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OPINION: California’s WaterFix Was Always A Dangerous Deal. Now The Trump Administration Is Making It Worse

There are many reasons to oppose the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta water tunnels project, now called the California WaterFix. The Trump administration has just added a few more. The WaterFix is the most controversial and expensive water project in California history. It would install two huge tunnels, at a cost of at least $20 billion, revamping the way the state diverts water from the Sacramento River and the delta to farms and cities to the south. The earlier “peripheral canal” version of this project was voted down in a statewide referendum by a 2-to-1 margin in 1982.

Water Agencies, Farmers Fret Over California’s Move To Regulate Wetlands

The State of California is working on a new regulatory program to oversee protection of wetlands and other ephemeral water bodies, such as seasonal streams. It comes in response to the Trump administration’s plan to roll back federal protection of such waters, which are critical for wildlife habitat, flood protection, groundwater recharge and water quality. Water Deeply explored the state’s proposal in detail in an article published this week. But what would this broad new California regulatory program mean to the water industry and developers in the state?

Fire, Water And Trump’s Tweets

On Aug. 6, President Donald Trump made his first Twitter statement on California’s summer fire season, which started on June 1. Unlike his statement on last year’s Wine Country fires, when the president tweeted condolences to victims of the fires and support for the firefighters, Trump used these latest natural disasters to troll California with nonsense. At 10:43 a.m., Trump tweeted, “Governor Jerry Brown must allow the Free Flow of the vast amounts of water coming from the North and foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Can be used for fires, farming and everything else. Think of California with plenty of Water Nice! Fast Federal govt. approvals.”

Water Officials Take Records Dispute To State Supreme Court

San Diego County water officials have long been at odds with their counterparts in Los Angeles, who control millions of gallons imported every day into the southwest corner of California. But a new dispute has broken out between the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and its member agency, the San Diego County Water Authority — and it’s not about the wet stuff. Instead, lawyers for both sides are fighting over what qualifies as a public record. Attorneys for the San Diego water agency want to know how Metropolitan calculated its rates and other charges.

OPINION: The More We Drink, The Thirstier We Get

Thirst, according to Merriam-Webster: “a sensation of dryness in the mouth and throat associated with a desire for liquids.” We’re getting thirstier. A year ago our colleague Thane Roberts pointed out that between 2005 and 2013 the City’s commercial sector increased its water consumption enormously, while the residential sector reduced its overall use–even while the city’s population grew. Why is this important? Because Santa Monica buys part of its water–roughly a quarter of its needs–from the Metropolitan Water District. The MWD’s water is obtained from sources that are becoming increasingly scarce, and the price is going up as the sources dry up.