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Drinking Water Week (Part 2): The Undead Policies of California Water

by Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla and Tim Stroshane These are the undead ideas of California “water policy” today: A Delta Conveyance Project. New Dams and Reservoir Storage. Voluntary Agreements. Such ideas are put forward by the water industry—and few others—as “solutions” to California’s seeming chronic shortage of water.  These ideas have been defeated time and time again (statewide elections, regulatory-agency-forced-march attrition and rejection, change of governor). They are propped up like scarecrows by water industry investment of time, money, and expertise to keep them in their undead state. They keep returning, largely unwanted and unsupported, to menace the California public, especially when they learn the environmental and economic impacts of such projects. Both new storage and some form of Delta conveyance have [...]

Drinking Water Week (Part 1): The Return of the Same Old Drought

By Tim StroshaneIt is Drinking Water Week, according to the American Water Works Association and the Delta Stewardship Council. When not paying attention to the ever-present and necessary news about the novel coronavirus pandemic spreading COVID-19 disease, in the middle of March we began hearing about California re-entering drought. (Courthouse News Service and Los Angeles Times.)So this week seems like a good time to talk about California droughts past and present, and how we can protect drinking water for all—especially customers drinking water from small water suppliers and in rural communities of our state.Drought now joins pandemic and murder hornets in a rather apocalyptic 2020. The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) checked its Sierra snowfields on April 30th and found that snowpack [...]

We’ve Been Busy

Dear friends, The State of California went into Shelter-In-Place for the COVID19 pandemic on March 19, 2020. Despite sheltering in place, Restore the Delta has been working hard from our respective bunkers.  As our annual fundraising benefit and other contributor benefits have been postponed indefinitely, we are humbly asking our supporters for immediate contributions so that we can continue our Delta advocacy. Please support our on-line midyear mailer. We know the economy is tight for everyone; we are hoping for a large number of smaller donations so that we are not asking too much of any individuals or groups.Delta project and water planning processes have been deemed as essential by the state, but our funding opportunities have been greatly curtailed. While we are [...]

ICYMI: CA Water is a Mess – Views from Experts 5/3/20

Messy Voluntary AgreementsGrand compromise on California water wars in disarray. Newsom faces multiple lawsuits this week – Dale Kasler, Sacramento Bee 4/29/20“Now, Newsom’s own operations plan for the Delta is drawing fire from environmentalists and water users alike. And the voluntary settlement agreement – a far-reaching water-sharing effort brokered by former Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration – appears to be falling apart.Jennifer Pierre of the State Water Contractors said Newsom’s plan for the Delta “effectively ends the historic Voluntary Agreement process that brought together water agencies, regulators and conservation groups to tackle decades-old water resource problems.” Delta stakeholder group provides history of Delta water quality planning and expresses their concerns over the voluntary agreements – Mavens 4/30/20 The wonderful Maven’s Notebook (go donate) [...]

ICYMI – Day #2 Happy Lawsuit Season

With all the lawsuits flying back and forth, we just had to get in on the action!– BarbaraFor Immediate Release, April 29, 2020 Contact:Jeff Miller, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 499-9185, [email protected] Wright, Sierra Club, (916) 873-5258, [email protected] Lawsuit Challenges California’s Failure to Address State Water Project’s Threat to Bay Delta, Salmon Runs SAN FRANCISCO— Four environmental groups sued the California Department of Water Resources today over its approval of the long-term operation of the State Water Project, the massive system of dams, pumps and aqueducts responsible for siphoning water from Northern California to Southern California. The project approval also failed to analyze the environmental harms of building a new diversion tunnel to send water south. Today’s lawsuit, brought by the [...]

ICYMI: CA Water News 4/29/20 Lawsuit Season Begins!

Central Valley Project contractors file lawsuit against the state – Maven’s 4/28/20 “[Tuesday] a coalition of water providers filed suit to protect the Central Valley Project (CVP) and the farms, businesses, residents and wildlife refuges it serves in 17 California counties. … the State of California recently filed suit challenging the operations of the CVP and now, through its Incidental Take Permit (ITP), the State could further limit the ability of the CVP to deliver water to its customers.  Tim Stroshane, policy analyst for Restore the Delta said: “Desperate times are leading to desperate measures from state and federal water contractors. They want as few rules as possible over their dream of a water transfer market sluiced by the proposed Delta tunnel [...]

RTD Applauds State Legal Action Against Trump’s Water Plan

For Immediate Release: 4/23/20Contact: Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta, 209-479-2053, [email protected] Stockton, CA – On Earth Day 4/22/20, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed new documents in the State’s ongoing legal action seeking to overturn the Trump Administration’s new biological opinions for federal water pump operations in the San Francisco Bay-Delta.The Trump biological opinions are the result of an administration intent on weakening the protections required by existing biological opinions.The court documents filed yesterday are: An amended complaint, which adds claims that the Bureau of Reclamation’s operations of the CVP violate the Endangered Species Act and violate the California Endangered Species act;A motion for a preliminary injunction, asking the Court to limit pumping next month to the levels required by the 2008 and 2009 biological opinions, rather than [...]

Thank You, Webinar, Comments

Dear Restore the Delta Friends,Thank you, thank you, thank you.  We have a number of retirees/older supporters from throughout the state who care about sound water policy planning and good government.  You  stepped up to the plate as we asked during our last webinar and wrote comments, helping our Delta communities which are stretched thin during the pandemic.  We are so grateful to all of you.Our NGO and local government partners did a great job with comments, and we will be posting and sharing those in the days to come.Today, we are happy to report that two groups of future water leaders in the Delta stepped up, despite the challenges during the pandemic.  We would like our followers to read [...]

In Case You Missed It: Our Earth Day Webinar + Drought News

Please join us for another in our popular webinar series on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 at 11 am. On the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, our presenters will examine the legacy of this important day and our online guru will teach you about latest strategies for effective movement building, even in a time of social distancing.  The webinar will include the history of Earth Day, the importance of digital activism, and how to increase awareness and activism through one’s digital presence. Register for this webinar here.Did you miss our last webinar on Voluntary Settlement Agreements? We recorded it and you can watch it here.  California, rest of the West sinking into a rare mega-drought, scientists say – San Francisco Chronicle, April 16, 2020“California’s crushing five-year drought [...]

Delta Flows: Fields of Lettuce Rot as Food Banks Grow Desperate

We were so sorry to hear that John Harris, longtime Delta Tunnel and water export advocate, farmer, and owner of the seventh largest beef-processer in the USA, couldn’t sell his lettuce after COVID19 disrupted the market for restaurant purchases. According to the Fresno Bee this week… “Longtime farmer John Harris, of Harris Farms, was growing 204 acres of lettuce for Salinas-based Taylor Farms, one of the giants in the industry. But that all changed when the restaurants they supply turned off their stoves. Last week, Harris’ workers plowed under nearly 13 acres of fresh lettuce that had nowhere else to go.” Rather than donate this food to desperate food banks facing lines of cars miles long, Harris plowed the food back into the earth. Why?Because…“For many farmers, [...]