Water 1

Groundwater Sustainability Planning Undeterred by COVID-19

COVID-19 has forced many of us to find creative ways of working together while sheltering in place. For California’s new groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs), that means bringing together diverse groups of stakeholders in virtual forums to develop and implement state-mandated groundwater sustainability plans. We talked to Dave Ceppos—who, as managing senior mediator at Sacramento State’s Consensus and Collaboration Program, is working with many GSAs—about how the pandemic is affecting the complex public outreach process required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

Water 2

Letters: the state and metropolitan exchange letters over the state water project’s incidental take permit

At the end of March, the Department of Fish and Wildlife issued a new “Incidental Take Permit” (or ITP) for the State Water Project.  This permit governs the operations of the State Water Project and enables DWR to operate in compliance with the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).  The approach of pursuing a separate state CESA permit is a new path for DWR, who in the past, pursued compliance with federal and state endangered species acts through a ‘consistency determination’ with the federal operating rules. 

However, the new state permit that was issued is substantially different than the federal operating rules for the projects and throws into question how the two water projects, which draw from the same Delta channels, can operate under such vastly different operating rules.

Water 3

As a dying Salton Sea spews harmful dust, Imperial Valley water wars heat up again

The people of California’s Imperial Valley can be as unforgiving as the region’s harsh desert climate.

It’s been 16 years since Bruce Kuhn cast the fateful vote to transfer tens of billions of gallons of Colorado River water from the valley’s sprawling farms to thirsty coastal cities, reshaping water politics in California and across the West.

But for many locals, it might as well have been yesterday.