Delta Flows: Monitoring for the Bay-Delta Estuary on Multiple Fronts

Before we continue with the blog below, we want to thank our contributors who have helped us keep this vitally important work for the estuary going. This weekend is the 15th anniversary and start of the 16th year of work by Restore the Delta! If you have been busy this summer and unable to contribute to Our Living Delta, it’s not too late. Click her to make a contribution.  As you read this blog, you will see that we are busier than ever working to protect the estuary that we all love.CEQA Reform Bill UpdateA number of our followers were in touch with us quickly after our last alert asking for a bill number for the CEQA Reform Bill in the California legislature and [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

ICYMI – George Miller Speaks, COVID19 and the Delta

This weekend, California’s environmental hero Congressman George Miller (ret.) explains what a coherent policy for California Water including dealing with Harmful Algal Blooms in the Delta and a flood plan for Stockton. What Gov. Gavin Newsom needs to do to protect state’s water future – George Miller, SF Chronicle “Today, responding to a global pandemic is every governor’s top priority. When we emerge from this crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom will face a challenge to ensure California’s future economic and environmental health. In this context, his water policies will represent critical decisions…. “The governor’s suit to block that plan is a good first step. The governor should now direct the state water board to set strong flow standards for the bay-delta ecosystem, [...]

Delta Flows: Transparency Does Not Occur By Declaring Transparency; It Takes Intentional Action

By: Barbara Barrigan-ParrillaThis Delta Flows is brief.  This is what is happening in state and federal water processes during COVID19. We are not pleased with what we are seeing and hearing. But we don’t want to run alerts on our Governor who has more than a full plate, and who is handling the pandemic admirably.  We, however, believe that the California Natural Resources Department and the Department of Water Resources need to hear from all of us, as well as our US Senators and Congressional Representatives.  They need to know what the public expects from them during the pandemic and to understand that transparency is not just a buzzword.  1) DWR will not suspend public processes around tunnel planning as we respectfully demanded.  Please remember [...]

Restore the Delta Submits Comments on Delta Conveyance

How to send your commentsWe hope everyone has heard, the Delta Conveyance Project Scoping comment period has been extended to April 17, 2020, at 5:00 PM. This gives everyone more time to submit their comments regarding the tunnel project.How to Comment:Email: [email protected] Mail: Department of Water Resources, Attn: Renee Rodriguez, P.O. Box 942836, Sacramento, CA 94236 Fillable online form: View formThe NOP and related availability and informational materials can be viewed online or at one of these locations. Comments must be received electronically or postmarked on or before April 17, 2020.Here are the Comments Restore the Delta submitted this week. View the PDF here.Via email: [email protected] March 20, 2020 Delta Conveyance Scoping CommentsAttn: Renee RodriguezCalifornia Department of Water ResourcesP.O. Box 942836Sacramento CA  94236 Subject: Delta Conveyance Scoping Comments Dear Ms. Rodriguez: Restore the Delta [...]

Delta Flows: Shutting down Anderson Dam

by Tim Stroshane, Policy Analyst, Restore the Delta It was alarming, hardball news to hear yesterday that Leroy Anderson Dam—which holds back Silicon Valley’s Anderson Reservoir—is considered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC, a federal dam regulatory) so seismically unsafe that its owner, the Santa Clara Valley Water District , must drain it to the last drop by October 1 this year. FERC viewed the District (“Valley Water”) as having slow-walked its response to seismic safety concerns, according to the San Jose Mercury News. Anderson Dam is underlain by channel sediments that could liquefy and undermine the dam’s foundation in good-sized (say, magnitude 6.6) earthquake nearby.  The Calaveras Fault is very close by. In 1984, I felt a 6.2 magnitude quake from [...]

Delta Flows: The Trump-Newsom, Newsom-Trump Water Plan for the Delta

By our Executive Director, Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla One of Restore the Delta’s primary functions has been to rally people to advocate for comprehensive policies that would be protective of water quality and quantity for the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary.For years, meeting that objective included fighting the Schwarzenegger and Brown Administrations’ various conveyance projects ending with the twin tunnels.A Moment of Hope and Collaboration During the last year, with a brief respite in tunnel planning, we were able to begin working on plans for greater overall environmental protections for the region. We created a comprehensive analysis of the flood threat to the Delta and made sound, researched recommendations to the Newsom Administration about next steps for dealing with climate change impacts manifesting [...]