Some Say California Drought Cuts May Harm Water Rights

A proposal to make California’s drought-era water restrictions permanent could allow the state to chip away at long-held water rights in an unprecedented power grab, representatives from water districts and other users told regulators Tuesday. Members of the state Water Resources Control Board delayed a decision about whether to bring back what had been temporary water bans from California’s drought, spanning 2013 to 2017. The plan is part of an effort to make water conservation a way of life, with climate change expected to lead to longer, more severe droughts.

Study Says Delta Tunnel Plan Would Pay Off For Farmers, Cities

Even a single water tunnel burrowed under the California’s Delta would be worth it for urban ratepayers and farmers who would to pay to build and maintain the project, according to an analysis released recently by Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration. The Department of Water Resources commissioned David Sunding, a professor of natural resource economics at UC Berkeley, to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of Brown’s Delta tunnel project. His report concludes that benefits outweigh the costs to ratepayers in every scenario he analyzed under a one-tunnel approach.