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Sources: Oklahoma’s Fallin is leading candidate for Interior secretary

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin is emerging as President-elect Donald Trump’s leading contender for interior secretary, three people close to Trump’s transition team told POLITICO. Fallin, a Republican who was in contention to serve as Trump’s vice president, has been the governor of Oklahoma since 2011. Before that, she served in the U.S. House. She also chaired the National Governors Association from 2013 to 2014.

OPINION: Debates arise over California’s rivers

California is finally embracing its rivers. It may be a choking embrace. We Californians have long celebrated our coastal splendor and beautiful mountains. But our rivers were seen as mere plumbing for our hydration convenience.

Now California’s communities, seeking space for environmental restoration and recreation (and some desperately needed housing), are treating rivers and riverfronts as new frontiers, and are busily reconsidering how these bodies of water might better connect people and places. A state bond passed in 2014 offers billions for water-related projects, and the epic drought is inspiring imaginative thinking about our waterways.

BLOG: Meet the Minds: Christine Boyle on Creating a Collaborative Water Future

Christine Boyle was working on her PhD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, when she first developed the idea for Valor Water Analytics– a startup that uses innovative software to help water utilities analyze their data, detect revenue loss and make more efficient decisions. Since receiving her doctorate in water resource planning in 2011, Boyle has developed an award-winning company that works with utilities in different states and recently received $1.6 million in seed funding.

California drought: Wealthy Hillsborough residents sue, saying water rates are too high

In a case that could have statewide ramifications, a group of multimillionaire Hillsborough residents, including an early funder of Microsoft, has sued the town claiming that its drought rules and penalties intended to keep people from over-watering big lawns are illegal.

The nine residents who are taking the town to court say that by imposing tiered water rates, and a $30 penalty for each unit of water used over the allotted amount, Hillsborough water officials violated Proposition 218, a state law that makes it illegal for government to charge more for a service than it costs to provide.

County officials get closer look at implications of State Water Board proposal

Stanislaus, Merced and San Joaquin county officials delved into the pages of a controversial proposal to cut water use – a proposition they oftentimes referred to as a threat to the region’s “lifeblood” – during a public meeting Friday, Nov. 18 with State Water Resources Control Board representatives in Modesto.

“Certainly there are a lot of unknowns here. We’re trying to understand what you did and your thought process,” said Rod Smith, president of Stratecon, which is a consulting firm that specializes on water resources. “I appreciate this forum; this is a great opportunity, rather than people just reading documents.


California seeks long-term water savings as drought lingers

California water regulators on Wednesday recommended tighter oversight of agricultural irrigation and a permanent ban on over-watering urban lawns, a first step toward developing a long-term conservation plan amid ongoing drought.

The proposal comes as nearly two-thirds of the state heads into a fifth year of severe drought despite a wet fall and heavy rains last winter that have ameliorated conditions in many areas.



Drought:Wet fall helps, but real test begins now

One hundred and seventy percent of normal: It sounds so impressive.

But Stockton’s wet fall — mirrored across much of Northern California — doesn’t necessarily portend a wet winter.

The real test begins today, as we kick off the crucial months of December, January and February.

“Those are the three wettest months of the year, and that’s what’s going to make or break it,” said Jan Null, a meteorologist with the Golden Gate Weather Service in the Bay Area. It’s a tale of two states as California tries to pull itself out of a deep drought hole.

As Californians become less vigilant about saving water, state eyes stricter standards

As the drought enters its fifth year, California is considering tightening its urban water conservation standards.

In a series of proposals released Wednesday, state officials said they might require urban water districts seeking to avoid state conservation mandates to prove they have a five-year water supply on hand.

Under rules that went into effect earlier this year, urban districts have to show only a three-year supply to get out from under the state’s previous mandates, which required savings of 25 percent.