State of Emergency Declared in California

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declares a state of emergency in one California County after contaminated tap water was found.The residents of San Bernardino County were warned late last week not to drink the tap water.This was after the city of Barstow’s water supply showed traces of a toxic chemical used to make rocket fuel and explosives…Residents were told boiling the water would *not* help in reducing the chemical level in the water.Instead they were urged to take advantage of the free water bottles that were being distributed..Golden state water company is investigating the source of the contamination.

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ACWA Bill Goes to Governor; Water Rights Measure Dies on Assembly Floor

ACWA-sponsored legislation addressing penalties for wastewater discharge reporting was sent to the governor while a strongly opposed bill on water rights died on the Assembly floor as the legislative session came to an end Tuesday night.

Lawmakers also passed a handful of bills on local government compensation, including a measure prohibiting automatic raises exceeding cost-of-living adjustments for specified local officials. The bills emerged in the wake of salary abuses reported in the city of Bell.

SB 1284 (Ducheny), sponsored by ACWA, addresses high penalties for water agencies and others for failing to report there was no wastewater discharge or failing to report a discharge that did not violate environmental standards. It cleared its final legislative hurdle last week and is now on the governor’s desk.

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DWR as a Fail Organization

David Zetland:

This presentation [PDF] from California’s Department of Water Resources undermines unintentionally their claim to responsibility, competency and/or adequacy.

First is the fact that 81 taf of 612 taf of water transfers passed through the DWR-managed drought water bank. Thirteen percent isn’t very good, and here’s why they failed (no market solutions). FAIL.

Second is their “plan” for drought in 2010. Besides “pray for rain” (somehow omitted), they are hoping that the 20% by 2020 program and a website are going to promote water conservation (but no price solutions). FAIL.

Third is Lester Snow’s support of Schwarzenegger’s plan for more dams.* He sounds a lot less like a competent bureaucrat and a lot more like a political lapdog. Hey! The Gov is a lameduck! Can we get some professionalism here!??! FAIL.

Bottom Line: DWR is not managing our water resources. That sucks, since they have a monopoly on our water policy. (I am not even getting into groundwater!)


Comment: Arnold can’t leave fast enough.

Calif. lawmakers pull $11B water bond from ballot


After some intense late-night vote wrangling, California lawmakers on Monday answered Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s call to pull an $11.1 billion water bond off the November ballot.

The Legislature narrowly passed two bills that would postpone the vote until 2012 and delay the terms of the nine members of the California Water Commission, which is tasked with allocating some of the bond funds.

The bills, AB1260 and AB1265, passed relatively easily through the state Senate, but ran into heavy opposition in the Assembly. It took several rounds of voting to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to pass AB1265, and there wasn’t a vote to spare.

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Comment: They should have left the bonds on the ballot, so they would lose.

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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Legislation takes shape to postpone water bond

Lawmakers are set to vote next week on a set of bills that would move the $11.1 billion water bond to the 2012 general election ballot.

Two bills were amended Thursday in the Senate to push Proposition 18, currently slated for the Nov. 2 election, to the election on Nov. 6, 2012.

Assembly Bill 1265, by Assemblywoman Anna Caballero, D-Salinas, and Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries, R-Lake Elsinore, delays the water bond vote. A second bill, AB 1260, by Assemblywoman Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, would delay the terms for appointees to the California Water Commission, the body tasked with allocating some of the bond’s funds.

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Actually, they should keep the bond on the ballot so voters can wipe it out.

Cal Senate hearing next week on Delta water report

The California Senate Select Committee on Delta Conservation, Conveyance and Governance, chaired by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, on Monday will listen to and question the scientists who wrote a report that says less water should be diverted from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta if the estuary is to be restored.

It’s the first hearing by lawmakers since the State Water Control Board adopted a staff report on water flows in the Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Western Hemisphere – and the major water source for 23 million Californians.

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