DAILY DIGEST: As water agencies cast votes, future of Delta tunnels remains unclear; Why one LA-based enviro group supports the Delta tunnels; Parks and water bond to be on 2018 ballot; The public trust doctrine: A modern debate over a classic doctrine; and more …

In California water news today, As water agencies cast votes, future of Delta tunnels remains unclear; Here’s why one LA-based environmental group broke with the pack and supports the Delta tunnels project; Get ready to see a plan for billions of dollars in parks and water improvements on California’s 2018 ballot; The public trust doctrine: A modern debate over a classic doctrine; Cost of recovery: Carmel River mitigation work cost $200 million-plus; How much should buyers of new homes pay to assure a stable water supply for Fresno?; and more …

LEGISLATION UPDATE: Yesterday was the last day for the Governor to sign or veto legislation.  Late last night, Governor Brown signed SB 5, the parks and water bond, and vetoed AB 313, Gray’s water rights legislation. Click here to read the veto message.

In the news today …

As water agencies cast votes, future of Delta tunnels remains unclear:  “On Oct. 10, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted to endorse the Delta tunnels, the $17 billion project that aims to reboot California’s main water supply system. Two days later, the Kern County Water Agency offered its own bid – albeit it a hesitant one – of support.  However, even with backing from the nation’s largest municipal water supplier and a major agricultural district, some water policy experts and analysts believe the massive project, dubbed California WaterFix, may still buckle under its own weight.  “If Met had voted no, that would have killed the project,” said Doug Obegi, a water law attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “But still, a yes vote doesn’t resolve any of the problems behind WaterFix.” … ”  Read more from Water Deeply here:  As water agencies cast votes, future of Delta tunnels remains unclear

Here’s why one LA-based environmental group broke with the pack and supports the Delta tunnels project:  “When it comes to water policy, all environmental groups are not the same.  I’m talking about a large number of green nonprofits that opposed Metropolitan Water District’s financial dive into the pool with $4.3 billion to help pay for building twin concrete tunnels to bring water around the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta and down the State Water Project into Southern California more efficiently.  You know, sort of a Peripheral Canal II: The Sequel.  Groups have lined up against MWD and the massive, $17 billion project in general include: Food & Water Watch, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Restore the Delta, Los Angeles Waterkeeper, Center for Biological Diversity and Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.  But not all environmental groups oppose the tunnels project, also known as California WaterFix. ... ” Read more from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune here:  Here’s why one LA-based environmental group broke with the pack and supports the Delta tunnels project

Get ready to see a plan for billions of dollars in parks and water improvements on California’s 2018 ballot:  “Voters will decide in June 2018 whether to borrow $4 billion to fund improvements to the California’s parks and water systems after Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 5 on Sunday.  The bond measure, which must be paid back over time with interest, will finance boosts to water recycling, stormwater capture and conservation infrastructure as well as expansion and repairs to state, regional and local parks. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Get ready to see a plan for billions of dollars in parks and water improvements on California’s 2018 ballot

The public trust doctrine: A modern debate over a classic doctrine:  “Three speakers came together to discuss their views on the public trust doctrine as it applies to the current state of water law. Jennifer Harder moderated the discussion. She is a professor of law at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, in Sacramento, California. The first part of the discussion was led by Buzz Thompson of O’Melveny & Myers, who is also a professor at Stanford Law School. He was followed by J. Craig Smith of Smith Hartvigsen, PLLC, located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Cynthia Koehler, co-founder and executive director of WaterNow Alliance, a non-profit organization based in San Francisco, concluded the discussion. … ”  Read more from the University of Denver Law Review here:  The public trust doctrine: A modern debate over a classic doctrine

In commentary today …

Brown should compromise and settle for just one Delta tunnel:  “U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein recalls Gov. Jerry Brown pitching her to support his costly twin-tunnels water plan. He showed her the environmental analysis and she was shocked.  Shocked not at the contents, but at the documents’ size.  “He had the environmental impact reports on his picnic table in his office,” she told me last week. “They were 5 feet tall and 10 feet wide.”  It’s doubtful Feinstein had a measuring tape, but her calculation seemed in the ballpark. The reports totaled 90,000 pages. That’s the equivalent of 180 books, each with 500 pages. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Brown should compromise and settle for just one Delta tunnel

In regional news and commentary today …

Klamath River: Fish blood in their veins – but few salmon in their river:  “This fall, the number of chinook salmon making their way from the ocean up the Klamath River in the far northwest corner of California is the lowest on record. That’s devastating news for the Yurok tribe, which has lived along and fished the Klamath for centuries. Salmon is integral to their entire culture and way of life, essential to Yurok ceremonies, for food, and for income.  Cousins Erika Chavez and Jerome Nick Jr. both work for the Yurok Tribal Fisheries Department, and they’re patrolling the Klamath where the river flows into the Pacific Ocean. ... ”  Read more from KQED here:  Klamath River: Fish blood in their veins – but few salmon in their river

Cost of recovery: Carmel River mitigation work cost $200 million-plus:  “More than $200 million has been spent on Carmel River improvement projects during the past two decades since California American Water was ordered to cut its river water extractions in 1995, according to an analysis by The Herald.  Much of that money has been aimed at offsetting the impacts of over-pumping and other factors on the river by improving the river’s flow and enhancing crucial habitat for protected steelhead and red-legged frogs, with millions more already committed. … ”  Read more from the Monterey County Herald here:  Cost of recovery: Carmel River mitigation work cost $200 million-plus

How much should buyers of new homes pay to assure a stable water supply for Fresno?  “Buyers of newly built homes in Fresno could be on the hook for a fee of more than $4,000 to ensure they have enough water coming to their residences. But a trio of major home builders is challenging the city’s fees in court, contending they’re too high, are unfair and amount to a tax that violates state law.  Exactly who would pay the fee appears to be a little murky, with one developer saying it will be passed along to home buyers, and attorneys for the developers saying the builders will get stuck with the bill. ... ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  How much should buyers of new homes pay to assure a stable water supply for Fresno?

Hanford to discuss installation of water meters:  “The city is one step closer to installing automated water meters on the city’s flat rate accounts.  At the Hanford City Council meeting on Tuesday, council will discuss a project involving the installation of water meters and automated meter reading devices on the city’s 2,586 flat rate accounts. … ”  Read more from the Hanford Sentinel here:  Hanford to discuss installation of water meters

Santa Clarita: Governor signs bill creating new water agency:  “The way water is acquired and distributed throughout the Santa Clarita Valley changed forever Sunday when Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill creating one new all-encompassing water district for the SCV.  The governor signed Senate Bill 634, according to Governor staffers who updated his official website. The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency is now the agency which distributes water in the SCV. ... ”  Read more from The Signal here:  Santa Clarita: Governor signs bill creating new water agency

Along the Colorado River …

Money-for-water experiment gaining steam in the Colorado River basin:  “When Freddie Botur, 45, whose ranch spans 72,000 acres outside of Pinedale, Wyoming, first heard about a program that paid ranchers not to irrigate, he was skeptical. But Nick Walrath, a project coordinator for Trout Unlimited, assured him he’d receive about $200 for every acre-foot of water that he allowed to just run down the river.  For Botur, that would mean over $240,000 for fallowing roughly 1,700 acres of hayfields for the latter half of the summer of 2015, letting 1,202 acre-feet of water flow past his headgate on Cottonwood and Muddy creeks, tributaries of the Green River, instead of to his fields.  “Oh, my God,” he thought. “This is insane.” … ”  Read more from the Aspen Times here:  Money-for-water experiment gaining steam in the Colorado River basin

Does Mother Nature have a right to life?  “Frustrated by what they perceive as a failure of existing environmental law, advocates are exploring a new strategy to protect natural resources: asking federal district court to recognize the Colorado River as a person.  Yes, a person — with inalienable rights to “exist, flourish, regenerate, and restoration.”  The Colorado River is seeking the judicial recognition of “legal personhood” in a lawsuit filed Sept. 25 against the governor of Colorado in federal court (the first hearing is scheduled for Nov. 14). A favorable ruling would not only affect Nevada and the six other states with direct ties to the 1,450-mile-long river; it would spark a significant shift in environmental preservation nationwide. ... ”  Read more from the Las Vegas Sun here:  Does Mother Nature have a right to life?

More news and commentary in the weekend edition …

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

Today’s announcements …

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About the Daily Digest: The Daily Digest is a collection of selected news articles, commentaries and editorials appearing in the mainstream press. Items are generally selected to follow the focus of the Notebook blog. The Daily Digest is published every weekday with a weekend edition posting on Sundays.

 

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