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Calif. Water Savings Steadies

Californians did a good job of saving water in October, a month of heavy rainfall amid easing drought conditions in a state enduring five straight dry years, regulators said Tuesday. Cities used 19.5 percent less in October compared with 2013, shortly before Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency. That’s up from 18 percent in September, and it reverses past months of backsliding since the state lifted mandatory cutbacks of up to 25
percent, officials said. October’s savings show that residents are committed to conserving, said Felicia Marcus,
chair of the State Water Resources Control Board.

Utility seeks public input on water rules

Last week, state water officials released a draft report on the implementation of long-term water conservation requirements established to meet Gov. Jerry Brown‘s May 9 executive order and are now seeking public input.

Water agencies have been asked to adopt new standards for urban water use by 2020 that include setting targets for indoor and outdoor water use. There are many prudent actions and long-term measures for us to take in order to make conservation a way of life,” Foothill Municipal Water District Board President Rich Atwater said in a statement.

Two top California Water Officials Retire Amidst Growing Opposition to Delta Tunnels

Both Mark Cowin and Carl Togersen are retiring at a time when Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels plan, the California WaterFix, has come under increasing fire from recreational anglers, commercial fishermen, Tribal leaders, family farmers environmentalists, scientists and elected officials for the enormous threat it poses to the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary and West Coast salmon and other fisheries. Two top California water officials retire amidst growing opposition to Delta Tunnels

Speakers Say River-Flow Plan Should Be Revised

Central to the ongoing tug of war about how best to balance California water uses is a plan by the State Water Resources Control Board to leave more water in the main tributaries of the San Joaquin River during periods it considers key for at-risk native species.

Farm Bureau Supports Federal Water Legislation

Urging Congress to allow California to take full advantage of coming winter storms, the California Farm Bureau Federation said today it supports the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act slated for a vote this week.

“As California faces a potential sixth consecutive drought year, it’s critical for Congress to do what it can to assure we can capture as much water as possible from winter storms, while maintaining protections for the environment,” CFBF President Paul Wenger said. “The WIIN bill offers a balanced solution to help pay for long-overdue water supply, conservation and recycling projects.”

California’s Water Future Will Change as a Result of This Bill Set For House Approval

A California water bill set for House approval on Thursday that’s split the state’s two Democratic senators will make it easier for the incoming Trump administration to build new Western dams.

Non-native predatory fish in the Stanislaus River will be test-targeted for elimination. New Melones reservoir storage could expand. Money would flow to water recycling projects in cities such as Sacramento and San Luis Obispo, and to desalination projects like ones proposed for Southern California.

Water Conservation Rules Could Get a Lot More Complicated Under New Proposal

Despite a wet start to the fall in Northern California, nearly two-thirds of the state remains wracked by extreme drought. In the future, climate change is likely to make dry periods more frequent, more intense and longer. Competition for water will increase, as will population.

So it’s no surprise Gov. Jerry Brown says we need to “make water conservation a way of life in California.” But what’s the best way to get Californians to keep saving? A new proposal from five state resource agencies aims to re-define water conservation in the state.

BLOG: Why One Decision Could Decide The Future Of Desalination In California

A protracted conflict over whether and how to protect fish from dying at desalination plants is clouding prospects for what would be California’s second large plant of this type – and for the future of desalination along the entire California coastline. For years, a proposed Poseidon Resources desalination plant in Huntington Beach in Orange County has been kept in limbo.

OPINION: Feinstein Gets It Right In California Water Fight, Finally

California’s House Republicans have been fighting for years with senators, in particular Dianne Feinstein, over how to improve water infrastructure and help farmers in the Golden State. Now, at long last, it appears something will get done. House and Senate leaders have agreed to add a provision crafted by Feinstein, California’s senior Democratic senator, to an omnibus water infrastructure bill that is expected to pass this month.

OPINION: Stop Feinstein’s Water-Bill Rider

Sen. Dianne Feinstein calls her rider to a bipartisan water appropriations bill a way to improve efficiencies and capture more supply from “wasted” river flows for California cities, agriculture and the environment. Sen. Barbara Boxer, the author of the bill the rider amends, calls it a “poison pill” and vows to filibuster it to death.

A more temperate read from President Obama’s Department of the Interior: Feinstein’s drought rider would further complicate already very, very complicated federal water operations in California with no clear gains. The department, and the White House, are opposed, and rightly so.