NEWS WORTH NOTING: San Diego County Water Authority secures transfers of conserved Colorado River water through 2047, launches contract talks for potential San Vicente energy storage facility; Ninth circuit affirms Justice Kennedy’s “significant nexus” test as proper standard to determine CWA jurisdiction

San Diego County Water Authority Secures Transfers of Conserved Colorado River Water Through 2047

Board of Directors extends key agreement by a decade

From the San Diego County Water Authority:

The San Diego region will benefit from a historic water conservation-and-transfer agreement with the Imperial Irrigation District at least through 2047 after the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors took action Thursday to ensure deliveries of those supplies for an additional decade.

The Board voted unanimously to extend an Exchange Agreement with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California by 10 years, requiring MWD to continue transporting conserved IID water to San Diego County through 2047. This year, about 20 percent of the San Diego region’s water is from the Water Authority’s conservation-and-transfer agreement with IID, and the volumes will continue to grow until 2021.

By extending the Exchange Agreement with MWD, the Water Authority gains 2 million acre-feet of conserved Colorado River water for delivery to the San Diego region between 2037 and 2047. Without that water, the San Diego region could face significant supply shortages during future dry years.

“Our independent Colorado River water supplies are a key component of the ongoing effort to develop our diversified and more reliable water supply portfolio,” said Mark Muir, chair of the Water Authority’s Board. “Using that conserved water helps fuel our economy and maintain our quality of life – and it has proven particularly valuable during droughts when less reliable supplies from MWD have been reduced.”

Thursday’s Board action was necessary because of mismatched terms in the Transfer Agreement with Imperial Irrigation District and the related Exchange Agreement with MWD. While the initial term of the Transfer Agreement with IID was 45 years (2003-2047), the Exchange Agreement with MWD had an initial term of 35 years (2003-2037). Through the end of 2017, the Water Authority has the unilateral discretion to extend the Exchange Agreement by 10 years so that it aligns with the Transfer Agreement, or to end the transfer 10 years early, so that it aligns with the Exchange Agreement.

Click here to continue reading at the San Diego County Water Authority website.

Contract Talks Launched for Potential 500MW San Vicente Energy Storage Facility

Project would benefit water ratepayers and increase regional renewable energy capacity

From the San Diego County Water Authority:

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors on Thursday authorized negotiations with Tenaska Inc.-Diamond Generating Corp. Joint Venture to assess the potential for developing a major energy storage facility at San Vicente Reservoir near Lakeside. The project would leverage existing water and energy infrastructure to reduce upward pressure on water rates while expanding the potential for renewable energy use across the region.

The Water Authority and its partner, the City of San Diego, are seeking to draft a Project Development Agreement by spring 2018 for consideration by their governing boards. In November, the agencies identified Tenaska-Diamond as the top choice among five groups of companies vying to develop an energy storage project based on its financial modeling, risk analysis, knowledge of the energy market, and revenue-sharing proposal. The Water Authority’s Board on Thursday also authorized negotiations with Brookfield US Generation LLC in the event that negotiations with Tenaska-Diamond are unsuccessful.

A primary goal of the potential energy project is to generate revenue for the agencies in exchange for the use of public land, water and other assets. The negotiations do not commit the Water Authority or the City of San Diego to developing the project, which would require an environmental review and additional approvals by the Water Authority’s Board of Directors and the San Diego City Council.

“This negotiation is an important step toward maximizing the potential of our facilities, while supporting the best interests of water ratepayers,” said Mark Muir, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “It represents an exciting opportunity to offset operational costs and manage water rates, while making the most of local renewable energy resources.”

Continue reading at the San Diego County Water Authority website by clicking here.

Criminal Conviction Upheld for Failure to Properly Permit Ponds Built in Federally Protected Wetlands as Ninth Circuit Affirms Justice Kennedy’s “Significant Nexus” Test as Proper Standard to Determine Jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act

From Somach, Simmons, & Dunn:

On Wednesday, November 27, 2017, in United States v. Robertson, No. 16-30178, slip op. (9th Cir., Nov. 27, 2017), the Ninth Circuit upheld the conviction of Mr. Joseph Robertson for violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) in Montana.  In upholding a jury’s conviction, the Ninth Circuit reaffirmed its reliance on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy’s concurring opinion in Rapanos v. United States, 547 U.S. 715 (2006).

Mr. Robertson excavated and constructed a series of ponds on National Forest lands and on a private mining claim in 2013 and 2014.  Robertson, slip op. at 4.  While constructing the ponds, Mr. Robertson discharged dredge and fill material into surrounding wetlands and a tributary to Cataract Creek without appropriate permitting.  Cataract Creek is a tributary to Boulder River, a tributary to the traditionally navigable Jefferson River.  Id.  Based on these discharges, Mr. Robertson was convicted of CWA violations after a second trial.  Id. at 5.  The first trial resulted in a hung jury, but in the second trial, the jury returned a guilty verdict.  Id.  On appeal, Mr. Robertson contended that the United States did not sufficiently establish CWA jurisdiction, based upon the meaning and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) interpretation of navigable waters under the CWA.  Id.

Click here to read more from Somach Simmons & Dunn.

 

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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.

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