Trump Administration Unveils New Clean Water Act Rules. California Could See Big Impact

The Trump administration on Thursday revealed an overhaul of the Clean Water Act that could remove federal protections for waterways around the country, including as many as two-thirds of those in California.

The arid West, where intermittent rainfall often flows through arroyos and washes, could be especially impacted by the rollback of federal jurisdiction, as the new “Navigable Waters Protection Rule” will remove federal oversight from ephemeral waterways created by rain or snow.

About 66% of California’s waterways are ephemeral or intermittent, according to the government’s own reports that were used in formulating earlier Clean Water Act rules. That number rises to 81%  around the entire Southwest, including 94% of Arizona’s watercourses.