July 2016

California's top court rules in favor of Gov. Brown's water project

The California Supreme Court cleared the way Thursday for state water authorities to do environmental and geological testing on private land for a proposed project to divert Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta water to the south. The ruling capped six years of litigation by delta property owners, who challenged the state's right to enter their land without compensation.

Los Angeles Times, July 21, 2016

Southern California water district obtains delta islands

Four islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and a chunk of a fifth are now officially the property of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, district officials announced Monday. The giant water district, which represents 26 agencies in Southern California, completed a $175 million deal to purchase 20,369 acres of land in the delta, a transaction that some conservationists believe is a blatant water grab by one of the world's largest and most powerful water agencies.

San Francisco Chronicle, July 19, 2016

Brown calls on Bruce Babbitt, as time runs short for water fix

Brown enlists former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt to help solve California water crisis. Babbitt, no stranger to California's environmental battles, has history of finding common ground

Sacramento Bee, July 13, 2016

Delta Plan Overturned

Judge Kenny determined the plan does not conform to state law because it contains only "recommendations" for export flows, not clear, quantified and enforceable targets. And without a legally sound Delta Plan, the Twin Tunnels cannot move forward.

Santa Barbara Independent, July 11, 2016

United defense key to Delta's future

Many scientific organizations that have studied the issue agree that we must reduce dependence on the Delta and promote regional self-sufficiency. The estuary needs more water flowing through it to survive, not less. Prevailing science shows that to maintain a healthy river system, no more than 20 percent of its flows, on average, should be diverted.

Stockton Record, July 9, 2016

Op-Ed Leave California's 'new' water in the ground

When it comes to using water from deep aquifers, there are bottomless problems that make it economically costly, environmentally risky, and potentially illegal due to existing laws, policies and water rights. Deep groundwater extraction will not ensure a resilient and sustainable water future.

Los Angeles Times, July 6, 2016

June 2016

Judge invalidates long-fought Delta management plan

Court says plan must be 'set aside' until deficiencies are fixed. The ruling adds another hurdle for controversial Delta tunnels project. State plans to appeal.

Sacramento Bee, June 24, 2016

Editorial California needs to conserve water like the drought is here to stay

Mandatory state-imposed water restrictions have been lifted for now, but wasteful uses of water remain under a permanent ban, and water agencies and their customers would be wise to be ever more respectful of water and ever more parsimonious in their use of it.

Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2016

US giving $48 million to help West deal with drought

The Obama administration is awarding $48 million in grants in 13 states, mostly in the West, to help farmers and others conserve water and energy amid drought and climate change.

Associated Press, June 23, 2016

Delta smelt on the brink

The fight to save the delta smelt, the beleaguered fish at the center of an increasingly bitter tug-of-war over water rights in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, is as close to a lost cause as ever, but fisheries biologists vow to continue the struggle to protect the species.

San Francisco Chronicle, June 15, 2016

Appellate court temporarily blocks Delta island sale

A state appellate court has temporarily blocked the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California's $175 million purchase of five islands in the heart of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. On Tuesday, the 3rd District Court of Appeal granted a temporary stay preventing the sale from closing.

Sacramento Bee, June 7, 2016

Wolk bill to protect state's aquifers moves forward

The California Senate approved two water measures by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, last week, including legislation to protect California's aquifers and groundwater resources from permanent damage due to overdraft. Both bills will head to the Assembly next.

The Davis Enterprise, June 7, 2016

More bad news for Delta smelt

The spring survey estimates the population of adult smelt, which gives us some idea how many smelt have the potential to spawn. Most Delta smelt live just one year, so it's critical that there are enough fish each spring that they can find each other and take care of business. Alas, this spring's population index - a number that represents the estimated population - is a mere 1.8.

Stockton Record, June 6, 2016

State's "Delta Plan" May Have a Restart

The vaunted "Delta Plan," which took the Delta Stewardship Council about four years to write, has been largely trashed in court in a decision by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny.

Central Valley Business Times, June 2, 2016

Delta tunnels won't take northern California's water, say officials

The tunnels would create more reliable supplies for thirsty Los Angeles, as well as San Joaquin Valley farmers and some Silicon Valley residents. The Santa Clara Valley Water District, which provides 1.9 million residents of Santa Clara County drinking water and flood protection, gets some water from this system. But environmentalists, Delta farmers and some Northern California lawmakers call the tunnels project a water grab by Los Angeles and corporate farmers in the Central Valley that would harm the water quality of the San Francisco Bay and the Delta.

San Jose Mercury News, June 3, 2016

May 2016

Trump says, "There is no drought" but experts beg to differ

So, Donald Trump doesn't think there's a drought in California? The experts, and the rest of the state, might disagree.

San Francisco Chronicle, May 30, 2016

Water crisis not on presidential candidates' radar

The 20th century dams and canals that gave birth to modern California - to San Francisco, to Los Angeles, to the San Joaquin Valley farms that feed the nation - are near the end of their engineered lives. The rivers and aquifers they tap are, simply, tapped out.

San Francisco Chronicle, May 29, 2016

Legislature denies Californians a vote on governor's Delta tunnels scheme

Despite efforts by some state lawmakers, Californians are still being denied an opportunity to vote on Gov. Edmund Brown Jr.'s $68 billion plan to dig massive tunnels beneath the California Delta.

Central Valley Business Times, May 27,2016

House wading into California's long-running water war

Wading into a longstanding California water war, the House Wednesday endorsed a Republican plan to shift more water to San Joaquin Valley farmers and cut the flow for threatened fish and growers in another part of the state.

Associated Press, May 25, 2016

Guest view: 'No twin tunnels,' but legislation would help temper many concerns

we cannot allow the twin tunnels to ever be built. Sized for a capacity of 15,000 cubic feet per second, they are capable of taking all the water that flows down the Sacramento River for half of every year. The tunnels are the ultimate vampire capable of sucking the Delta dry.

Stockton Record, May. 24, 2016

Deal forgiving Westlands' $330 million debt defended

The Obama administration defended a deal Tuesday that would resolve a 1983 environmental disaster in the Central Valley by absolving farmers of a $330 million debt to taxpayers, among other benefits.

San Francisco Chronicle, May 24, 2016

California's 'historic' drought isn't history just yet

Water board lifts tough conservation mandate after wet winter.Many agencies say they'll stoordering customers to save water. That's short-sighted because the drought is far from over.

Sacramento Bee, May 21, 2016

Delta land deal clears legal hurdle

A San Joaquin County Superior Court judge on Thursday cleared the way for a Southern California water district to complete its purchase of 20,000 acres of land in the Delta, ruling that it was too soon to say how the property would be used.

Stockton Record, May 19, 2016

'Deeply disappointed' with Garamendi bill

Garamendi, a Democrat who lives in Walnut Grove and represents the north Delta, sent to the House of Representatives a drought bill that he said is identical to legislation already brought to the Senate by fellow Democrat Dianne Feinstein. The lengthy Feinstein bill contains $1.3 billion worth of long-term solutions for future water shortages, including dams, desalination and water recycling projects. But the short-term provisions in the bill are of most concern to Delta advocates, including language that gives federal agencies leeway to "maximize" water exports south from the Delta under certain conditions.

Stockton Record, May 18, 2016

Court Issues Ruling on Challenges to Delta Plan

In a favorable decision for Delta advocates, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael P. Kenny on May 18 issued a complex 73-page ruling on challenges to the Delta Stewardship Council's Delta Plan, a plan that embraces Governor Jerry Brown's California Water Fix to Build the Delta Tunnels.

Daily Kos, May 19, 2016

In Sharp Reversal, California Suspends Water Restrictions

California on Wednesday suspended its mandatory statewide 25 percent reduction in urban water use, telling local communities to set their own conservation standards after a relatively wet winter and a year of enormous savings in urban water use.

New York Times, May 18, 2016

California water bill: Here's why it's so hard for Congress to pass

Five years into California's latest drought, a major water bill compromise can seem as far away as ever. The perennial conflict, often summed up as fish vs. farms, subtly surfaced again Tuesday at a key Senate hearing. A Western growers' advocate pleaded for relief, a Trout Unlimited leader urged caution and lawmakers insisted on optimism while conceding the tough road ahead.

Sacramento Bee, May 17, 2016

Feinstein gets green light to proceed on contentious water bill

Dianne Feinstein's third effort to address California's drought by expanding the water supply through dams, recycling, desalination and other methods, as well as tinkering with protections for endangered fish, received the go-ahead Tuesday from the federal Bureau of Reclamation at a Senate hearing.

San Francisco Chronicle, May 17, 2016

A question for the ages: Can Congress pass a California water bill?

alifornia water bill to get its first Senate hearing with state's senators not in sync. Boxer likes some of Feinstein's bill but remains uncommitted. California measure could be part of bigger Western package.

Sacramento Bee, May 13, 2016

Assemblymember Eggman, Senator Wolk to Request Audit of Delta Tunnels

As the economic, scientific and financial justifications for Governor Jerry Brown's Delta Tunnels Plan continue to collapse, two Delta legislators on Monday, May 9 put yet another potential hurdle in the project's path. Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman and Senator Lois Wolk said they will request a state audit of the California Water Fix, "the new name for a very old project to divert water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta," according to a joint statement from the two legislators.

Daily Kos, May 10, 2016

Delta Islands Buy Averts Challenge in California

Despite growing opposition, the largest supplier of treated drinking water in the United States on Tuesday batted away a challenge to its planned $175 million purchase of four islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Courthouse News Service, May 10, 2016

Brown Orders Permanent Water Conservation Measures

Gov. Jerry Brown is ordering California to permanently follow some conservation measures taken during the state's drought. Brown's order on Monday came as water officials considering whether to ease a 20 percent conservation order for cities and towns. The order does not set a mandatory percentage for saving water.

Capital Public Radio, May 9, 2016

Dan Walters: Water Rights Will Be Next Big California Fight

Allocation of water depends on long-standing rights. Senior users get priority, for now. State board's crackdown looms as test case

Sacramento Bee, May 8, 2016

State must brace for big water supply changes

Six changes California will need to deal with in water and ecosystems. Some wild native species will become unsustainable. Delta will export less water and there will be fewer irrigated acres in the Valley.

Fresno Bee, May 4, 2016