On November 21, 2023, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Cottonwood Environmental Law Center vs. Edwards addressing various Clean Water Act issues. Its two key holdings were that (1) the district court did not err when it rejected plaintiff’s direct discharge theory and (2) the district court did err when it held that plaintiff did not provide sufficient notice.
Direct vs. Indirect Discharge
Defendant Big Sky Water and Sewer District (Big Sky) operates three lined holding ponds to store treated effluent outside of the irrigation season. It also installed an ...
On November 20, 2023, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Idaho Conservation League v. Poe, No. 22-35978. Therein, the Court upheld its previous interpretation of “discharged” in the context of an allegation that a party violated the National Pollutant Discharge Eliminating System (NPDES) permit system under the Clean Water Act. It did so notwithstanding the defendant’s allegation that Supreme Court precedent overruled that interpretation. As a result, dredging material from the bottom of a riverbed and then discharging that material into ...
On January 10, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom announced his $297 billion budget proposal for 2023-2024, which includes a $22.5 billion budget deficit. Despite environmental/climate change programs facing $6 billion in cuts, Governor Newsom’s proposed budget includes relatively few negative impacts to water projects. In fact, the drought response and water resilience section, which includes the vast majority of water-related funding, only faces a cut of two percent, from $8.7 billion to $8.6 billion. That two percent reduction is the lowest of any environmental category. ...
On September 7, 2022, California became the first government in the world to require microplastics testing for drinking water, an emerging contaminant that is found throughout the environment. The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) approved a policy handbook that details how it will implement a four-year plan, including testing logistics as well as how it will select the public agencies that will be required to test.
Microplastics represent an emerging contaminant of concern for which there are still a number of unanswered questions. As the policy handbook ...
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. …
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 ...
On June 23rd, California Coastkeeper Alliance (CCKA) filed the lawsuit California Coastkeeper Alliance v. County of Sonoma (Case No. SCV-268718) in Sonoma County Superior Court. According to CCKA’s website, the suit was filed “to compel the County of Sonoma to consider and mitigate impacts to public trust resources caused by unregulated and wasteful groundwater pumping in the Russian River watershed.” The organization went on to state, “This is an important move during this historic drought to protect salmon populations that are already at risk of extinction, and to ...
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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