A federal spending bill containing three controversial riders that may impact California water management for decades passed the House of Representatives July 19 and will next face debate in the U.S. Senate. The Fiscal Year 2019 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill (H.R. 6147), was introduced by Rep. Ken Calvert (CA-42). Calvert, who serves as the Chairman of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, included a rider identified as Section 437 in the bill that would exempt the California WaterFix project from state and federal judicial review.
Archive for date: July 25th, 2018
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Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, is holding a rally on August 20th at noon on the steps of the State Capitol to protest Phase 1 of the State Water Resources Control Board’s Bay Delta Plan The plan would require an average of 40% unimpaired flows along the Merced, Tuolumne, and Stanislaus Rivers for the protection of fish.
The San Diego County Water Authority Wednesday announced expanded funding for a partnership with San Diego Gas & Electric that increases the availability of devices that save water and energy for thousands of income-qualified residents. The Water Authority is investing an additional $150,000 into SDG&E’s Energy Savings Assistance Program, which funds the purchase of devices like low- flow showerheads and efficiency washing machines. “We are committed to helping the San Diego region make the most of our water supplies inside and outside their homes through a variety of innovative projects and programs,” said Mark Muir, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors.
Nearly four years after voters approved billions of dollars for new water storage in California, the state finally announced how the pie would be divided. Sites Reservoir in Colusa County, west of Maxwell, will get the largest chunk. The proposed reservoir has been on the drawing boards since last century. It’s the largest and most expensive proposal of the eight projects considered by the California Water Commission on Tuesday. It received the largest award, too — $816 million.
The proposed Temperance Flat dam east of Fresno on the upper San Joaquin River has been awarded $171 million by the California Water Commission, which doled out $2.5 million Wednesday for water storage projects around the state. The amount for Temperance Flat is far less than the $1 billion that proponents had asked for. The cost of building the dam is estimated at $2.83 billion. But the project is not dead, said Tulare County Supervisor Steve Worthley, president of the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority.
It has long been plain that California must do a better job of capturing rainfall and melting snow by adding water storage. Yet for decades, governors, lawmakers and bureaucrats have struggled to agree on funding for new or expanded dams or reservoirs — even as the state’s population has grown amid droughts from 25 million in 1982 to 40 million now.
In the wake of a successful summer kickoff event aboard the USS Midway on June 21, the San Diego County Water Authority and its member agencies are taking the new Brought To You By Water outreach and education program to events throughout the region this summer, including farmers’ markets, concerts in the park, and street fairs. The program’s visual ambassador — a 10-foot-diameter beach ball emblazoned with the ‘Brought to You by Water’ logo — has proved to be a hit.
It’s not just the northern San Joaquin Valley that should be concerned about the state water board’s plan to redirect water away from farms and cities in a misguided bid to save fish. No matter where you live in California—and no matter your source of water—you should be worried. For now, the focus rests on regions along the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers. From there, it moves to the Sacramento Valley and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and from there, who knows where?