Political polarization has gotten to the point where there would be immediate denunciations if the President issued a proclamation honoring apple pie. Another intrusion into consumer choice, besmirching those who prefer cherry and pumpkin! Another blatant overreach by an out-of-control, incipient tyrant! Not only is every executive action accompanied by loud resistance, but the same explosion of […]
State Farmers Planting New Almond Orchards Despite Critical Water Shortages
Traveling through California’s drought-striken San Joaquin Valley repeatedly over the past year, I’ve been surprised and disheartened to see that Valley farmers continue to convert their agricultural fields to newly-planted almond orchards. (My anecdotal observations have been confirmed by various recent press accounts.) This development is a striking, current example of Garrett Hardin’s Tragedy of […]
Court Rules Water Board's Administrative Process Violates Water Users' Due Process Rights
A Sacramento judge has thrown a wrench into the California State Water Resources Control Board’s efforts to impose water cutbacks on several of the state’s senior water rights holders. In a July 10th order, Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne Chang ruled that the Water Board’s administrative process, designed to implement drought-based water reductions, violates the due […]
A new article suggests river corridors could leverage existing policies to build habitat connectivity
As we try to protect biological diversity for the future, a perpetual challenge is ensuring that the strategies we adopt today will continue to work in the face of changing conditions. How can we design conservation approaches that will be resilient in the face of environmental challenges that will only become more severe in coming years? […]
A proposal to modernize information for management of water resources
In April, a group of us (Richard Roos-Collins, Michael Kiparsky, Nell Green Nylen, Michael Hanemann, and Holly Doremus) wrote a document arguing for the need to develop a more complete and functional source of legal information on California’s water rights. Since then, this proposal has been circulated widely among the California water community. In the spirit of […]
Does the Court's Decision in the Raisin Case Imperil Water Management?
When I first read Rick’s writeup of the Supreme Court’s decision in USDA v. Horne, concerning the federal government’s Depression-era system of “marketing orders” that required farmers to set aside a percentage of their raisin crop in a government-controlled account, I was worried about water. And that’s not just because I always worry about water. Horne turned on […]
Republicans are using the drought as an argument for CEQA exemptions
One thing that the deep drought in California has prompted is more discussion of water storage projects like dams. Part of that discussion has been arguments that environmental review pursuant to CEQA should be “streamlined” for water storage projects. A bill to streamline environmental review for two dam projects died in the Assembly this year. […]
Roberts virtually bemoaned the lack of a rulemaking. Now he's got what he wanted.
The government issued a long-awaited Waters of the United States rule (WOTUS for short). No doubt there will be much gnashing of teeth about the issuance of the rule — a very safe bet since the gnashers of teeth got going long before the rule was actually issued. But one person who should be happy […]
How Should Individuals Decide How Much Water to Use?
Last week’s rain in southern California will hardly make a dent in the state’s devastating drought, and it raises an important question for individual consumers: exactly how should we decide how much water to use? There are obvious things: don’t hose down your driveway, take shorter showers, do full loads in the washer. But there […]
New Lawsuit Claims Dam and Reservoir in Yosemite National Park Violate California Constitution
This week, the longstanding battle over the dam and reservoir that have for a century flooded Yosemite National Park’s storied Hetch Hetchy Valley moves to the courts. A new lawsuit, filed by conservationists on the 177th anniversary of John Muir’s birth, asserts that the City of San Francisco’s continued operation of O’Shaughnessy Dam and Hetch Hetchy Reservoir […]