EPA Announces No Safe Level for Two PFAS and $1 Billion in Funding

On June 15, 2022, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new health advisories for four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The health advisories significantly lowered the level considered safe to consume for two PFAS and set limits for two new PFAS. At the same time, EPA announced it was making $1 billion available in grant funding to help communities address PFAS contamination.

PFAS have been dubbed “forever chemicals” because they tend to linger in the environment and humans rather than naturally breaking down. There are dozens of different types ...

California Announces New Emergency Drought Regulations

On May 24, 2022, the California State Water Resources Control Board announced emergency drought restrictions resulting from Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-7-22. The regulations are the latest in a series of attempts by the state to deal with the ongoing severe drought. The regulations cover two areas: a ban on irrigating non-functional turf and a requirement that urban water suppliers implement the Level 2 demand reduction actions in their water shortage contingency plan. …

Poseidon Water’s Coastal Commission Application Denied – Setting Up an Uncertain Future for Desalination

On May 12, 2022, at the conclusion of a 10-hour hearing, the California Coastal Commission voted to deny Poseidon Water’s application to site and operate a desalination plant in Huntington Beach, in what could be a fatal blow for a project that has been debated for more than 20 years.

The Coastal Commission’s vote was unanimous, 11-0, in agreeing with the staff report’s recommendation to reject Poseidon Water’s application. The staff report recommended denial “due to this project’s fundamental inconsistencies with Coastal Act and LCP policies related to coastal ...

Metropolitan Water District Announces Required Water Reductions Affecting up to Six Million Californians

At a board meeting on April 26, 2022, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (“the Met”) announced it would be requiring reductions in water usage from retail water suppliers that are dependent on water from the State Water Project. The reduction, which the Met took as a result of the severity of the state’s current drought, will apply to six million Californians covering Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties. The impacted retail water suppliers are Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Three Valleys Municipal Water District, Upper San Gabriel ...

How Can Science Help the Voluntary Agreements Succeed?

Recently, I authored a post for DeltaCurrents, the Center for California Water Resources Policy and Management's blog. The focus of the piece is on the ways in which science can play a role in the success of the so-called Voluntary Agreements (VAs). The VAs are an alternative to an adjudicatory water-rights proceeding as a means for the State Water Resources Control Board to implement updated water quality objectives for California’s Bay-Delta and its tributary rivers.

A number of federal, state, and local agencies took a significant first step toward negotiation of VAs by ...

Past, Present and Future: California Provides Insight on the Severity of the Drought and 2022 Guidance

The past few weeks have been active ones for California in assessing the severity of its current drought and how it plans to manage its water during the third year of that drought. On top of other, more localized action, California released its report on 2021 groundwater conditions, evaluated current snowpack conditions and Governor Newsom issued an executive order directing action affecting 2022 water usage.

2021 Groundwater Conditions Report

On April 4, 2022, the California Department of Water Resources (“DWR”) issued its Groundwater Conditions Report for Water Year 2021 ...

The New Endangered Species "Protection" Requirements for Steelhead Trout Will Impact Water Managers’ Options and Groundwater Sustainability Plans

Join us on March 29, 2022, when we will participate in the 2022 Annual AGWT-AGWA California Groundwater Issues Conference in Lakewood, CA, hosted by American Ground Water Trust and Association of Ground Water Agencies.

We will be providing a presentation entitled “The New Endangered Species ‘Protection’ Requirements for Steelhead Trout Will Impact Water Managers’ Options and Groundwater Sustainability Plans.” During this session, we will discuss how the new California endangered species listing will affect operations from Santa Maria, in the central ...

EPA Announces Regional WOTUS Roundtables

On February 24, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) announced the list of organizers selected for regional roundtables concerning the agencies’ rulemaking proceeding regarding the definition of the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act.  More information is available on the EPA's website.

In 2021, the EPA and Corps issued a proposed rule to reinstate the pre-2015 definition of waters of the U.S. and invited comments on the proposed rule, which parties submitted on February 7, 2022. 

The WOTUS ...

California Adopts First-in-the-Nation Microplastics Reduction Strategy

Last week, the Ocean Protection Council adopted California’s Statewide Microplastics Strategy. The strategy is the first of its kind in the nation, focusing on outlining steps to address microplastic pollution, an emerging contaminant of concern.

Microplastics are defined in California as plastics that are between one nanometer and five millimeters in size. Microplastics have long been a concern for marine life, but recently there has been an increase in concern about the impacts of ingesting microplastics on humans. California has led the nation in developing strategies to ...

Nossaman’s Water Law Group Dives into 2022 With Exciting New Developments!

As our Water Law Group continues to grow and provide expanded service and engagement opportunities for our clients, we are pleased to announce several recent developments within the group.

First, Alfred Smith, chair of Nossaman’s Water Law Group, was recently appointed to the board of the Water Education Foundation. Founded in 1977, the Foundation is a leading producer of news, maps, publications, workshops, tours and leadership programs to raise awareness of water issues in California and across the Colorado River Basin. In its press release, the Foundation noted that the new ...

California Water Views provides timely and insightful updates on the water sector in the state. We relay information on how water legislation and policy from the nation’s capital, Sacramento, and around the U.S. affect California’s water utilities, agencies, practitioners, and consumers.  We also write about important events, conferences, legal cases, and other key happenings involving all things water in and around California.

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