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Despite Best Efforts, Years Of Drought Leave State Little Room For Error

Arizona’s top water official told a congressional committee Wednesday that even though the state has done a lot right, years of drought still threaten to push the region into a water emergency in the next few years. Tom Buschatzke, the director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, said his office needs better coordination with other states and federal agencies and expressed concern that proposed cuts in federal funding for state could force agencies like his to do “more with less.”


Farm Claims Oroville Dam Crisis Cost It $15 Million

A Butte County farmer Wednesday filed a $15 million claim with the state over the crisis at Oroville Dam, saying water rushing down the Feather River wiped out part of a walnut orchard. The claim was filed by JEM Farms and Chandon Ranch, which run a 2,000-acre walnut farm downstream of the dam. Farmers along the Feather complained earlier this year that dramatic fluctuations in water flows from the dam in the aftermath of the February crisis caused damage to properties as riverbanks caved in.

OPINION: Ratepayers Lose When Water Districts Choose Courts Over Collaboration

After seven years and about $40 million in legal costs stemming from lawsuits filed by the San Diego County Water Authority, no ruling to date will noticeably change local water bills or address a single important regional water challenge. All ratepayers lose the longer the Water Authority’s fighting drags on. The court process is not entirely over for these initial cases brought against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the system that provides about 80 percent of San Diego County’s water supply.

OPINION: Why San Diego Should Stay The Course In Water Agency Litigation

The San Diego County Water Authority in June won substantial victories in a state Court of Appeals decision on rates set by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) that will affect how much everyone in this region pays for water. These victories are potentially worth more than $1 billion for San Diego ratepayers. While that seems like a lot of money — and no doubt it is — there are still billions more at stake, which is why the water authority must continue to pursue this litigation on behalf of San Diego County ratepayers.

House Bill Redirects River Flows From Fish to Farms

Republican-backed federal legislation with strong support from agricultural communities in California aims to eradicate salmon from much of the San Joaquin River. It will nullify numerous laws protecting wetlands and waterways in order to provide farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta with more northern California water. Environmentalists and fishery advocates are characterizing the bill, H.R. 23, or the Gaining Responsibility on Water Act of 2017, as one of the most aggressive attempts ever taken by the political allies of farming interests to divert maximum flows of water south from the Delta.

Making Water Conservation a Way of Life in San Diego

Earlier this month, I attended a meeting of the San Diego Conservation Action Committee on California’s plan to make water conservation a way of life, and was disappointed to hear a familiar refrain from our regional water wholesaler, the San Diego County Water Authority: Why is the state asking us to conserve water when we can build our way out of our water supply woes? It was a position that the Water Authority took at the height of one of the worst droughts California has ever seen.

New Water Bonds Could Go Before California Voters In 2018

On the assumption that one year of heavy rainfall hasn’t erased Californians’ memories of the severe drought that preceded it, state lawmakers and other proponents have drafted measures that could go before California voters in 2018, seeking investments in various projects dealing with water and the environment. Four new bond proposals pertaining to water and the environment have been filed with the state or are currently pending in the state Legislature. California Farm Bureau Federation Director of Water Resources Danny Merkley, who is analyzing the proposals, said they contain resources intended to address a variety of California water challenges.