Opinion: Water Rights Reformers Scored Only a Minor Victory in the Legislature

A centerpiece of California’s perpetual political and legal wrangling over allocation of water is the complex array of rights that stretch back to the earliest years of statehood in the 19th century.

Simply put, those who claimed water before 1914, when the state assumed legal control, have “senior rights” that traditionally have entitled them to virtually unlimited supplies even when other users face cutbacks during drought.

The EPA is Investigating How California Manages its Water Following Complaints from Tribes

President Joe Biden’s administration has agreed to investigate how California manages its water after some Native American tribes and environmental groups complained the state’s policies are “rooted in white supremacy.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced last week it would investigate the California State Water Resources Control Board.

Opinion: Water Rights Bills Would Jeopardize Water Reliability

Bills in the state Legislature would give increased authority to the California State Water Resources Control Board and could impact historic water rights and threaten water supplies for farming. Dangerous water rights reform bills that put the interests of the few over the interests of the many are moving through the California Legislature.

Opinion: California Water Rights at Risk as Three Legislative Proposals Advance

When California imposed its first-ever regulation on the extraction of water from underground aquifers in 2014, it gave environmental groups a landmark victory in their decades-long effort to overhaul water use laws.

It was also a political setback for farmers, who are California’s major water users and have depended on wells to irrigate their crops as increasingly frequent droughts reduce surface water in rivers and reservoirs.

Opinion: The Fight Over the Colorado River is a 100-Year-Old Interstate Grudge Match

Arizona was girding for war with California over the Colorado River.

The year was 1934 and the place was the construction site of Parker Dam, downstream from the nearly completed Hoover Dam.

Arizona Gov. Benjamin Baker Moeur, irked that a federally approved interstate compact had awarded California more water from the Colorado than he thought it deserved, dispatched a squad of National Guard troops to the river on a ferryboat to block the new dam’s construction.

California Fires Back at Other Western States With Its Own Colorado River Plan

Dueling plans for how to save the fast-drying Colorado River have been submitted by California and six other states to federal authorities, who have made clear they may impose draconian cuts if consensus is not reached regionally on deep reductions. That agreement could be hard to come by.

California swung hard at six other Western states late Tuesday, submitting its own proposal for more than 3 million acre feet in reductions — both from current and future agreements — if necessary from the river’s dwindling reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead.