California vineyard water ban ‘will cost economy $2bn a year’

Plans to restrict water use in vineyards across California’s Sonoma and Mendocino counties could cost the local economy up to US$2bn a year, according to a new report.

The report, commissioned by Williams Selyem winery, said up to 8,000 jobs could be lost as a result of the move by California’s State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), which wants to restrict wineries’ use of Russian River water for frost protection.

Written by Robert Eyler, professor and chair of economics at Sonoma State University, the report assesses the ‘significant’ loss of business income, state and local taxes, and land values, as well as the impact on tourism.

Frost damage would cut production, it says, resulting in fewer employees and lower wages across the distribution chain of the local wine industry.

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State water board to vote on proposal requiring Malibu to install its first central sewer system

Septic tanks and leach pits could soon be endangered commodities in Malibu.

On Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board is slated to vote in Sacramento on a proposal to require the coastal community to install its first central sewer system, cease permits for new septic setups and phase out hundreds of existing small-scale systems by 2019.

Chronic pollution in Malibu Creek and Lagoon and Surfrider Beach — and repeated failures by Malibu to address the problem — spurred the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board last November to propose the septic ban for a large area of central and eastern Malibu. The state board typically supports regional panels’ recommendations.

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Adoption of flow report marks latest delta development

The adoption of a controversial flow report by the State Water Resources Control Board last week marked the most recent in a series of developments involving the state’s water supplies and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. During the past two weeks, the federal government awarded a contract for a project to improve flexibility in water deliveries from the delta, and a gubernatorial appointment filled out a council charged with developing a plan for delta management.

In addition, another session of the National Academy of Sciences committee charged with reviewing the scientific underpinnings for decisions related to restoring the delta ecosystem and ensuring water supply reliability convened in Sacramento last month, and government agencies continue processes that also have bearing on water supply and delta environmental conditions.

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