Media Alerts

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

PFirst, 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 [...]

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 [...]

In Case You Missed It: The Westlands permanent contract deal isn’t bad just for the Delta. More details on #BernhardtGate.

Neighboring water deal reeks of cronyism – Las Vegas Sun, 11/17/19 We are quoted in an editorial on Westlands in the Las Vegas Sun, which worries about implications for Nevada urban water users. “For decades, Nevada has fought to update the 1922-vintage Colorado River Compact so that our state can receive its fair allotment of water from the river.   Now comes news of a sketchy water deal in California that should spur us into action.  The Department of the Interior is proposing to award a highly coveted water supply contract to California’s Westlands Water District, which Interior Secretary David Bernhardt previously represented as a lobbyist. “Westlands Water District has used its outsized influence with Secretary Bernhardt to jump over other [...]

In Case You Missed It: LA Times Editorial Board Gets It Right 11/12/19

“Dead dogs and toxic fish: Welcome to Stockton, a city choking on California water policy” – The Los Angeles Times, 11/12/19 The #LATimes Editorial Board knocks it out of the park with an editorial that gets at what the Trump water plan and Newsom Voluntary agreements mean for the Delta’s largest city, Stockton, and the Delta’s environmental justice communities.  To read the editorial in full, click here.  “…it’s not only the fish, fishing industry, the orcas and the ecosystem that are in jeopardy. “It is also the people of Stockton and those other communities up and down the river that live or die on the flow of water through their cities. It is the heart of California, sacrificed for more politically connected areas. It [...]

ICYMI – More on #BernhardtGate

Interior Chief’s Lobbying Past Has Challenged the Agency’s Ethics Referees – The New York Times, 11/9/19 New York Times Coral Davenport writes on how Secretary Bernhardt works to skirt around conflict of interest laws on behalf of Westlands Water District.   “At the center of many ethics issues is Westlands, a state entity created at the behest of, and largely controlled by, some of California’s wealthiest and most politically influential farmers. It is also the state’s largest agricultural water user, and for years it has lobbied lawmakers to weaken environmental rules to in an effort to get more irrigation water. Last month, the Interior Department granted Westlands the policy victory it had long sought, with the release of a new plan that would lift protections on [...]

ICYMI – Sunday Morning Roundup 11/10/19

Interior nears a contract with a company its secretary used to lobby for – Roll Call 11/8/19  “California has a limited water resource and water is going to become more and more scarce with climate change. Westlands Water District has used its outsized influence with Secretary Bernhardt to jump over other people to acquire water rights and guarantees that they shouldn’t get like this,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of California water conservation group Restore the Delta. “Bernhardt is like Santa Claus, handing out goodies to his former client.”   Read more here. Watch our new video: Harmful Algal Blooms in the SF Bay-Delta Estuary: Causes and Solutions. Available here on YouTube now. Let’s end this list with some good news. People [...]