Given the importance of any changes in California’s water policy, the new “California Water Plan Update 2009” has been practically unreported in the media since its main parts were released on March 31, 2010; the rest is scheduled to be published by May. Although “Update 2009” does not itself have the force of law, it is the state’s water blueprint for the next five years and will be highly influential in every water policy discussion and law revision.
It was produced by the California Department of Water Resources, and written by a steering committee representing 21 State agencies, a 45-member public advisory committee, nearly 40 regional workshops held around the state and “about 150 meetings with more than 26,500 person-hours of conversations about our water”….
Reading through this massive document, large parts of it call for greatly increasing state government control over water production and supply. It is the biggest leap in government control I have seen in my more than 30 years of practicing environmental and water law. It is the state equivalent of President Obama’s federal takeover of health care with a 2,400-page law passed by Congress.