Draft EIR Released for Delta Conveyance Project

A key priority of the Newsom administration – the Delta Conveyance Project – has officially entered its next chapter. On July 22, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) released its draft environmental impact report (Draft EIR) for the Delta Conveyance Project.

The Delta Conveyance Project is DWR’s and Governor Newsom’s plan to build an underground tunnel to bring water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the State Water Project pumps near Tracy in order to reduce the risk from earthquakes and climate change to the State’s water supplies. It is intended to protect ...

Ninth Circuit Reverses Previous Decision on RCRA Liability for Water Supplier

On July 1, 2022 a panel of the Ninth Circuit issued a superseding opinion in California River Watch v. City of Vacaville, Appeal No. 20-16605, withdrawing its previous opinion in the same case and reaching the opposite result. The case is a rare example of a court reversing itself, and has important implications for water suppliers in California and nationwide.

In California River Watch, the plaintiff sought to impose RCRA liability on a water supplier based on the presence of hexavalent chromium in the water it supplied to customers, despite the fact that the water complied with the ...

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. ...

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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