Water

It’s High Time to Ban “Monster Fracking” in California

Fracking consumes enormous amounts of water, pollutes aquifers & is contrary to our climate goals

Recently, the New York Times published an important and disturbing expose’ titled, “‘Monster Fracks’ Are Getting Far Bigger.  And Far Thirstier.”    The Times article focuses on the alarming intersection of three current environmental crises–water supply shortages, groundwater contamination, and excessive greenhouse gas emission levels–that threaten California and other states across the nation. Fracking (the shorthand …

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Recharge net metering (ReNeM) provides win-win-win for groundwater agency, landowners, & sustainable groundwater management

Nature Water publication showcases the economics of a novel groundwater recharge incentive structure

By Molly Bruce, Luke Sherman, Ellen Bruno, Andrew T. Fisher, & Michael Kiparsky An insidious issue has been growing along the Central Coast and throughout the state of California for decades: groundwater overdraft. In response to this growing threat and 2014 legislation designed to put an end to chronic overdraft, many basins have identified managed …

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One More Key Groundwater Bill Just Became Law

sprinklers going off

Gov. Newsom signs AB 779, which addresses inequities in California’s complicated groundwater adjudication process.

Earlier this week the San Francisco Chronicle declared that California’s legislative session would close with just a single bill addressing injustices in the state’s water rights system. Now you can add one more to the list. Gov. Newsom signed Assembly Bill 779 into law this week. It’s an important step to reforming the state’s murky—often …

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California Enacts Major Water Law Reform Legislation–But More Changes Are Needed

California State Capitol Building (credit: Wikipedia)

New law explicitly authorizes State Water Board to require water users to verify their water rights

The California Legislature has enacted and Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed into law SB 389, an important water law reform measure authored by State Senator Ben Allen. California has one of the most antiquated and outdated water rights systems of any Western state.  To put it bluntly, California currently faces a 21st century water supply …

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An Important Groundwater Bill Lands on the Governor’s Desk

Guest Contributors Gabi Rosenfeld, Owen McAleer, and Adrianne Davies say AB 779, a bill they worked on with State Assemblymember Lori Wilson, will address inequities in groundwater adjudications.

Earlier this month, California’s Legislature passed a slate of bills that cover a range of environmental and climate issues. Among those was Assemblymember Lori Wilson’s AB 779, a bill we helped create to improve the groundwater adjudication process for all water users. Adjudications legally determine groundwater rights but can take years and cost millions of …

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Why is there a Carrot Boycott in Cuyama Valley?

Small farmers and rural residents are calling for a boycott against Bolthouse and Grimmway Farms. Here’s what it says about California’s effort to manage groundwater.

When California lawmakers enacted the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in 2014, it was an effort to tame the wild, wild west of water. Nearly a decade later, there’s been some progress creating local sustainability plans, but Big Ag corporations are still hogging water and bullying smaller groundwater users. Look no further than the fight heating …

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Bowing to the Inevitable

The Supreme Court declared open season on the nation’s streams and wetlands. New regs are the result.

On August 25, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers (“the agencies”) issued a joint rule, which modifies their previous rule on federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act in order to conform with the Supreme Court’s Sackett decision. Sackett was a deeply misguided and harmful ruling — but it is nevertheless the law.  The …

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After Sackett: A Multi-Prong Strategy

The Supreme Court’s wetlands opinion was terrible. Now what we do?

The Supreme Court’s opinion in the Sackett case dramatically curtails the permitting program covering wetlands.  We urgently need to find strategies for saving the wetlands the Court left unprotected.  We have a number of possible strategies and need to start work on implementing them immediately. Sackett was unquestionably a major blow, reducing federal jurisdiction over …

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Having the Fox Guard the Henhouse?

Delegating Environmental Reviews to Project Sponsors

One of the most important provisions, of the new NEPA law, § 107(f), allows the lead agency to delegate preparation of environmental reviews to project applicants. There are unsettled questions about when this provision applies and how it interfaces with other parts of NEPA. There are clear conflicts of interest in assigning this role to …

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UCLA Clinic Submits Amicus Brief in Water Rate Design Case

A trial court decision invalidated the City of San Diego’s tiered water rates. This amicus brief by the Environmental Law Clinic on behalf of California Coastkeeper Alliance and Los Angeles Waterkeeper argues a reversal is needed to pursue conservation and equity.

Court challenges to the use of tiered water rates in California are threatening the state’s own water conservation and affordability goals. That’s what’s at stake in a case called Patz v. City of San Diego.   Climate change is intensifying California’s hydrologic variability and exacerbating the state’s water supply challenges. Dwindling water supplies have led …

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