State Water Resources Control Board

California Adopts New, Welcome Wetlands Protection Rules

State Fills Void Left By Trump Administration’s Weakening of Federal Wetlands Standards

This week California’s State Water Resources Control Board adopted important new rules to protect the state’s remaining wetlands resources.  Enacted after over a decade of Board hearings, workshops and deliberation, those rules are overdue, welcome and critically necessary.  Their adoption is particularly timely now, given the Trump Administration’s wholesale assault on and erosion of federal …

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California and Other Western States See Barriers to Protecting Streams

A new report highlights twelve western states’ efforts to restore stream flows using environmental water transfers

Unnaturally low flows in rivers and streams throughout the western United States have threatened fish and other aquatic species for decades. But restoring flows has proved a significant and complex challenge. A recent report prepared for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation by Stanford University’s Water in the West Program documents twelve western states’ efforts …

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Sacramento Judge Halts California Regulator’s Efforts to Impose Water Cutbacks

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 …

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A Water Rights Database For California’s Future

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 …

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Rain-Free January Portends Continued California Drought of Increased Severity

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 …

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California’s New Groundwater Law: An Interactive Timeline

Groundwater irrigation

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 …

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Is California Finally Ready to Get Serious About Groundwater Reform?

Prospects Good for Passage of Landmark Groundwater Legislation

California, which prides itself as being a national and international leader in so many areas of environmental policy, lags woefully behind other jurisdictions when it comes to at least one subject area: groundwater regulation.  Alone among the Western states in the U.S., California lacks any statewide system of groundwater regulation and planning.  (Until a few …

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California Court Upholds State Water Board’s Broad Authority to Ban Unreasonable Uses of Water

Ruling is Especially Timely, Given California’s Ongoing and Severe Drought Conditions

I recently wrote about a then-pending court case in which California grape growers were challenging the State Water Resources Control Board’s limits on the growers’ diversion of water from California rivers and streams to provide frost protection for their grapes.  That litigation is important because it goes to the heart of the Board’s authority under …

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Delta news roundup

It’s been a busy and discouraging ten days for those interested in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as either an ecosystem or a water source. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the return of fall chinook salmon to the Sacramento River hit a record low last year. The Pacific Fishery Management Council released a gloomy preseason …

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A smorgasbord of smelt and salmon news

There have been several developments in the Delta water saga since I posted on the request for relief from water quality standards submitted by the state Department of Water Resources and federal Bureau of Reclamation, and the potential for conflict between the water needs of smelt and of salmon.

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