Drought Special Edition: Updated California Environmental Laws and Policies – June 2022 | Allen Matkins

As severe drought conditions continue across the western United States, Allen Matkins will begin publishing a quarterly newsletter focused on recent legal, regulatory and policy issues impacting users and providers of water in California. and in the Colorado River Basin. This special edition newsletter will be published quarterly to supplement our standard weekly newsletter. California Environmental Law and Policy Update with a separate editorial team: David Osias (partner, San Diego), Barry Epstein (partner, San Francisco), Alex Doherty (elected partner, San Francisco), Eoin McCarron (partner, Los Angeles) and Tara Paul (partner, Los Angeles ).

To concentrate

Ball San Francisco Chronicle – June 7

The State of California Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has ordered thousands of farmers, irrigation districts and municipal water agencies to stop drawing from rivers and streams . The ordinances, which took effect June 8, require those with lesser water rights in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River watersheds, essentially inland areas from the Oregon border to Fresno, to turn to other sources of water, if they have them. Some growers and small water suppliers without a backup supply may be forced to go without water altogether. State records show a total of 4,252 rights will be restricted, including those in 212 public water systems.


Ball Desert Sun – June 14

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton told Congress June 14 that shortages on the Colorado River system had taken an even bleaker turn, with 2 to 4 million acres reduced in water consumption needed by 2023 to keep Lake Mead functioning and able to provide drinking water, irrigation and electricity to millions of people. Touton urged the Imperial Irrigation District, Coachella Valley Water District, Los Angeles Metropolitan Water District and other districts in California, Arizona and Nevada that rely on Lake Mead to enter into another major voluntary water reduction agreement. here mid-August. California, which has the largest and oldest water rights to the Colorado River, has so far been spared the mandatory cuts Nevada and Arizona face.

Ball Center Square – May 25

The SWRCB on May 24 adopted emergency water conservation regulations, including a ban on irrigating grass on commercial, industrial and institutional properties, excluding areas used for recreation or other community events. The ban went into effect on June 10 and violators could face a daily fine of $500 per violation. The SWRCB has also moved to pass regulations requiring all city water suppliers to upgrade to “Tier 2” in their water conservation plans, which provide for a shortage of up to 20%. Level 2 actions typically include measures such as limiting outdoor watering to certain days or times and increasing efforts to identify water waste.

Ball The Democratic Press – June 7

The SWRCB on June 7 approved a groundbreaking agreement that allows major water rights holders in the upper Russian River watershed to share their supply with junior rights holders whose claims might otherwise be suspended due to drought. The agreement, negotiated over many months by agricultural, municipal, tribal and other actors in the region, is the first of its kind to attempt to balance the distribution of scarce water resources in a state governed by what a member of the council called a system of water rights “intrinsically inequitable”.

Ball ABC News – June 5

A group of California state senators are proposing to spend up to $1.5 billion to buy greater water rights from farmers, allowing them to take as much water as they need from rivers and streams. state streams to grow their crops. Under the proposal, the state would use part of its nearly $100 billion budget surplus to purchase the water rights – either by buying the land associated with the rights, acquiring only the right itself, or an easement on the land that requires water. be used for fish and other species of fauna and flora. California’s prolonged drought has prompted scrutiny of the state’s complex water supply system and how it could be modified to ensure a stable supply during exceptionally dry spells – including a state proposal separate scheme that would pay farmers to grow fewer crops to save water.

Ball CNBC – June 1

Drastic restrictions on outdoor water use adopted by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on April 27 went into effect on June 1 for more than 6 million residents of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties. Conservation rules, among the strictest ever in the state, prohibit households from watering their lawn more than once a week in many jurisdictions. The restrictions aim to reduce water consumption by 35%.

Ball Los Angeles Times – June 4

The San Diego County Water Authority has repeatedly lobbied the state for an exemption from statewide water conservation regulations that went into effect June 10. . half of its water comes from the Colorado River. California water officials said San Diego must continue to cut spending, especially as the Colorado River remains in the grip of a 22-year mega-drought. Managers in the three lower basin states of California, Arizona and Nevada are now gearing up to negotiate a new pact governing how the declining Colorado River will be shared by 2026. Many agency officials in the southern California have expressed concerns that the process is dragging on. past the deadline and potentially throw the current provisions into legal disarray.

Ball CBS News – June 2

Over-pumping of groundwater basins in the San Joaquin Valley has caused the area’s surface to slowly collapse in a process known as subsidence. According to NASA data, the ground has fallen nearly 30 feet in large areas of the valley since the 1920s, damaging bridges and disrupting the flow of canals. In an article published on June 2 in Water resources research, Stanford University researchers warn that subsidence will continue for decades, if not centuries, if groundwater levels are not allowed to rebound. The authors’ conclusion contradicts assumptions that simply stopping the decline of water tables is enough to stop the subsidence of the land above.

Ball Power Magazine – June 2

The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) suggests in a new report that drought conditions in California could nearly halve the state’s hydroelectric generating capacity this summer, reducing the share of hydroelectric capacity from 15% to 8%. Drought conditions across much of the southwestern United States prompted electric and water providers to act with urgency. Extraordinarily low water levels at Lake Powell on the Arizona-Utah border prompted the United States Bureau of Reclamation in early May for the first time to invoke its authority to alter annual operations at the dam of Glen Canyon and protect components of the 1.3 GW hydroelectric plant while securing crucial water. Provisions.

Ball Courthouse News Service – June 7

According to a new report published on June 7 by the SWRCB, analyzing data from April 2021 to April 2022, water consumption in urban areas has increased by 17.6% compared to last year. The report does not reflect usage following new statewide water conservation measures announced in May. Governor Gavin Newsom is now requiring all water districts to submit their usage reports by the 3rd business day of the month for the previous month instead of the 28th day.

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