Water Policy


Who's to Blame for Oil Waste in Californians' Drinking Water?

By Briana Mordick

Natural Resources Defense Council

New information from the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) reveals that decades of poor record-keeping, lax oversight, and - in some cases - outright defiance of the law has allowed oil and gas operators to inject potentially toxic oil and gas wastewater into federally protected drinking water aquifers.

Tunnel Critics Urge Brown To Inaugurate a New Water Solution

By Dan Bacher

In his inaugural address Monday at the State Capitol in Sacramento, Governor Jerry Brown made two references to California water as he discussed an array of issues. These included repaying the state's debt, funding education, promoting renewable energy and efficiency, addressing climate change, expanding health care, and dealing with changes in the criminal justice system.

He didn't specifically mention the peripheral tunnels proposed under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) during his talk, but he did tout the water bond and California Water Action Plan as "solutions" to California's water problems.

Agribusiness Welfare Makes Water "Scarce" In California

By George A. Miller

How would you like to have a 90-year, interest free mortgage, with no principle payments for the first 50 years? If you are fortunate enough to be one of more than 270 federal water contractors in California - that's the deal.

It has become gospel truth: "Water is a scarce resource in California." But the gospel is a deception sustained by years of governmental interference in the basic laws of supply and demand.

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.