Court Upholds Council’s Delta Plan and Calls for Two Refinements
From the Delta Stewardship Council:
The Sacramento Superior Court late Wednesday ruled in favor of the Delta Stewardship Council on the vast majority of issues regarding the adequacy of its master plan for the Delta. The court ruled that the Council did have the authority to develop a legally enforceable management plan for the Delta – one that requires reduced reliance on the Delta as a source of water, sets aside zones to help restore the Delta ecosystem and preserves and enhances the unique character of the largely agricultural collection of islands and waterways east of the San Francisco Bay.
The Court did cite two instances in which it concluded that the Council’s Delta Plan fell short of requirements included in the 2009 Delta Reform Act that created the Council and directed it to develop the plan. The Court said the Delta Plan did not contain sufficiently quantifiable performance measures and also did not adequately “promote options” to improve the way water projects move water across the Delta.
The Court was only able to consider the adequacy of the Delta Plan as it was adopted in May 2013. Since then, as directed by the Delta Plan itself, the Council has worked with state and federal scientists and stakeholders to refine and improve its performance measures. The Council also has developed principles to guide improvements in the way water is conveyed across the Delta, stored in above-ground and underground storage, and how both can be operated in ways to gain maximum benefit for the state’s coequal goals of improved water supply reliability and ecosystem health.
“I am pleased the Court upheld our regulatory authority and the role of the Council in shaping California water policy,” said Jessica R. Pearson, executive officer for the Council. “The court acknowledged that the Delta Plan is based on best available science, which is foundational for the actions we and others take in the Delta.”
The Delta Plan contains 14 regulatory policies and 73 recommendations on topics such as improving water supply reliability, restoring and enhancing the Delta’s ecosystem, preserving and protecting the Delta’s unique characteristics, and reducing flood risk. Shortly after it was adopted, multiple parties, including the state and federal water contractors, the Central Delta Water Agency, the City of Stockton, the San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority, the California Water Impact Network, and others filed lawsuits challenging the sufficiency and legality of the Delta Plan, as well as the sufficiency of the Delta Plan's Environmental Impact Report.
The seven cases were coordinated and Wednesday’s ruling covers the statutory challenges. Click here to read the ruling.
Emergency Groundwater Sustainability Plan Regulations adopted by the California Water Commission
From Best Best & Kreiger:
The California Water Commission unanimously adopted a demanding set of regulations to govern the creation and implementation of groundwater sustainability plans under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, California’s historic groundwater legislation. The emergency regulations, developed by the Department of Water Resources, were adopted Wednesday and take effect in June.
The regulations, which must be followed by local agencies implementing SGMA, include extensive requirements for groundwater monitoring and data collection, as well as the development of local “water budgets” that take into account land use planning, climate change, population growth, and projected groundwater and surface water supply and demand. After much public debate and comment following DWR’s release of the regulations in draft form in February, the Commission agreed to a final version that retained a controversial and somewhat flexible “substantial compliance” standard of review. DWR will use this standard to determine whether local plans and their implementation are adequate. The stakes are high in the process because plans, or implementation of plans, deemed inadequate by DWR can lead to intervention by the State Water Resources Control Board in managing local groundwater basins.
Continue reading at Best Best & Kreiger here: Emergency Groundwater Sustainability Plan Regulations adopted by the California Water Commission
Lawn Dude throws hat in ring with platform to “conserve, conserve, conserve!”
CCOA & SCWC Unveil Timely Election Themed Billboard Campaign Reminding SoCal Residents the Drought Is Not Over
From the Southern California Water Committee:
The Southern California Water Committee (SCWC) and Clear Channel Outdoor Americas (CCOA) today unveiled a timely new chapter in their joint Lawn Dude water conservation billboard campaign during the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) meeting to consider the adoption of continued emergency statewide drought regulations. The nationally-acclaimed conservation mascot has been transformed to sport an election themed campaign with a mission to keep Californians conserving.
Lawn Dude’s past escapades, ranging from “laying off the sauce” to “manscaping,” captured the attention of Southern Californians and promoted conservation across the region. As the state enters a fifth year of historic drought conditions, the newest Lawn Dude campaign leverages the momentum of the 2016 election to remind residents that despite improving conditions, the drought is not over.
“I’m throwing my hat in the ring because the drought’s not over, baby – California needs me more than ever before,” said Lawn Dude. “Now is the perfect time to announce my candidacy. And my slogan? ‘Conserve, Conserve, Conserve!’ of course.”
Felicia Marcus, chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board said of Lawn Dude and the continued partnership between SCWC and CCOA, “Lawn Dude has been a strong force in the conversation about conservation and I’m thrilled to see him out on the campaign trail just in time for the California primary and the beginning of the hot summer months. I applaud the Southern California Water Committee and Clear Channel Outdoor Americas’ commitment to keeping Southern California’s conservation dialogue fresh year after year.”
Just last week Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order establishing long-term water conservation measures in light of the drought. Lawn Dude is also working to dispel the myth that El Niño “fixed” the drought, and he’s taking no prisoners in the process by using the slogan “El Niño Campaigned on Empty Promises” to get this message out to residents.
“Lawn Dude is the perfect candidate to remind Californians that, despite increased rainfall, the drought is not over and we need to continue to conserve,” said Charles Wilson, Executive Director of the Southern California Water Committee. “We are thankful for our continued partnership with Clear Channel Outdoor Americas, whose generous contribution allows us to harness the power of billboards to encourage Southern Californians to adopt conservation as a way of life.”
The latest phase of the Lawn Dude campaign will go up on CCOA’s digital and traditional billboards throughout the Southern California region as the state moves into the hot summer months. Californians are encouraged to continue engaging with @Lawn_Dude on Twitter and share billboard sightings, personal water saving practices, and photos of their drought tolerant yards.
“As we head into summer, it’s critical that we do not take our foot off the conservation pedal and Clear Channel Outdoor Americas is proud to help reinforce this message across the Southland,” said Layne Lawson, director of public affairs for Clear Channel Outdoor. “We are in support of Lawn Dude’s campaign and hope to see California join his pledge to ‘Conserve, Conserve, Conserve!’”
CCOA consistently donates space on its digital and traditional billboards in Southern California and throughout the nation to display public safety and public awareness messages. The unique ability of digital signs to reach a wide audience while displaying messages in real-time allows them to act as valuable resources for non-profit organizations, public safety agencies, law enforcement and a variety of others who need to effectively relay messages to the public.
About Southern California Water Committee
Established in 1984, the Southern California Water Committee is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public education partnership dedicated to informing Southern Californians about our water needs and our state’s water resources. Spanning Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino, Imperial, Riverside, Ventura and Kern counties, the SCWC’s members include representatives from business, government, agriculture, water agencies, labor and the general public. Visit us at www.socalwater.org and find us on Facebook.
About Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc.
Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc., (NYSE: CCO) is one of the world’s largest outdoor advertising companies, with more than 625,000 displays in over 35 countries across five continents, including 43 of the 50 largest markets in the United States. Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings offers many types of displays across its global platform to meet the advertising needs of its customers. This includes a growing digital platform that now offers over 1,050 digital billboards across 28 markets in North America. Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings’ International segment operates in 22 countries across Asia, Australia and Europe in a wide variety of formats. More information is available at www.clearchanneloutdoor.com www.clearchannelinternational.com.
Weekly Water and Climate Update: Contrary to recent past, May cooler than normal across most of the country
From the USDA:
The Natural Resources Conservation Service produces this weekly report using data and products from the National Water and Climate Center and other agencies. The report focuses on seasonal snowpack, precipitation, temperature, and drought conditions in the U.S.
Across much of the contiguous U.S. the daily average temperatures for May have been cooler to much cooler than normal. Eastern Colorado, northern Illinois, and the Mid-Atlantic states were the coolest at over 10 degrees cooler than normal for this period. In contrast, the Pacific Northwest enjoyed unseasonably warm temperatures, with the central and northern Cascades over 5 degrees warmer than normal.
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About News Worth Noting: News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations. News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms. If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.