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Lawsuits Fly Amid State, Federal Changes in California Water Delivery and Use

California Environmental groups on April 29 challenged in court the state Dept. of Water Resources decision not to include a proposed 40-mile tunnel in its most recent environmental assessment needed to reauthorize long-term operation of the State Water Project—a 700-mile system of dams and aqueducts that moves water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to areas in the south.

Season’s Last Snowpack Survey Confirms Dry Winter. California Inching Toward Statewide Drought

The last Sierra Nevada snowpack measurement of the season on Thursday confirmed what California officials have feared for months: The state has suffered through a dry winter.

The state Department of Water Resources announced that the snow was just 1.5 inches deep at its traditional measuring spot at Phillips Station, a vast field off Highway 50 near Echo Summit. The “snow water equivalent” was just a half an inch, or just 3 percent of average for this time of year.

The Phillips measurement was an outlier. A broader measurement taken by 130 electronic sensors throughout the Sierra revealed an average snow water equivalent of 8.4 inches, or 37 percent of average for this time of year.

Calif. Agencies Sue State as Irrigation War Escalates

California water agencies yesterday sued the state over endangered species protections they claim threaten their ability to provide water to more than 25 million residents and thousands of acres of farmland.

The lawsuit is an extraordinary step, underscoring that Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) now has multiple crises on his plate: the coronavirus pandemic and a rapidly devolving water war.

At issue is water shipped from California’s water hub, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta east of San Francisco, south via the State Water Project, a massive system of dams, canals and aqueducts.

California recently issued a new permit for the project under the state’s endangered species law.

The water agencies that get their water from the project — which include the country’s largest water provider — are challenging it in court, saying the terms of the permit would increase their costs by $22 million annually.

California, 15 Other States Sue Over New Rule Diluting Protections for Nation’s Waterways

A coalition of 16 states led by California and New York sued the Trump administration Friday over a law that eliminated Obama-era protections for wetlands and streams across the United States.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, accuses President Trump and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of illegally exposing waterways to pollution and development by rolling back a key provision of the Clean Water Act.