‘Creative and Constructive’: Supervisors Advance Borrego Springs Water Rights

The Board of Supervisors Wednesday unanimously advanced a proposed ordinance amendment that would align county regulations with a court ruling in connection with water rights in the Borrego Springs community.

Supervisors also voted to find that the amended ordinance complies with state Environmental Quality Act guidelines. The supervisors will consider adopting the updated ordinance during a second reading, at their Oct. 11 meeting.

Biggest Players in Western Water Politics Gather at Politifest 2023

It’s been 20 years since the largest water agencies in Southern California agreed on a historic deal: San Diego would buy water from Imperial Valley farmers. More importantly, though, the deal outlined exactly how much water these agencies could claim from the Colorado River and reduced the amount of water California took from the river.

Opinion: Federal Court Hears Oral Arguments on Imperial Valley Farmers’ Claims to Colorado River Water

In what seems to be perennially Michael Abatti v. IID season in the courtroom, Judge Michael Anello of the Federal Southern District Court heard oral arguments from each side’s attorneys on Wednesday, June 6, in San Diego.

Mr. Abatti and 23 of his relatives and friends filed a lawsuit last June alleging that the IID’s new Equitable Distribution Plan violated their rights to water, deprived them of due process, and caused them economic harm.

Politics Report: The Real Reason the Water Agencies Are Fighting so Hard

Eleven years ago, when the San Diego County Water Authority was going through the final stages of approving what had, by that time, become a decade-long odyssey to create the first desalination plant on the West Coast, the agency made a prediction.

The IID’s Water Rights – a Balancing Act of Responsibility and Sustainability

Water is the lifeblood of civilizations, and the management of this precious resource has always been a challenging task. The Imperial Irrigation District (IID) holds a significant stake in water rights, playing a vital role in water distribution and agriculture. This essay delves into the history, challenges, and strategies employed by IID to manage water rights responsibly and sustainably.

Freeing Up Colorado River Water from California Farms Will Take More than Just Money, Just Ask the Farmers

Under the broiling hot sun of California’s Imperial Valley, a canal cuts the land in two. On one side, gravelly beige sand is dotted with scrub and shimmering waves of heat blur the mountains in the distance. On the other, sprawling fields of crops blanket the valley floor in a mat of bright green squares.

Opinion: Ending Mono Lake Diversions to Los Angeles Would Help the Environment but Hurt the Climate

California’s effort to secure water supplies is a struggle older than the state itself.

It played out during the Gold Rush, and it defines modern San Francisco and Los Angeles. It has created divisions between north and south as well as east and west.

A Racist Past and Hotter Future Are Testing Western Water Like Never Before

As droughts strain water supplies across Western states, some cities and farmers have struggled with mandatory cutbacks. Determining who gets cut is decided by the foundational pecking order of Western water: the older your claim to water, created as the country expanded westward, the better protected it is. When there’s a shortage, those with newer water rights have to cut back first, sometimes giving up their water completely before older claims lose a single drop.

‘Improvised, Spotty and Belated’: Will California Reform Its Oversight of Water Rights?

California’s complex system of water rights took shape starting in the mid-1800s, when settlers saw the state’s water as abundant and free for the taking — a time when a Gold Rush prospector could stake claim to river flows simply by nailing a notice to a tree.

Today, California’s oldest and most senior water rights — called riparian and pre-1914 rights — have been passed along to thousands of agricultural landowners, irrigation districts and urban water suppliers that claim control of roughly one-third of the water that is diverted from the state’s rivers and streams.

How California Averted Painful Water Cuts and Made a Colorado River Deal

 For months, California officials led by Gov. Gavin Newsom felt like they were at the bottom of a multistate dogpile in the closely-watched staredown over water rights across the American West.

Newsom and his top environmental aides viewed century-old laws as favoring them. And they tried to convince other states that California had already sacrificed by slashing its use.