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ICYMI 12/10/19 – Pumping Rules, Water Markets, Delta Fishery Management Hearing

First, two smart takes from Dr. Delta Water Economics, Jeff Michael of the University of the Pacific on Valley Economy Blog 12/9/19Water Supply Reliability Out, Endangered Species Killing Incentives In With New Federal/State Delta Pumping Rules“Water exporters are praising the new rules for their use of real-time operations, as opposed to the old rules that were “calendar based.”  It’s great PR messaging, but lousy policy.  The message appeals on the surface – new rules are modern and with high-tech real time adjustments, while the old-rules are primitive and based on calendars.  Good political messaging, but I would argue that it does not conform to the best available social science and policy design as it reduces water supply reliability and generates strong incentives [...]

RTD UPDATE: 12/06/19 Outcome of Selenium Drainage Permit Hearing at CVRWQB

Yesterday, Delta community members from Restore the Delta, Little Manila Rising, With Our Words, and LGBT+, Social Justice, and neighborhood groups, along with California Striped Bass, Save California Salmon, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Sierra Club California, and Planning and Conservation League achieved a better outcome than anticipated at the Central Valley Regional Water Board. It was not perfect. A selenium discharge permit was granted; however, it will be reopened for reconsideration in two years when more data on selenium discharge becomes available. We got this better result because our coalition of speakers — teenagers to seventy-year-olds — had facts, history, and the truth on their side.Will groups appeal the decision? Most likely yes. However, we were heard and [...]

URGENT: Send a written comment or attend the hearing on Selenium pollution this Thursday.

Friends,It is wrong for the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board to allow 25 years of  poisonous selenium discharge into the Delta.  Here’s how you can help.Join us at December 5, 2019 at 10 am (note the new time)  at the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board to take action! If you cannot attend, you can send a note to @[email protected]  In your note, or prepared comments to make at the Central Valley Water Board, you should explain why you object to selenium laden drainage water being discharged in Delta waterways for people, fisheries, and/or wildlife.  You should explain why the San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority (which includes Westlands and the Grasslands Water District) should not be allowed to continue to irrigate on polluted lands with taxpayer [...]

Today is #GivingTuesday and we need your help.

Dear friends, As we reflect on all that has happened regarding government planning and initiatives for the Delta in 2019, we think it is time to reflect on what has brought about positive social, economic, and environmental change in the history of the United States. Successful movements include tactics centered on protest, litigation, legislation, and negotiation. During Restore the Delta’s history fourteen-year history, good governance of the Delta and sustainable water policies to lessen dependence on the Delta have been our goals from which we have never strayed. We switch tactics as necessary so that we can advance our goal of a healthy, restored San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary for all of California. But our commitment to saving the Delta so that today’s [...]

Deep Dive: California Water Policy Challenges in 2020

by Tim Stroshane, policy analyst, Restore the DeltaWhile engaging with the Newsom Administration’s “water resilience portfolio” process and the governor’s “single-tunnel option,” we at Restore the Delta kept our eyes on the bigger picture. That picture includes a climate emergency: all bets are off on a stable climate moving forward decades and even centuries. That picture includes the health, well-being, and social and economic prospects of the Delta’s environmental justice communities.  The big picture also, sadly, includes a “single-tunnel option” for diverting water from the Delta. That proposal has new moving parts, each of which mesh into a power play by San Joaquin Valley growers and their water agencies to control California’s water future. With prospects of desiccating heat, fires, [...]

Action Alert: NO POISONED LANDS POLLUTION PERMIT. NO WESTLANDS CONTRACT. Stop selenium discharge into the Delta!

Friends,It is time to protect our drinking water, to retire California’s poisoned lands and to put the water back in our rivers. Join our organizing partner Save California Salmon and Restore the Delta on December 5, 2019 at 9 am at the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board to take action!If you live in the Bay, the Delta, or along the San Joaquin River you might be exposed to selenium and other toxins from California’s poisoned, drainage impaired lands through consuming fish. Selenium can accumulate over time in water supplies.  A permit is at stake to allow for this contaminated discharge to continue. Click here to read a Restore the Delta and Stockton area coalition letter on the problems with selenium discharge for our local communities.  Attend [...]

ICYMI – Reactions to State Action on Trump ESA BiOps 11/22/19

First, a note from Barbara…So our members are clear, the outcome of the Newsom Administration’s announcement yesterday is not good. Yes, they are going to fight the Trump administration on rollbacks to the Delta. For that we are grateful.However, their plan for the Delta is just a little less bad than the Trump plan and increases water exports by another 300,000 acre-feet roughly, despite the Delta Reform Act calling for reduced reliance on the Delta. It weakens fishery protections as well.California Takes Action Against Trump ESA Rollbacks Restore the Delta response – Restore the Delta 11/21/19“We thank Governor Newsom, Secretary Crowfoot and Secretary Blumenfield for taking our concerns seriously. As always we will read newly released documents by the state for the State Water [...]

California Takes Action Against Trump ESA Rollbacks Restore the Delta response

For Immediate Release: 11/21/19 Contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta 209-479-2053, [email protected]  Stockton, CA – The State of California announced two actions today that will impact protections of California’s endangered species.The Department of Water Resources issued draft Environmental Impact Report today on the operation of the State Water Project.Agencies also announced intention to sue the federal government over the Trump Administration’s recent biological opinion that would increase the flow of water from federal water projects the SF Bay-Delta to corporate agriculture interests, despite impacts on endangered species like salmon.Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta said:“We are happy to hear that the California Natural Resources Agency has determined that operating rules for the Federal water project are not scientifically adequate and that the state [...]

OP-ED: Newsom must stop the Westlands water grab!

Newsom must stop the Westlands water grab and save the San Francisco Bay-Deltaby Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Special to CalMatters11/20/2019 “Westlands is the 800-pound gorilla in California water politics. Years ago, fearing its water supplies were decreasing, Westlands hired David Bernhardt and paid him more than $1 million to be their lobbyist. Now that Bernhardt has become Trump’s Secretary of the Interior, the Westlands plan is in full effect. “It took national news stories breaking about conflicts of interest between Interior Secretary Bernhardt and Westlands Water District for the Bureau of Reclamation to release a significant Westlands water delivery contract for public review. “Within this new contract, water deliveries for up to 1.15 million acre-feet annually will be made available for Westlands to meet [...]

In Case You Missed It: California Water News Update 11/19/19

Editorial: Californians must help kill sleazy Westlands water deal – Mercury and East Bay Times Editorial Boards 11/15/19 The Westlands Water District has engaged in some sleazy maneuvers over the years, but this one, which threatens the Bay Area’s water supply, tops them all.The Trump administration, led by Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt, is poised to give a massive quantity of cheap federal water to the Central Valley water district — the same district that paid Bernhardt’s firm $1.3 million over a five-year period for lobbying services before he took the Interior job.Californians should pressure the Bureau of Reclamation to kill a deal that puts the interests of wealthy, Big Ag businessmen ahead of the needs of current and future California residents who [...]