NRDC’s Western Director appointed to Delta Stewardship Council

California’s water future is a little brighter now that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has appointed NRDC’s Western Regional Director Felicia Marcus to serve on the Delta Stewardship Council.  This is a new Council that was created last November, in the historic package of water policy reform bills supported by a broad coalition.  It is charged with developing an ambitious new plan for the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary, designed to restore this precious ecosystem, improve water supply reliability and address critical flood management challenges.

We at NRDC are particularly pleased and appreciate this appointment because NRDC worked long and hard to pass this legislation and create the Council.

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Lois Kazakoff: Water decision favors the delta

After more than 20 years of scientific and legal debate over how much water the state should export from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the state sided with — the delta.

In a historic vote Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted the recommendations in a report ordered by the Legislature last year. “The board’s action acknowledges that diverting 50 percent of the delta’s freshwaterflow is not sustainable, and that substantially more water is needed to maintain the health of the delta estuary,” said Cynthia Koehler, California water legislative director for the Environmental Defense Fund.

State water managers and scientists came to the same conclusion decades ago, but water politics stymied any action. Over the years, delta exports climbed while the health of the estuary declined, and with it the salmon runs that sustained the state fishing industry.

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Water bond opponents want to keep it on the ballot

The state Legislature may act Monday on bills that would yank an $11-billion water bond off the November ballot and delay it until 2012, but opponents are gearing up to quash the move.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders including Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) want to delay the measure, which faces difficulty passing this year because many voters are reluctant to approve more borrowing during the poor economy.

“The end goal is for it to pass,” said Alicia Trost, a spokeswoman for Steinberg. With California voters facing a lot of other issues, “including a long list of other measures on the November ballot, we strongly believe it should be delayed,” she said.

Two bills to pull it off the ballot and delay the measure are available for action when the Legislature convenes on Monday, which is the deadline for voter information guides on the November ballot to go to the printer.

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Division of Ratepayer Advocates, Cal Water reach proposed rate case settlement

LUCERNE, Calif. – The state’s Division of Ratepayer Advocates and California Water Service Co. have reached a proposed settlement agreement covering the company’s general rate case request for hikes across its many districts around the state, including Lucerne’s water system. 

The 600-page proposed settlement document, which was filed June 28, is for the 2009 general rate case. It still must be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, which is expected to make a final decision by the end of the year in time for the agreement to become effective on Jan. 1, 2011, the company and the DRA reported.

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Fresh Groundwater Supplies Tapped in Water-scarce California

A study has found 32,000 AFY of potentially recoverable water from the Fenner and northern Bristol Valley area in California. Terry Foreman outlines how the water conservation and storage project has measured the scale and recharge rate of the much needed aquifer.

Arecent water supply and storage program has the potential to add to the portfolio of Southern California’s sustainable water resources mix. Cadiz, Inc. owns 34,000 acres of largely contiguous land in the Cadiz and Fenner valleys, located in the eastern Mojave Desert, California, where they have farmed successfully for more than 15 years. Along with agricultural operations, Cadiz, Inc. has been working to expand its water supply and storage resources.

In 2009, Cadiz partnered with CH2M HILL to assess the potential recoverable water that could be conserved over the long-term as well as assess the groundwater in storage in the Fenner Valley and northern Bristol Valley area. The objectives of the study were to assess the volume of groundwater in storage upgradient and in the project area, assess the potential recoverable water that could be conserved through capturing water that would otherwise flow to and evaporate from the dry lakes.

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