Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, stepping up the Trump administration’s attack on California water policy, on Friday issued a memo to his staff demanding a “plan of action” to circumvent state officials. He gave the staff 15 days to develop a proposal and present it to his deputy, a former lobbyist for big water users at odds with the state. Zinke’s memo represents the latest volley in a developing war between the Trump administration and the state over the distribution of water from state and federal projects.
Archive for date: August 20th, 2018
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The Sweetwater Authority Governing Board voted 5-1 Monday night to raise water rates over the next six years. Rates will increase every year from starting on Jan. 1, 2019 until 2024. The last time the water authority raised their rates was in 2015. Since then, the cost of water has increased by about 17 percent, the Sweetwater Authority said in a memo to the governing board.
Within the next two years, federal officials may be forced to declare a water shortage on the Colorado River, an unprecedented situation that would reduce the amount of water available to parts of the southwestern United States and Mexico. The thermometer of the river’s health is Lake Mead, formed behind Hoover Dam. When the lake falls below a certain level, a shortage is declared and people begin to lose access to water based on an arcane priority system. The first to receive cuts are Arizona, Nevada and Mexico.
A private company’s plan to take Tijuana wastewater, treat it to an advanced level, and pipe it to Baja California’s Guadalupe Valley aims at ending water shortages that confront the celebrated wine-producing region. The proposal is expected to move forward within days as a group of Israeli and Mexican investors finalizes its contract with the state of Baja California to build a sewage treatment plant and a 65-mile aqueduct from southeastern Tijuana to the Guadalupe Valley.
In the summer of 1965, Johnny Cash was living in the wilderness of Southern California when — possibly high on drugs — he sparked a wildfire with his overheated truck that blazed through more than 500 acres and threatened the lives of endangered condors. When asked by a judge if he started the fire, he said, “my truck did, and it’s dead, so you can’t question it.” (Mr. Cash ended up settling the case for $82,000, or about a half a million in today’s dollars.)
California lawmakers are considering whether to approve a voluntary tax on water customers across the state. Revenue from the tax would be use to pay for cleaning up contaminated water in rural and low-income communities in the Central Valley. Supporters of Senate Bill 845 contend the tax is necessary to keep safe the one million Californians exposed each year to contaminated drinking water.
You have to hand it to Sacramento; they are very creative in figuring out how to take more of your money. You may or may not have heard about the proposed “Water Tax.” It is intended to place a monthly tax on your water bill, from $1.00 to $10.00, depending on your meter size or having multiple meters. The money will be sent to Sacramento and then used to make water system improvements to communities elsewhere in the state. However, this is a tax and will require a 2/3’s vote of the State Assembly and the Senate.
When California passed its landmark groundwater law in 2014, there was a collective “it’s about time” across the West. But even though California may have been late in issuing a robust groundwater management law, it does set a high bar in at least one key area. “In regards to the environment, it is actually quite progressive in that it actually explicitly mentions that groundwater-dependent ecosystems need to be identified and there can’t be impacts to them,” said Melissa Rohde, a groundwater scientist at The Nature Conservancy. If you’re not quite sure what a groundwater-dependent ecosystem (GDE) is, you’re not alone.
Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners, a New York-based private equity firm, has reportedly appointed Australia’s Macquarie Capital as financial advisor for a possible sales process of its stake in the 50 MGD (189,250 m3/d) Carlsbad Seawater Desalination Plant. Poseidon Resources partnered with Stonepeak to form Orion Water Partners, the joint venture that built, owns and operates the Carlsbad plant. The project required $922 million in financing, $734 million of which was arranged through the sale of tax exempt bonds issued by the California Pollution Control Financing Authority on behalf of Poseidon and the San Diego County Water Authority.
Hundreds of California farmers rallied at the Capitol on Monday to protest state water officials’ proposal to increase water flows in a major California river, a move state and federal politicians called an overreach of power that would mean less water for farms in the Central Valley. “If they vote to take our water, this does not end there,” said Republican state Sen. Anthony Cannella. “We will be in court for 100 years.”