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Should Oroville Dam Evacuees Get State Payment? Suit Seeks Class-Action Status

Could California give a cash payout to the 188,000 residents who frantically evacuated in February’s Oroville Dam crisis? That’s the end goal of a lawsuit filed Friday in Butte County Superior Court by evacuees Francis Bechtel, Jacob Klein, Chantel Ramirez and Denise Johnson. Their suit seeking class-action status alleges that the state Department of Water Resources negligently allowed maintenance woes at the nation’s tallest dam to fester, according to their Los Angeles attorney, Patrick McNicholas.

OPINION: Drought-Proofing the Water Supply

Last winter’s drenching rain filled many state and local reservoirs, and dumped a healthy dose of snow on the Sierra Nevada. But the state’s fragile Delta infrastructure threatens the delivery of imported water throughout the state, which can become challenging for water agencies, especially in times of drought. The Santa Clara Valley Water District knows that to protect us from future droughts and dependency on imported water, we must continue to work toward securing reliable local water sources. That’s why the water district has been hard at work expanding its recycled and purified water program.


MWD’s WaterFix Cost Assessment is Inaccurate and Inadequate

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) released its final white paper on paying for the California WaterFix project yesterday. Based on my initial review, as discussed below the white paper relies on two inaccurate assumptions, which significantly bias the analysis and conclusions and provides the Board of Directors with misleading and inaccurate information.

Brown’s Blunder Down Under

The biggest news story last week appeared in the classifieds. The legal notice declared a summons for all interested persons to appear in court in Sacramento as a defendant in a lawsuit. The lawsuit names the California Department of Water Resources vs. All Persons Interested in the matter of the Authorization of California Water Fix Revenue Bonds. That would be you.

Why Markets Aren’t Easy Solution for California’s Groundwater Problems

It has become popular to lament how slowly California is embracing water markets. Proponents’ rhetoric can paint markets as an unambiguously better, or even as the only, solution to California’s water challenges. But faith in market efficiency needs to be tempered with a firm grasp of the greater physical and institutional context for water. Markets may be part of the solution, but only where implemented carefully. Take groundwater. In many areas, decades of unfettered pumping have depleted aquifers, resulting in dry wells, deteriorating water quality, depleted streams and infrastructure damage.