‘A foundation of racism’: California’s antiquated water rights system faces new scrutiny – LA Times 3/6/23
It’s an arcane system of water law that dates back to the birth of California — an era when 49ers used sluice boxes and water cannons to scour gold from Sierra Nevada foothills and when the state government promoted the extermination of Native people to make way for white settlers.
Today, this antiquated system of water rights still governs the use of the state’s supplies, but it is now drawing scrutiny like never before…
“We’re confronting 21st century climate change, drought and water supply problems with a 20th century system of California water infrastructure and a 19th century system of water rights, and that’s a problem,” said Frank, director of the California Environmental Law and Policy Center.
TUCP Petition for Reconsideration filed Monday – 3/6/23
The Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club California, San Francisco Baykeeper, Golden State Salmon Association, Save California Salmon, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Institute for Fisheries Resources, Defenders of Wildlife, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, the Bay Institute, and Restore the Delta have filed a petition the State Water Board to reconsider the Temporary Urgency Change Petition filed by the U.S. BuRec and CA DWR to waive requirements that the Central Valley Project and State Water Project Delta meet certain Delta water quality objectives.
The 2023 TUCP should be rescinded because: “…the Order will reduce the survival of juvenile winter-run Chinook salmon, Longfin Smelt, Delta Smelt, and reduce the viability of other aquatic organisms and productivity of the estuarine food web, causing irreparable environmental harm and loss of fish and wildlife beneficial uses…”
Restore the Delta files Comments on Delta Conveyance Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) – 3/6/23
A stated purpose of the Tunnel Project is to invest billions of dollars to maintain a status quo ante of water deliveries from the State Water Project and Central Valley Project. It does little to address climate adaptation in the Delta and fails to preserve through-Delta conveyance which both systems will continue needing if they are to operate as they do at present…
…we are deeply disappointed that the Army Corps dismissed and minimized the environmental, environmental justice, and quality of life impacts the DCP would impose on the communities in the Legal Delta and of the Delta Region as a whole….Even prior to experiencing operational impacts, Delta environmental justice communities would face over a decade of construction impacts to their health and quality of life.
California Tribes Submit Comments on Proposed Water Quality Standards Regulatory Revisions to Protect Tribal Reserved Rights – 3/6/23
We write in strong support of EPA’s recognition that tribal reserved rights may be impaired by water quality standards that fail to, for instance, ensure sufficient instream flows to protect native fisheries and other riparian resources. And we write in strong support of EPA’s efforts through the Proposed Rule to clarify its position that water quality standards must account for and protect tribal reserved rights, and to create a consistent process for effecting such protections. At the same time, as California tribes, and advocates for California tribes, that were cheated by the state and federal governments out of treaty reservations, we have significant concerns about the shortcomings of the Proposed Rule for many California tribes. We therefore also write to urge EPA to take a more expansive approach to protecting and promoting tribes’ beneficial uses and stewardship of water and riparian resources.