California decision makers focused on responding to the current drought might question whether stormwater deserves a slice of their attention right now. Although it might be tempting to relegate stormwater planning, management decisions, and infrastructure improvements to a back burner until drought concerns cool off, doing so would be counterproductive. Below, I explain why stormwater management is relevant […]
Severe Reduction in Sierra Snowpack Another Sign That State's Worst Drought Just Gets Worse
January 2015 ends with a most dubious distinction: it’s been the driest January in recorded California history. That’s especially bad news, considering that January has traditionally been the wettest month of the year in the Golden State. According to National Weather Service and California Department of Water Resources (DWR) statistics, the alarming precipitation figures for Northern […]
Students From Six Northern California Law Schools Collaborate in a Big and Unconventional Way
The 11th Annual Water Law Symposium was held last weekend at Golden Gate University Law School in San Francisco. The event drew a standing-room-only crowd of water law scholars, practitioners and policymakers, who devoted the day to a thoughtful and lively examination of how California’s constitutional law doctrine of reasonable use affects all facets of […]
Using the Clean Water Act to Control Marine Debris in California
This post is cross-posted on EcoPerspectives, the environmental law and policy blog of the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law. Let’s talk trash. Human-generated stuff that ends up in the ocean, termed “marine debris” or “marine trash,” presents a critical ocean and coastal management challenge. Trash can be found on coastlines and in seawater worldwide, from […]
EPA will improve new disposal sites for coal ash, but will have limited effect on old ones.
Exactly six years ago today, a dike ruptured near Kingston, Tennessee, dumping into the Clinch River some 1.1 billion gallons of coal ash slurry — or to use the more technical term, coal combustion residue. Last Friday, EPA issued a new regulation to deal with the issue. The rule is intended to protect groundwater from leaching from the ponds, […]
Symposium in Sacramento, November 17
Please join us as the UC Berkeley School of Law, with stakeholders in the Mono Lake Cases, convenes a symposium in Sacramento on November 17, 2014, to mark the 20th anniversary of the State Water Resources Control Board’s Decision 1631. Panel presentations feature an cast of thought leaders, including: Marty Adams (Los Angeles Department of Water […]
What are the major deadlines for local groundwater management agencies, and when can—or must—state agencies act?
Many (including Legal Planet’s own Rick Frank) have examined the pros and cons of California’s new locally-focused groundwater management law. Such analyses will continue to be critically important as state and local players move forward with the nitty-gritty of actual implementation, and the legislation’s practical, on-the-ground (and under-the-ground) implications become clearer. In this post, however, my goal […]
New State Groundwater Legislation a Key Step Forward, But No Immediate Fix or Long-Term Panacea
The California Legislature, in the waning hours of its 2014 session, enacted legislation creating a first-ever statewide system of groundwater management. The three-bill package (SB 1168 [Pavley]; SB 1319 [Pavley]; and AB 1719 [Dickinson]) is expected to be signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown before the end of this month, and will take […]
Where Do Property Rights Come From?
Although it is never fun to do new class preparation, I like teaching new classes because it forces me gives me the opportunity to learn new material and new areas of law. So it is this semester, when I will teach water law for the first time. In this case, not only have I learned […]
The Public Trust Doctrine Gives California Regulators the Authority to Monitor Groundwater Pumping
A couple of weeks ago, Rick reported that California might finally be ready to institute some form of statewide groundwater regulation. (The original California Water Act regulating surface water is now more than 100 years old, and when it was enacted, many observers thought that groundwater regulation was just around the corner: hey, what’s a century […]