Water Policy


Epic 500 Year Drought Exacerbated and Exaggerated by Water Officials

By Patrick Porgans

Water officials’ and scientists’ claims that the Golden State is in the grips of an epic 500 year drought is not supported by the facts. Government documents show back in January that this year’s drought was not the worst in 500 years.

“We are on track for having the worst drought in 500 years,” said B. Lynn Ingram, Paleoclimatologist, professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. That story was released on January 30. Although an effort was made to reach Ingram to ascertain the scientific data to support her contention, she has yet to respond.

Feinstein, Congressmen Request More Delta Water for Corporate Agribusiness

By Dan Bacher

Senator Dianne Feinstein and six San Joaquin Valley Congressmen on March 27 sent a letter to Interior Secretary Jewell and Commerce Secretary Pritzker requesting more Delta water for San Joaquin Valley corporate agribusiness interests, claiming that water exports wouldn't harm endangered Central Valley Chinook salmon, Delta smelt and other fish species.

"We are writing to urge you to immediately evaluate the operating criteria that govern the Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP) so that actions can be taken as soon as possible to capture the maximum amount of water from this week's storm in California," said Feinstein and Representatives Ken Calvert, Jim Costa, Jeff Denham, Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes and David Valadao.

Restore the Delta Calls for Investigation into Water Mismanagement

By Dan Bacher

As supporters of corporate agribusiness interests carried signs proclaiming "Food and People Before Fish" at a Congressional field hearing in Fresno, Restore the Delta (RTD) today called on the federal government to provide drought relief to Delta farmers and business owners and to investigate the mismanagement of water resources in California.

Apparently, the public relations folks who crafted the signs didn't understand the irony of the fact that salmon and other fish that depend on the Sacramento River and the Bay Delta Estuary provide food for millions of people in the state of California - and support thousands of jobs in a multi-billion dollar industry.

A 'Dry Day Fund' for California Farms

By Claire O'Connor

Natural Resources Defense Council

My grandfather, Art, is 82 years old. I’d say he’s been farming for about 80 years, give or take a few months. He’s supposedly “retired” now, but he’s still out in the field every day with my dad during planting and harvest season on our corn and soybean farm in Nebraska.

State Senators Mitchell and Leno Introduce Fracking Moratorium Bill

By Dan Bacher

State Senators Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) have introduced legislation that would impose a moratorium on fracking and acidization in order to protect California’s air and water from pollution caused by this dangerous form of oil and gas extraction.

The bill was introduced as California reels from a record drought and Governor Jerry Brown continues to support the expansion of fracking in California and the construction of the fish-killing peripheral tunnels under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).

An Alternative to Fracking & California's Drought Emergency

By Giulia C.S. Good Stefani

California is home to the popular-for-rafting Kern River, Big Sur sunsets, the endangered blunt-nosed leopard lizard, some of the world’s most important blue whale foraging habitat, strawberry valleys, rolling farms, cowboy towns, and big bustling cities. All of this is put at risk from the heavy industrial oil and gas extraction process called fracking.

California Can't Tunnel Its Way out of Drought Conditions

By Dan Bacher

On Tuesday, opponents of Governor Brown’s rush to build Peripheral Tunnels that would drain the Delta and doom salmon and other Pacific fisheries called the tunnels a flawed solution for a drought-plagued state. The experts criticized the tunnels as an outdated, inappropriate solution to California’s water challenges, one that would create no new water, be of no use in dry years, and drain $70 billion that could otherwise be spent on projects that create new water and increase regional water independence.

Brown's Tunnels Could Cost As Much As $67 Billion

By Dan Bacher

The total cost of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels could be as high as $67 billion, according to new figures revealed at a Westlands Water District board meeting last month by a Westlands staff member and a Citigroup bond consultant.

This new figure, with construction bond costs included in the total, counters the claims by Brown administration officials over the past two years that the plan would cost $24.5 billion during its 50-year implementation period.

In Paul Rogers' article in the San Jose Mercury News on December 26, Mark Cowin, director of the state Department of Water Resources, confirmed the estimates are accurate.

Governor's Bay Delta Conservation Plan Point Man Resigns

By Dan Bacher

Jerry Meral, Deputy Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency and Jerry Brown's point man for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels, announced his retirement from "state service," effective December 31.

The resignation was announced the day after over 400 people, including fishermen, Tribal leaders, farmers, Southern California water ratepayers, environmentalists and elected officials, rallied at the State Capitol in Sacramento against the proposed water export tunnels.

Restoring Fairness to the World of California Water

By Kate Poole

The Los Angeles Daily News penned a noteworthy editorial last week titled California is drowning in ancient and unfair water rules. It’s noteworthy because the editorial correctly debunks some of the common myths about California’s water system and, in doing so, points the way to several needed reforms:

Myth 1 – urban southern California is the biggest water hog in the state.