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State’s First Water Market Will Allow Farmers To Buy, Sell Groundwater

Ventura County farmers can now buy and sell groundwater on a formal market. The market, the first of its kind in California, experts say will improve the economic value of farming and boost conservation efforts throughout the region. The Fox Canyon Water Market and Advanced Metering Pilot was created this year in response to legal and environmental concerns that posed ongoing issues for agriculture businesses, especially during the recent drought when water supplies were tightened for farmers and cities.

McNerney Outlines Tunnels Alternative

Saying he wants to “change the narrative” about California water, U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney will introduce legislation today that he describes as an alternative to Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial Delta tunnels. The bill focuses on making the far reaches of the state more self-reliant — and therefore less reliant on the Delta — by recycling wastewater, purifying saltwater and more aggressively searching for and fixing leaky pipes, a summary shows. The bill would cut tax breaks for the oil and gas industries, providing money to fund new research and grants into smarter water management.

Battle Looms as California Moves to Dedicate More Water to Fish

On the heels of the worst drought in California history, state officials are telling water users in the San Joaquin River basin to give up a major share of their water supplies – permanently. The timing, in some ways, couldn’t be worse for farmers who struggled through the drought. On the other hand, the time is right for imperiled salmon that live in the river and its tributaries. This iconic species may not survive the next drought without more water.

Judgment Day for California Climate-Change Program

After weeks of closed-door talks and days of intense debate, a proposal to extend California’s signature program for regulating global-warming greenhouse gases through the end of 2030 finally faces a showdown today in both the Senate and the Assembly. Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been making a name for himself as an international climate leader, is under tremendous pressure to pass this cap-and-trade deal — brokered by his office — over objections from some on left and the right. He has been fighting hard to win support for Assembly Bill 398, telling lawmakers last week that “This is the most important vote of your life.”

Latest: Delta Tunnels Plan Challenged in Court

California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta supplies water to 25 million people and 3 million acres of farmland. Irrigators, water districts and environmental groups have fought for years over how much can be pumped from the Delta and how much must be left to protect dwindling salmon and smelt (“California’s tangled water politics,” HCN, 12/20/10). Under the controversial WaterFix plan, endorsed by Gov. Jerry Brown, D, the state would spend $15 billion to dig two tunnels to secure Delta water for Southern California.

San Diego Unified Found Lead; Didn’t Tell Public

Lead water testing this spring in the San Diego Unified School District was a very public process. The district told parents and students, invited the media to broadcast initial testing and posted results on its website. But, before that public process began, the district wanted to see where it stood. So, it conducted some preliminary water quality sampling, finding dangerous levels of lead contamination in at least one elementary school. The district did not tell parents

California Legislature Extends State’s Cap-And-Trade Program In Rare Bipartisan Effort To Address Climate Change

California lawmakers voted Monday evening to extend the state’s premiere program on climate change, a victory for Gov. Jerry Brown that included unprecedented Republican support for fighting global warming. In a break with party leaders and activists in California and Washington, eight Republicans joined with Democrats to continue the cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The legislation would keep the 5-year-old program operating until 2030, providing a key tool for meeting the state’s ambitious goal for slashing emissions.

These Farmers Say They May Not Pay For Delta Tunnels Pushed By Gov. Brown

The governor’s proposed Delta tunnels ran into a roomful of skeptics Monday – an influential group of San Joaquin Valley farmers who remain unconvinced the controversial project will deliver the water they need at a price they’re prepared to swallow. Three weeks after the tunnels received a crucial green light from federal environmental regulators, the $17.1 billion project got a cool reception from nearly 100 growers who farm in the powerful Westlands Water District. Provided with detailed financial projections at a Westlands board meeting for the first time, the farmers suggested they aren’t ready to sign onto the plan.

The Delta Tunnels: A Bad Deal For All Californians

Many Californians have fond memories of landing their first decent-paying job, working long hours to save enough for a down payment, and finally buying a family home. Many of us poured our weekends and hearts into repairing beautiful old houses. Now imagine, after years of paying your mortgage, raising your family, and upgrading your property, that the state government chooses your neighborhood to become a vast industrial site–for more than a decade.