's Twin-Tunnel Scheme... and LA's Water Future"
By securing excessive amounts of water for corporate agribusinesses in the Westlands Water District, the tunnels would both undermine the health of the Delta and the ability for Los Angeles to secure its own water future."
Los Angeles City Watch, January 10, 2014
Away go our dollars down the delta drains
California's waterworks are out of whack, ecologically, physically and financially, but Brown's titanic tunnels are an expensive fix that does not treat the real problems. I call them the Delta Drains because they will drain the life out of the delta and the money out of our pockets while chiefly benefiting big agribusiness."
San Francisco Chronicle, January 10, 2014
Record-setting drought threatens salmon survival
California's intensifying drought is forcing water managers to make tough choices that pit fish species against one another for survival. In the grip of a three-year dry period that shows no signs of abating, California is butting up against the limits of its vast system of canals, dams and reservoirs, designed to funnel water from northern rivers to farms and cities farther south."
Greenwire, January 8, 2014
Outrage in Owens Valley a century after L.A. began taking its water
Now much of the controversy is about groundwater pumping that long ago dried up seeps and springs and is blamed now for harming many of the valley's lush, ecologically important meadows."
Sacramento Bee, January 6, 2014.
Colorado River Drought Forces a Painful Reckoning for States
The sinuous Colorado River and its slew of man-made reservoirs from the Rockies to southern Arizona are being sapped by 14 years of drought nearly unrivaled in 1,250 years."
New York Times, January 5, 2014
California's dry year is a chance to rethink water use
While the state has not declared a drought, its Drought Task Force will discuss on Tuesday how to prepare for a third dry year. This is no crisis - it is an opportunity to weigh how we use our state's most precious resource."
San Francisco Chronicle, January 5, 2014
Water Bonds Shrivel as California Sees Driest Year
The drought may influence voters' willingness to pay for water projects. Brown is considering whether to submit a bond measure to voters to pay for tunnels and other infrastructure to increase supplies from the Delta region. In July 2012, Brown withdrew an $11 billion borrowing proposal from the November 2012 ballot, citing concerns that it would have jeopardized his plan for higher sales and income taxes."
Bloomberg News, January 2, 2014
December 2013Anthony Rendon poised to wade into California water issues
The water bond will be the No. 1 priority of this office moving forward into 2014, Rendon said. Water is the big thing here."
Sacramento Bee, December 30, 2013
Drought brings water rationing orders
December is usually not the time of year to discuss water rationing. But this holiday month has been so dry that mandatory water conservation orders are beginning to sweep across the Sacramento region."
Sacramento Bee, December 29, 2013
Fracking: The Bay Delta Conservation Plan would provide water for mining
"Will water pumped from the Delta be used for fracking in the Central Valley?" -- that troubling question appears in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) weekly forum, "Your Questions Answered." The answer is yes. According to the plan, fracking is a "reasonable, beneficial use" of water."
Mercury News, December 27, 2013
Delta tunnels plan's true price tag: As much as $67 billion
For more than a year, Gov. Jerry Brown's administration has been describing his plan to build two massive water tunnels through the Delta as a $25 billion project. But when factoring in long-term financing costs, the price tag actually ranges from $51 billion to $67 billion, according to new figures that emerged last month"
Mercury News, December 26, 2013
A serious case of 'tunnel vision'
The biggest losers in this sneaky water grab are California taxpayers who will be required to fund the BDCP but will have no say in the outcome of any tunnel project."
Stockton Record, December 21,2013
Gov. Brown's twin-tunnel project undermines L.A.'s water future: Guest commentary
These tunnels won't provide us with any new water, but they will secure massive amounts of water for California's most powerful corporate agribusinesses at our expense."
Los Angeles Times,December 19, 2013
Fate still unclear for nine species in Delta water tunnel plan
The state's ambitious plan to restore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has two main goals: improve water supplies and remove dozens of native animals from the endangered species list. Yet for nine key species -- including salmon, Delta smelt and greater sandhill cranes -- it remains unclear whether the plan will ultimately help or hurt."
Sacramento Bee, December 18, 2013
Fight against twin tunnels heats up at Capitol
[E]ven more speakers were present to denounce Gov. Jerry Brown's $24.7 billion twin tunnel proposal. Hundreds gathered with signs and plenty of anger that the project that has been described as a "boondoggle" continues to push forward with no public vote on the project."
River News Hearld and Isleton Journal, December 18, 2013
Editorial: Hard truths about California's water future
First, the state must act to stave off disaster. Second, no one will get all the water they want."
Los Angeles Times, December 15, 2013
Shaky rationale behind Brown tunnel plan
Promoters of a $25-billion plumbing project say a major quake could topple levees. Experts find holes in that argument."
Los Angeles Times, December 15, 2013
Brown's Tunnel Vision on State Water Plans
Nothing is more important to the economy of San Diego and all of California than a reliable supply of water. But the intensely controversial proposal of Gov. Jerry Brown to achieve greater reliability through environmental restoration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta -- the hub of California's massive water system -- and re-engineering of the delta's intricate plumbing increasingly appears unworkable."
San Diego Union Tribune, December 15, 2013
Lois Henry: How water from Kern grows sprawl in Madera
So, a pile of water banked in Kern County is being used to support a massive urban development in Madera County."
The Bakersfield Californian, December 14, 2013
Editorials: Two-tunnel study leaves big questions unanswered
Despite the state's 34,000-page draft environmental impact study, fundamental questions remain unanswered about the proposal to build two huge tunnels to divert water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to points south."
Sacramento Bee, December 12, 2013
Lawmakers ask Brown to declare California drought emergency
After an unusually dry start to the rainy season, two California lawmakers are urging Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a drought emergency."
San Francisco Chronicle, December 11, 2013
Viewpoints: When it comes to re-plumbing the Delta, trust is a two-way street
[T]he parties pushing this project [Bay Delta Conservation Plan] have displayed scant interest in working with Northern California to develop a plan that would serve the needs and requirements of all Californians. Monday's release of more than 30,000 pages of an environmental impact report that purports to justify the current Bay Delta Conservation Plan project only underscores the need for statewide collaboration."
Sacramento Bee, December 11, 2013
Is Jerry Brown's Delta tunnels plan repeating the errors of high-speed rail?
Opponents of the tunnels called Brown's plan a costly boondoggle that will result in more water being pumped out of an already overtaxed ecological system, mostly to subsidize large corporate farmers in Kern County and San Joaquin Valley. They said the entire plan is built on shaky financing."
Mercury News, December 9, 2013
Proposed delta tunnels may not satisfy water needs, documents say
A $25-billion proposal to re-engineer the hub of California's sprawling water system may not yield all the water that San Joaquin Valley farmers and Southland cities want, leaving open the question of whether the massive project will be built."
Los Angeles Times, December 9, 2013
Delta water tunnels environmental report released
Whether the Bay Delta Conservation Plan is the solution to decades of conflict over California's water supply is heavily debated. But after seven years in the making, the environmental impact report for the project -- which proposes construction of two enormous tunnels to divert freshwater from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the south state -- is finally ready for scrutiny."
Sacramento Bee, December 9, 2013
Delta water tunnel plan presents California with tough choices
A new future for the troubled Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta was laid out for public review Monday in 34,000 sprawling pages of analysis associated with two giant water-diversion tunnels proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The question now for the public and policy makers: Is this the future they want?"
Sacramento Bee, December 9, 2013
Delta water tunnel project needs $1.2 billion more for planning
The giant Delta water-diversion tunnels proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown need $1.2 billion more spent on planning and design before construction starts or is even assured."
Sacramento Bee, December 7, 2013
November 2013Earth Log: U.S. Geological Survey raises quiet buzz about Calif. groundwater law
Federal scientists added another piece of evidence last week in the argument for regulating California's underground water -- the San Joaquin Valley's famous sinking landscape is still dropping. The U.S. Geological Survey study showed a 1,200-square-mile section of the west side in Madera, Fresno and Merced counties has dropped almost 2 feet in just two years."
The Fresno Bee, November 26, 2013
Lois Wolk: State Needs Cost-effective Water Bond
It's time to focus on financing the most cost-effective local and regional projects that will deliver a more clean and reliable supply of water for all communities."
San Diego Union Tribune, November 23, 2013
Mercury News editorial: Why California water debate is going nowhere fast
It's common for successful water projects to have the rules of operation in place first, so everyone understands how much water will be available, who will receive it, and who will be in charge of enforcing the rules. For all the numbers being tossed around with the Bay Delta plan, none of that is clear, and nobody seems inclined to face up to it."
Mercury News November 22, 2013
California is drowning in ancient and unfair water rules: Editorial
Farming accounts for more than 80 percent of the state's water usage, while providing less than 5 percent of its gross domestic product. That economic reality drives wasteful and even unsustainable agricultural practices, like flooding fields for rice cultivation in a state whose urban population constantly is hectored about water conservation."
Los Angeles Daily News, November 21, 2013
"Alternative to Governor's Giant Water Tunnels Plan Would Be $6 Billion Cheaper
State officials recently admitted that they had incorrectly analyzed an alternative proposal to Jerry Brown's giant water tunnels plan, and now acknowledge that it would be $6 billion cheaper than the governor's proposal. The California Natural Resources Agency had previously said that the competing water plan--known as the Portfolio Alternative-- would only save the state $3 billion, and as a result, was not viable."
East Bay Express, November 18, 2013
"Why Bay Area should care about California delta
What is clear is that California needs to reduce reliance on the giant plumbing system that is the delta and develop more regional approaches to water use. Southern California is already far ahead of Northern California on water conservation, groundwater management and water-recycling measures. (From the Southern California view, we here in the Bay Area are profligate water wasters.)"
San Francisco Chronicle, November 18, 2013
"Groundwater levels falling at alarming rate while lawmakers decide what to do
San Joaquin Valley's groundwater is being depleted at an alarming rate and something needs to be done before it's too late, state officials were warned last week."
Modesto Bee, November 17, 2013
"Editorial: Big obstacle for Delta tunnel project -- who will pay for it
The tunnel project will cost roughly $15billion to build, and likely more with inevitable cost overruns. Water contractors are slated to pick up that tab. But if they will only get as much water as they've been getting in recent years, on average, will it be worth that investment?"
Sacramento Bee, November 17, 2013
"Contra Costa: Residents' concern grows over Delta tunnels plan
As the state prepares to unveil key environmental documents for Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to build two large tunnels to move Sacramento River water south, dozens of concerned East Contra Costans were brought up to speed last week on how it could impact their Delta backyard."
Contra Costa Times, November 15, 2013
"Congressman John Garamendi: California needs a comprehensive water plan that creates new water supplies--not a $25 billion dollar boondoggle.
California's aging water infrastructure is insufficient for our present and future needs. Unfortunately, the current Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and its two massive tunnels is a destructive $25 billion boondoggle that won't solve the problem. California can solve its water needs and end the water wars that pit north vs. south and water exporters vs. environmentalists -- but not with the BDCP."
Isleton River News, November 6, 2013
"San Joaquin fix: Money flows; not river, salmon
Government biologists say it takes time. They hope that environmental improvement projects on the river and on the delta will combine to bring salmon back to modern-day California and historic runs such as the San Joaquin."
San Francisco Chronicle, November 6, 2013
"Viewpoints: Why I'm still confused about the proposed tunnels in the Delta
Honest and complete answers to the questions posed above must be provided if California voters and decision-makers are to make informed choices about the path forward for California water. Good water policy in California will only come about if it is guided by sound science, eyes-open analysis and public transparency."
Sacramento Bee, November 6, 2013
"Viewpoints: Why undermine law that keeps Merced River wild and scenic?
California's elected officials of both parties -- and in both houses of Congress -- should back the sound and amicable compromises of the past, stand up to lobbyists who simply want to change the laws they dislike and cherish the waters of Yosemite by keeping its river intact."
Sacramento Bee, November 2, 2013
"Lodi crane advocates say tunnel project threatens birds
Organizers of Lodi's annual Sandhill Crane Festival are worried state plans to build two tunnels through the Delta will harm the threatened species that gives the festival its name."
Lodi News, November 1, 2013
October 2013"Viewpoints: So how can L.A. wean itself from distant water?
Between water recycling, rainwater harvesting, pipe repair and conservation, we could come very close to eliminating our need for distant water altogether and achieving water independence, possibly forever."
Sacramento Bee, October 12, 2013
"Environmental group lobs new criticism at Bay Delta Plan
Spell out what they say are better alternatives; Most affordable for agricultural, urban water users, or California taxpayers."
Central Valley Business Times, October 7, 2013
"Viewpoints: The Economic case for a Bay Delta Conservation Plan without the twin tunnels
The $25 billion Bay Delta Conservation Plan is on the brink of failure. Its proponents have been unable to show that the plan meets environmental requirements, and they have failed to develop a viable financial plan for its massive water-conveyance tunnels."
Sacramento Bee, October 6, 2013
"Dan Walters: Money could spell doom for two big California projects
The twin tunnels and ancillary habitat projects connected to them would cost at least $25 billion. While the tunnels themselves would presumably be financed by bonds repaid by sales of water, there's no firm financing plan in place, and a recent USC/Los Angeles Times poll found that when the $25 billion cost is mentioned, voter support plummets to scarcely one-third."
Sacramento Bee, October 6, 2013
September 2013"Californians want water issues fixed but not enough to pay for it
Voters acknowledge serious water supply problems but balk when told the multibillion-dollar price tags to address them, poll finds."
Los Angeles times, September 30, 2013
"Water bond for state, not North or South
Clean, drinkable water for disadvantaged communities is the feel-good component of both of the water bond bills proposed to replace the pork-laden $11 billion measure now on the November 2014 ballot."
San Francisco Chronicle, September 27, 2013
"Recycled water a viable resource
After filtration, recycled water supplies are now more pure than other supplies."
San Francisco Chronicle, September 27, 2013
"Yosemite fire exposes water system vulnerabilities
Yosemite's Rim Fire is still burning but is under control and off the front page. For San Francisco's water system, the fire likely was a catastrophe narrowly averted. But it is a wake-up call for all communities that precariously rely on water imported from far away."
San Francisco Chronicle, September 27, 2013
"Delta conservation plan is only a piecemeal solution
What's needed is a statewide, or even regionwide, solution to the problem of limited water supply and burgeoning demand."
Los Angeles Times, September 24, 2013
"Buffaloes threaten pristine landscape
Construction of two giant tunnels to funnel water to the Central Valley and Southern California would disrupt farming and despoil the delta."
Los Angels Times, September 22, 2013
"Water, Water, Everywhere--But Not A Drop To Drink?
With the planet getting warmer and more populated, the trend lines seem clear: the thirst on Earth is building. Is there enough water to go around, and if so, for how long?"
Los Angeles Magazine, September 17, 2013
"Climate change prompts new concerns about Delta tunnels, Sacramento water supply
The Sacramento City Council this week stepped up its critique of a plan to build two giant water diversion tunnels in the Delta, warning that it may harm the city's ability to access drinking water in the decades ahead."
Sacramento Bee, September 13, 2013
"A fracking bill gone bad
Some level of regulation of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is preferable to none. Except if the helpful aspects are canceled out by more problematic ones. That is the case with SB 4, passed by the Assembly on Wednesday. It goes back to the state Senate for final vote, and we hope it's stopped there. If not, Gov. Jerry Brown should veto it."
Los Angeles Times, September 12, 2013
"For Northern California rivers, luck is not a plan
The Interior Department's mismanagement of this year's crisis and failure to take a stand on Humboldt County's water rights should be a red flag to Northern Californians regarding another "do you feel lucky" policy in the making: the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and its proposal to build huge tunnels to increase diversions of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta estuary without protections for North Coast water."
San Francisco Chronicle, September 11, 2013
"Editorial: Wait to debate water bond, and improve it
With dry conditions igniting fires statewide and reservoirs dropping ever lower, state lawmakers should be thinking about water. The good thing -- they are. They are thinking about a 2014 water bond."
Sacramento Bee, September 5, 2013
"New water tunnel route sets up conservation battle over Delta island
The new route proposed for Gov. Jerry Brown's giant Delta water-diversion project may conflict with direction from California voters, who spent $35 million in 2001 to acquire part of the new route as permanent wildlife habitat."
Sacramento Bee, September 1, 2013
August 2013"Opinion: Sorting through the propaganda of Delta tunnel advocates
Increased water needs should be addressed through conservation, desalination, reoperation and conjunctive use."
Inside Bay Area, August 31, 2013
"Viewpoints: State's water funding habit must change
In recent weeks, work has begun in earnest in the Capitol to revamp the water bond that will go before California voters in November 2014...This is an opportunity to put California on a more sustainable water funding diet -- with a balanced portfolio that relies less on periodic injections of general-fund-backed debt."
Sacramento Bee, August 27, 2013
"Editorial: Delta tunnel project still stuck with unacceptable baggage
If state and federal officials hope to salvage BDCP, they need to come up with solutions that reduce the project's impact, as opposed to transferring that impact elsewhere."
Sacramento Bee, August 23, 2013
"Local officials criticize Delta plan changes
Elected county, state, and federal officials who represent Elk Grove said changes to the proposed Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) still don't focus on preserving the Delta."
Elk Grove Citizen, August 22, 2013
"Fresno judge rejects Westlands effort to stop water release
A federal judge in Fresno on Thursday rejected a request by the Westlands Water District to stop a water release from Trinity Lake in far Northern California that is intended to protect a large run of salmon."
Fresno Bee, August 22, 2013
"BDCP changes detrimental to Sandhill habitat on Staten Island
The changes include realigning a segment of the of the twin tunnels several miles to the east to lands owned by a private non-profit group on Staten Island. In turn, the tunnels would be moved further from the Pearson District, Brannan Island and Walnut Grove. This of course will be smack dab in the middle of vital sandhill crane habitat, a protected area by the state."
River News Harold, August 21, 2013
"Changes proposed to Calif. twin tunnel project
California water officials are proposing changes to a multibillion-dollar plan for two water diversion tunnels for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, according to documents released Thursday."
San Francisco Chronicle, August 15, 2013
"The Public Eye: Water plan may shift Delta tunnels
California water officials are proposing a dramatic redesign of two massive water diversion tunnels planned for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a concession to Delta residents who have complained the project would upend their lives."
Sacramento Bee, August 15, 2012
"Wolk proposes $5.6B water bond
State Sen. Lois Wolk has proposed a $5.6 billion state water bond, one that includes no money for the controversial proposal to build twin tunnels to take water exports under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta."
the Fairfield Daily Republic, August 14, 2013
"Thomas D. Elias: Water tunnel questions remain
That means the latest economic analysis is simply not very useful, despite its high profile and page count. Which leaves the jury still out on the entire tunnels plan."
The Marysville Appeal Democrat, August 14, 2013
"Judge issues restraining order on flows for Klamath salmon
A federal judge today granted a temporary restraining order preventing water releases meant to prevent a fish kill on the lower Klamath River after farmers in the San Joaquin Valley sued the federal government last week."
The Eureka Times Standard, August 13, 2013
"Let's not kill fish to water farms
A decade ago, thousands of dead salmon lined the banks of the Klamath River, killed because federal dam operators steered needed water to farmers. It's a mistake that shouldn't be repeated."
San Francisco Chronicle, August 12, 2013
"Analysis of Delta tunnel plan fails to count all the costs
A consultant's cost-benefitanalysis of Gov. Jerry Brown's $24.5 billion pipe dream to bore two giant tunnels under the Delta is long on espousing the benefits and decidedly short on analyzing the costs."
The Stockton Record, August 9, 2013
"Steinberg: Delta Tunnel Project Needs Legislative Buy-In
California legislative leaders are pushing back against the contention of Governor Jerry Brown's administration that its Delta tunnels proposal doesn't need lawmaker approval."
Valley Public Radio, August 8, 2013
"State panel delays decision on Tuolumne and Merced river flow rates
A state water board is delaying action until early next year on a disputed plan for increased water releases to support salmon in the Tuolumne and Merced rivers."
The Modesto Bee, August 8, 2013
"Agency finds climate change taking toll on California
California lakes are warming, sea levels are rising, wildfires are spreading, and mountain plants and animals are migrating to higher ground as the impact of climate change takes hold throughout the state, a new report says."
San Francisco Chronicle, August 8, 2013
"California Gov. Brown struggles to shore up support for water plan
Gov. Jerry Brown has shown mastery of Sacramento, but his hope for a legacy of enduring public works hinges on a different skill -- the ability to work Washington."
Los Angeles Times, August 6, 2013
July 2013"Folsom Lake, American River levels to hit 5-year lows
Water levels in Folsom Lake and the American River this fall will drop to levels not seen in five years as California verges on another extended drought period."
Sacramento Bee, July 22, 2013
"Environmental documents for proposed delta project criticized
Federal agencies reviewing draft for proposal to re-plumb the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta call it 'insufficient' and 'biased.'
Los Angeles Times, July 18, 2013
"Editorial: Can Steinberg head off a Delta train wreck?
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is in a unique position to influence at least a partial resolution of the brewing battle over the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The question is: Can he use his leverage in a way that benefits both the district he represents and the state of California he serves?"
Sacramento Bee, July 15, 2013
"Birth defects linked to bad Valley water
An extensive new study confirms a long-suspected link between crippling birth defects and the nitrate contamination that threatens drinking water for 250,000 people in the San Joaquin Valley."
Fresno Bee, July 13, 2013
"Editorial: Larger dam a big boondoggle
The federal government is seeking comments on whether it should raise Shasta Dam. Here's our comment, short and sweet: Quit wasting taxpayer money."
Chico ER, July 11, 2013
"Dan Walters: Water bond, tunnels provide new test for Jerry Brown
Brown ardently supports the twin tunnels, but navigating the bond issue's perilous political waters will be a big test for his second governorship."
Sacramento Bee, July 8, 2013
"All Californians deserve clean water
Brown was right to promise all Californians access to clean, safe water. Now he should deliver on that promise."
Los Angeles Times, July 7, 2013
"Raid draws attention to state's water districts
The FBI's investigation of a state lawmaker has brought attention to an arm of government that is at once indispensable and nearly invisible -- public agencies that pipe water to millions of people and vast swaths of farmland yet operate with scant oversight or public scrutiny."
sfgate, July 6, 2013
June 2013"Guest comment: Looking in the wrong direction
Aiding SoCal's water needs requires studying north's resources"
Chico News and Review, June 27, 2013
"Viewpoints: Calls for new storage ignore need for reforms of how we use water
Of course, Southern Californians want more of the North's water, and they have always been willing to flex their political and financial power to muscle state and federal officials. What isn't clear is that those demanding more water, especially irrigators, are prepared to pay for the additional benefits they are demanding, or to make significant operational changes to justify costly new investments."
Sacramento Bee, June 20, 2013
"Members of Congress meet with Interior Secretary over twin tunnels plan
Members of Congress representing Northern California are taking their opposition to Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to build massive twin tunnels beneath the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell."
Central Valley Business Times, June 19, 2013
"Tunnel Vision Part Two: Rivers in Peril
How Jerry Brown's plan to build two giant water tunnels, along with legislation in Congress, could ultimately spoil the last of Northern California's wild and scenic rivers."
East Bay Express, June 19 2013
"Lawsuits hit new Delta Plan from all sides
A plan intended, at least in part, to resolve decades of water conflict in the Delta has instead spawned a flood of lawsuits, with at least five separate suits filed against the plan in recent days."
Sacramento Bee, June 18, 2013
"Governor Brown's Boondoggle
Governor Jerry Brown's case for his ruinously expensive and environmentally catastrophic Twin Tunnels project is devolving from the threadbare to the duplicitous."
Huffington Post, June 19, 2013
"Environmental groups sue to stop governor's twin tunnels
A coalition of fishing, environmental and farming groups is suing the Delta Stewardship Council over its "Delta Plan," which they contend is stalking horse to clear the way for Gov. Jerry Brown's plans to siphon off part of the Sacramento River before it can flow naturally into the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta."
Central Valley Business Times, June 17, 2013
"Viewpoints: Farm bill would be a disaster for conservation, California
The farm bills now before Congress will affect all Californians and every aspect of the American food and farming system. Their priorities are all wrong, especially when it comes to protecting natural resources."
Sacramento Bee, June 12, 2013
"Tunnel Vision Part One: Delta in Peril
How Jerry Brown's plan to build two giant water tunnels could devastate the largest estuary on the West Coast."
East Bay Express, June 12, 2013
"BDCP chapters released: Congress vows "water wars" just beginning
At a press conference held in Milipitas Wednesday, representatives from the Brown Administration claim that BDCP will actually provide benefit to California water agencies - while opponents of the plan claim the studies showing this data are flawed, incomplete and do not factor in the majority of California taxpayers and water ratepayers."
River News Herald, June 5, 2013
"Fish taken from Delta have most mercury in Calif.
Sport fish from rivers and streams in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have higher levels of mercury in their systems than fish taken from anywhere else in California, a new survey has found."
Mercury News, June 2, 20132013
"The Conversation: Brown's tunnel tactics spur Delta rage
As is now apparent, Gov. Jerry Brown is determined to build a pair of enormous water tunnels under the Delta to benefit Southern California and San Joaquin Valley agribusinesses. He plans to build the tunnels in the face of opposition from every Delta county that will be affected. He plans to do it without a vote of California residents or water users with a stake in the outcome."
Sacramento Bee, June 2, 2013
May 2013"Giant solar facility proposed for Kings County
"Solar is a good use for land that is no longer prime land."
Hanford Sentinal, May 31, 2013
"California native fish could disappear with climate change
Climate change could be the final blow for many of California's native fish species, pushing them to extinction with extended drought, warmer water temperatures and altered stream flow."
Los Angeles Times, May 31, 2013
"California members of Congress blast BDCP
Call Governor Brown's plan a disaster for the Bay-Delta region; Urge officials to halt process."
Central Valley Business Times, May 30, 2013
"Cost of governor's twin tunnels plan disputed
Independent economist questions Brown's numbers. "The tunnels would fail a financial feasibility analysis and benefit-cost analysis"
Cental Valley Business Times, May 29, 2013
"Cost of Bay Delta tunnel project could be $9,000 a household
Opponents of the governor's Bay Delta Conservation Plan say the construction of 35 miles of concrete tunnels around the sensitive Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will cost the average household in Los Angeles as much as $9,000, or add $5 to $16 a month to already increasing water bills over 40 years."
San Gabriel Valley Tribute, May 28, 2013
"Sierra Club urges governor to rethink position on Delta tunnels
Rather than rushing to a tunnel solution, we urge you to reconsider your position on the Delta and explore alternative plans to lead California in a bolder, more enlightened and comprehensive direction on water supply policy."
Contra Costa Times, May 21, 2013
"Water group blasts Delta Plan
The "Delta Plan," adopted Thursday as state law by the Delta Stewardship Commission, is fatally flawed, says a nonprofit water group based in Santa Barbara."
Central Valley Business Times, May 16, 2013
"Editorial: If BDCP were science-based, Delta flows would be a priority
This editorial board has called on Gov. Jerry Brown not to approve any tunnel or other "conveyance" project for the Delta until there is a clear understanding among all parties on how much water would be available for the ecosystem, and how much is leftover for water exports."
Sacramento Bee, May 12, 2013
"Why Federal Efforts to Ensure Clean Tap Water Fail to Reach Faucets Nationwide
The Environmental Protection Agency distributes these funds to state agencies that are supposed to identify problems and underwrite solutions. By the E.P.A.'s calculations, no state has been as inept in distributing the money as California."
New York Times, May 10, 2013
"Mercury News editorial: Bay Area can't afford to lose Delta water fight
The best way to improve the health of the Delta is to fix the damaged levee system and allow more water to flow through the estuary, not less. Additional water for cities and agriculture can come from increased recycling and from expanding reservoirs and using underground aquifers for more storage."
Mercury News, May 3, 2013
April 2013"EDITORIAL: All options must be on table for Bay-Delta fix
If Gov. Jerry Brown had his way, the tunneling machines would be boring right now under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, carving out space for two 40-foot-wide tunnels to ship Sacramento River water to cities and irrigation districts south of the Delta."
Fresno Bee, April 30, 2013
"The consensus seems to be: Let somebody else fix the delta
Confidential surveys of water officials, water users and others involved with the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta offer some telling insight on why the delta is stuck in a perpetual quagmire. When it comes to fixing the hub of California's water system, most parties would prefer it if someone else made the sacrifices."
Los Angeles Times, April 29, 2013
"$35B overhaul of water system on tap
The combined price tag for a grand redesign of California's plumbing network now surpasses a staggering $35 billion, although there are signals that the final bill will eventually shrink."
San Diego Union Tribune, April 28, 2013
"Interactive map: Sacramento Delta tunnel project
The Bay Delta Conservation Plan would affect 3,530 acres of land in Sacramento County, mostly between Freeport and Courtland, to divert Sacramento River water. This map shows the latest official location and size of the proposed facilities, which may change when a final proposal is released later this year."
Sacramento Bee, April 28, 2013
"Editorial: Feds need to press Brown to look at all options for a Bay-Delta fix
What is really needed is for the Obama administration to address some of the gaping flaws in BDCP, which the governor has so far refused to acknowledge or confront."
Sacramento Bee, April 28, 2013
"Gov. Jerry Brown presses feds for quick review of Delta water tunnel project
Brown's letter follows growing pressure from the water agencies funding the project, including the Kern County Water Agency, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Westlands Water District. They agreed to pay $240 million toward planning efforts. Nearly all that has been spent, and they are concerned that delays beyond this year would require still more money."
Sacramento Bee, April 26, 2013
"Congressional Democrats demand resignation of Brown appointee
The controversy surrounds Jerry Meral, deputy director of the state Natural Resources Agency, who allegedly told officials that Brown's water plan was never about saving the delta and that in fact the delta could not be saved."
L.A. Times, April 26, 2013
"Governor's tunnel plan could take Humboldt County's Trinity water, impact salmon
In the course of the last half-century, Humboldt County has stood fast for our rights and interests. We all have a right and responsibility to protect this precious resource, and urge all Californians to oppose any form of a BDCP that takes more of our water. We also urge the Department of the Interior to act to resolve this issue. To take our water is to steal our future. "
Times Standard, April 25, 2013
"Viewpoints: Twin tunnels water grab is doomed to fail
California deserves a better plan. In fact, one exists -- a rational and cost-effective strategy based on conservation, recycling, groundwater recharge and the retirement of impaired agricultural lands."
Sacramento Bee, April 25, 2013
"Delta pipeline pact could 'get project done, then go away'
Southern California water agencies have been quietly negotiating with state officials to take a major role in designing and building the giant Sacramento River diversion tunnels at the core of Gov. Jerry Brown's water policy for the state, according to documents obtained by The Bee."
Sacramento Bee, April 22, 2013
"California not complying with water act, EPA says
California today was declared to be out of compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act because it is sitting on $455 million that should be spent to improve local drinking water systems."
Sacramento Bee, April 19, 2013
"Colorado River tops 2013 endangered waterways list
The annual top-10 list by Washington, D.C.-based American Rivers points to a three-year federal Bureau of Reclamation study that warned last December that the river won't always be able to serve all the residents, businesses, ranchers, Native Americans and farmers who rely upon it.The Merced River, which flows through Yosemite Valley in California, was added to the list due to concerns that Congress may weaken wild and scenic protections."
Sacramento Bee, April 16, 2013
"Fish agencies still have concerns about Delta tunnels
Federal wildlife agencies still have serious concerns about how two giant water diversion tunnels proposed in the Delta may harm imperiled species such as salmon and Delta smelt."
Sacramento Bee, April 15, 2013
"Carolee Krieger: California's Delta water drain scheme is like "Chinatown" all over again
A massive public works project that will strain the state treasury, increase Southern California water rates and wreak environmental havoc - while benefiting a narrow, wealthy constituency - is the last thing California needs. This isn't the 1930s. It's high time to bring California's water politics into the 21st century."
Los Angeles Daily News, April 3, 2013
March 2013"Broke California Unveils Fish-Saving Boondoggle
The plan would not increase the water-flow capacity -- the pipes coming out of the southern pumping plant would not be widened -- but would improve reliability by eliminating the lawsuits that routinely stop the pumps to ensure that there's enough freshwater to protect the fish. In other words, engineering is being proposed to fix a legal and regulatory problem."
Bloomberg View Newsletter, March 31, 2013
"The Delta: Rep rips tunnels, offers own plan
U.S. Representative John Garamendi is so disappointed in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan that he has suggested an alternative."
Benicia Herald, March 31, 2013
"Stuart Leavenworth: Scope and impact of Delta twin tunnels is starting to hit home
As state and federal officials push ahead with their Bay Delta Conservation Plan, the unavoidable elephant in the room is the 35-mile twin tunnels they propose to build through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. BDCP supporters would prefer the media not focus so much on these tunnels."
Sacramento Bee, March 25, 2013
"Delta twin-pipe plan moves ahead
Seven years in the making, the first details of the $23 billion plan to restore the San Francisco Bay and delta ecosystems were unveiled last week by state and federal water agencies. Regrettably, the presentation assumed the need to build a twin-pipe project to move water 35 miles under the delta, leaving little room in the public debate to suggest alternatives."
San Francisco Chronicle, March 17, 2013
February 2013"Carolee Krieger: Land retirement solves selenium problem
This low-tech and cost-effective approach would effectively solve all of our drainwater problems. Selenium contamination of the San Joaquin River -- and ultimately, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and San Francisco Bay -- would fall to near zero because drainwater discharges would cease. We would save great quantities of California's most precious natural resource -- water. And large tracts of land would become available for a wide range of alternative uses, including sustainable industries such as solar energy farms."
Fresno Bee, February 20, 2013
"Report: California fishermen in 2012 caught most Chinook salmon since 2005
The 2012 king salmon commercial fishing season was the best in California in nearly a decade, according to a new report that also offers hope for good trolling in 2013."
san Mateo County Times, February 20, 2013
"Delta pipes pitch less than perfect
The pipe idea - single or double - won't address the need to take less water from the delta (delta exports rose to a record in 2011), and it disturbs the flow through the delta needed to maintain the salmon population.The governor needs to forget the flannel shirt and embrace a plan that keeps more water in the delta."
San Francisco Chronicle, February 19, 2013
"Lawmakers call for study of alternatives to Bay Delta plan
Six members of Congress want the Department of the Interior and the Commerce Department to do a cost-benefit analysis of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, due to be released in final form shortly."
Central Valley Business Times, February 13, 2013
"Deaths of endangered fish curtail water exports
State and federal water managers have reduced exports to the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California after too many delta smelt die at the delta's export pumps."
Los Angeles Times, February 13, 2013
"Earth Log: Valley drinking water woes in spotlight in state report
We're talking about water systems relying solely on tainted groundwater that violates standards, forcing people to buy bottled drinking water. Of the 772,883 Californians in that situation, 400,000 are in the San Joaquin Valley."
Fresno Bee, February 12, 2013
"Delta water diversions reduced to protect smelt
Federal wildlife officials Friday ordered substantial cuts in water diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect a rare fish."
Sacramento Bee, February 9, 2013
"National Heritage Area status sought for Delta
California's U.S. senators introduced a bill in Congress on Monday to name the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as a National Heritage Area."
Sacramento Bee, February 6, 2013
"California Gets Fracked
Big Oil is rushing to extract fossil fuel from the state's underground shale formation. But will it contaminate - and waste - portions of our water supply?"
East Bay Express, February 6, 2013
Editorial: Congress must vote to save the Klamath
It's time for Washington to heed science over politics. The test involves the ailing Klamath River, where four aging power dams along the California-Oregon border are holding back farming, tainting river flows with toxic algae, and decimating migratory fish."
San Francisco Chronicle, February 5, 2013
January 2013"Economist blasts cost-benefit analysis plans for Delta tunnels
Like the proverbial butcher with his thumb on the scale, the state's plans to do a cost-benefits analysis of Gov. Jerry Brown's scheme to suck water out of the Sacramento River would seem to be rigged. That's a conclusion that could be drawn from reading a criticism of the plans by economist Jeffrey Michael of the plans of the governor's Department of Water Resources."
Central Valley Business Times, January 29, 2013
"Jerry Brown's water plan faces mixed reviews
The controversy is decades old. Yet the pointed nature of the criticism -- and the eagerness of even Democratic lawmakers to challenge Brown on a day in which tradition suggests restraint -- laid bare how significant a test of Brown's political abilities the $14 billion project may be."
Sacramento Bee, January 28, 2013
"Editorial: Can governor broker a water peace treaty?
Water is crucial to California's economy and environment, and both are threatened if the state does not plan for its future. Climate change portends a future of extremes -- deluges and floods some years and droughts that could last decades. California must change how it uses, stores, protects and moves its erratic water supply."
Sacramento Bee, January 24, 2013
"A better idea, and billions cheaper
The concept put forward by the county water authority, Filner, the other water agencies and the environmental groups -- a remarkable alliance in itself -- proposes a single, smaller tunnel under the delta. They say it could be built for $5 billion-$7 billion, with the billions in savings helping to pay for development of projects that many Southern California water agencies already have in their long-term plans to significantly increase the development of new local water supplies."
San Diego Union Tribune, January 20, 2013
"Groups say smaller delta tunnel is better
A group of conservation organizations and Bay Area water agencies is proposing a vastly scaled-down version of a new export system for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, arguing that it would cost less and be more reliable than a plan supported by Gov. Jerry Brown's administration."
Los Angeles Times, January 16, 2013
"Governor's delta plan is a big mistake
A combative Gov. Jerry Brown has announced his plan to dig two huge tunnels underneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta - comparable to the "Chunnel" between England and France - at the estimated cost of more than $15 billion. The stated purpose is to provide water "reliability" for Southern California users; "reliability," in this case, is code for more water. The delta cannot be saved and its ecological crisis cannot be addressed by taking out more water."
San Francisco Chronicle, January 9, 2013
December 2012"Groups mull plan to reintroduce chinook salmon in upper Sacramento, McCloud rivers
After an absence of more than 70 years, chinook salmon and steelhead may be returning to their native waters in the Upper Sacramento and McCloud rivers. Spurred by dwindling numbers of steelhead and winter- and spring-run chinook in Central Valley waters, an ad hoc committee of federal and state agencies has been studying the possibility of their reintroduction above Shasta Dam to boost their numbers and their overall health."
Redding Record Searchlight, December 29, 2012
"Mercury News editorial: California's water supply comes before fracking needs
The great fracking debate is coming to California, pitting the oil and natural gas industry against environmentalists in a battle for control of the Monterey Shale, believed to be the richest oil deposit in the United States. Gov. Jerry Brown has gotten off to a terrible start. The draft rules he has released are ridiculously inadequate."
Mercury News, December 28, 2012
"Viewpoints: Water challenges need a viable bond measure
Regionally, water managers have discovered that local investments in recycling, conservation and storm-water capture are the key to increasing water supply reliability, reducing reliance on the Delta and adapting to the impacts on climate change. Aggressive development of these local resources will ensure a more secure water supply for each region and the state as a whole."
The Sacramento Bee, December 20, 2012
"Most of California's water footprint tied to food production
These days, there's a lot of discussion of carbon footprints. A new study by the Pacific Institute focuses on another footprint, that of water. The report, released Tuesday by the Oakland-based think tank, takes a look at the amount of water required to produce the goods Californians consume, whether it's the food we eat or the things we buy; whether they are produced in state or imported from other states or foreign countries."
Lost Angeles Times, December 11, 2012
"Sinking farms hinder San Joaquin River restoration
The San Joaquin River restoration has hit a strange snag -- a vast area of swiftly sinking farmland. It means the much-heralded return of salmon runs to the state's second-longest river will wait a little longer. Over the past two years, irrigation pumping near the river has caused a two-foot dip in the landscape across many square miles on the valley's west side, federal engineers say. Now, months from the start of major construction in the restoration, the engineers must rethink the $25 million replacement of Sack Dam, which would have special features for salmon passage."
The Modesto Bee, December 9, 2012