WEEKLY DIGEST for January 7 – 12

A list of posts published on Maven’s Notebook this week …

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This week’s featured articles …

PANEL: Legal issues associated with water conservation mandates

As the legislature contemplates how to “Make Conservation a California Way of Life”, a panel discusses some of the legal issues posed: How do mandates interplay with Reasonable Use? Could mandates be considered a takings?  And what about charter cities?

In May of 2016, the Governor issued an executive order titled “Making Conservation a California Way of Life” directing the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board to develop new water use targets as part of a permanent framework for urban retail water suppliers.  In April of 2017, a group of five agencies led by the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board issued a final report on implementation of the executive order that proposed adoption of a methodology that urban water suppliers would be required to use to calculate their water use targets with failure to meet those targets resulting in some form of enforcement.  In order to implement the proposal, additional legislative authorities would be needed.

In response, several bills were introduced last year and have been held over for consideration in the legislature this year, most notably AB 1668 introduced by Assemblymember Friedman and SB 606 introduced by Senator Skinner and Senator Hertzberg.

Conservation mandates pose some unique legal issues.  For instance, how do conservation mandates relate to the reasonable use requirements in Article X, Section 2 of the California Constitution?  Does a conservation mandate constitute a taking or pose an impairment to contracts?  How might this relate to the authorities granted to charter cities?  At the fall conference of the Association of California Water Agencies, a panel of lawyers discussed the possible implications.

Click here to read this article.

Credible science in a complex world

The Science Enterprise Workshop, held in the fall of 2016, brought together scientists and science-policy experts from across the country to share information about how collaborative science is funded, managed, and communicated in several high-profile and complex ecosystems – the California Bay-Delta, Chesapeake Bay and Watershed, Coastal Louisiana, Great Lakes, Greater Everglades Ecosystem, and Puget Sound. At the 2-day workshop, participants heard from a wide-range of experts highlighting how different regions have developed science management mechanisms to support managers who are working on improving long-term health and viability of the nation’s high-profile ecosystems.

After listening to presentations on the six different systems, it was clear that the Delta was not the only place in the country facing complex challenges involving multiple stakeholders with conflicting objectives.  Many of the participants from other areas of the country spoke of the need to integrate social sciences (or the study of society and the relationships among individuals within a society) in with the work being done by the other scientists, and how they had found the inclusion of the social sciences beneficial.

So why do we need social scientists to be involved?  That was answered in the last panel of the second day which featured a presentation by Dr. Denise Lach, Director of School of Public Policy at Oregon State University.  In her presentation, she discussed three different models of ways to think about complex issues and the science involved.

Click here to read this article.

GUEST COMMENTARY:  A New Model for Resolving Problems in the San Bernardino Valley Emerges

Andrea Miller (City Manager, City of San Bernardino), Douglas Headrick (General Manager, San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District), and John Mura (General Manager/CEO, East Valley Water District) write:

When ligation between the City of San Bernardino, its Water Department, San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District (Valley District), and East Valley Water District (East Valley) stalled efforts to develop two new recycled water projects, elected officials and staff members from these agencies came together and found , a win-win solution. Moving forward, we believe that resolving our problems through cooperation must serve as the model for how public agencies work together for the public good.

Click here to read this article.

In water news this week from around the web …

WEEKEND DAILY DIGEST: In California water news this weekend, Independent report blames DWR, ‘long term systemic failure’ for Oroville spillway crisis; The labyrinthine task of solving California’s water problem and the California Water Fix; Coho salmon to remain on endangered list; Significant rain ahead for California may be a mixed blessing; Farmers backed Trump, now they want attention; Snowpack that feeds Colorado River is at 20% of normal; and more …  READ IT HERE: Weekend Daily Digest

MONDAY: In California water news today, Outlook 2018: The biggest water topics in the West this year; Department of the Interior rescinds Obama-era mitigation and climate docs; Report: Designers were in the dark about geology beneath spillways; Chico billboard features water tank, but no decision yet from Cal Water; Approaching storms renews flooding, mudslide concerns in Santa Rosa; Want to learn how these geese were saved from extinction?; Bakersfield reaches settlement in toxic drinking water case; Block Trump plan to pump Delta water south to the Central Valley, says the San Jose Mercury News; and more …  READ IT HERE:  Monday’s Daily Digest

TUESDAY: In California water news today, First big winter storm reaches California.  Here’s what it means for the water year; Storm to continue into Tuesday evening; heightening flooding, mudslide risk in fire-scarred Southern California; Agricultural demand for water has California’s Central Valley sinking fast; Subsidence shrinks Friant-Kern capacity by 60%; Central Valley refuge provides water infrastructure and waterfowl habitat; Radio show: Oroville Dam report finds water officials ‘overconfident’ and ‘complacent’; and more …  READ IT HERE: Tuesday’s Daily Digest

WEDNESDAY: In California water news today, Trump move to boost Delta pumping raises fears about fish impacts; Safety wasn’t the only thing on Oroville Dam operators’ minds as they responded to crisis, report shows; Storms dump 18 inches of snow, heavy rain in Sierra; Long dry spell prompts early irrigations; How wildfires impact California’s water supply; Crews rescue residents as mud engulfs California burn areas; 2017 was costliest year ever in the US for weather, climate disasters; Trump describes work to reduce regulatory burden; The nation’s rivers and streams are getting dangerously saltier; and more …  READ IT HERE:  Wednesday’s Daily Digest

THURSDAY:  In California water news today, Oroville Dam: Local leaders question DWR about forensic report; After Oroville disclosures, embattled California water agency names new director; Department of Water Resources’ chief ousted after report blames Oroville dam crisis on lax safety culture; Governor appoints new chief at troubled agency; Governor releases proposed 2018-2019 budget with funding for key water projects; Storm causes major damage to Montecito water system, South Coast Conduit; and more …  READ IT HERE:  Thursday’s Daily Digest

FRIDAY: In California water news today, What does a changing climate mean for California’s infrastructure?; Riverside County has a plan to revitalize the Salton Sea – and to pay for it; State seeks to lift ban on mining practice as Supreme Court denies appeal to lift it; Amid rains and mudslides, drought concerns remain; How drought plays out; Atmospheric rivers aid the west – and imperil it; Government scientists say a controversial pesticide is killing endangered salmon; Interior plans to move thousands of workers in the biggest reorganization in its history; and more …  READ IT HERE:  Friday’s Daily Digest

This week’s breaking news …

News worth noting this week …

Weekly features …

Announcements this week …

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