NEWS WORTH NOTING: Sen. Dodd’s twin tunnels oversight bill advances; State Water Board announces investigation and sampling of potential sources of PFAS; Water rights compliance checklist for 2019

From the Office of Senator Bill Dodd:

A bill from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that would increase legislative oversight of the controversial Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta WaterFix project and allow for more public scrutiny has cleared its first committee hurdle. Senate Bill 204 passed the Natural Resources and Water committee Tuesday on a 6-0 vote.

“We all know WaterFix is a project to build tunnels under the Delta to ship water to other parts of the state,” said Sen. Dodd, co-chair of the Legislative Delta Caucus. “But beyond that, we in the Legislature and in nearby communicates know surprisingly little. And the implications of this project are enormous. My bill is about transparency and ensuring we’re all aware of what’s going on, how much it costs and how it will affect the economy and the environment.”

SB 204 would establish requirements for both the Department of Water Resources and the Delta Conveyance, Design and Construction Authority to submit information about pending State Water Project contracts to the Legislature for public review, prior to those agencies moving forward with Delta Tunnel work.

Testifying before the committee were Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli and Barbara Barrigan-Parrillo of Restore the Delta. SB 204 heads next to Appropriations.

“The Delta Counties Coalition believes SB 204 will bring greater transparency through legislative oversight to the second-largest proposed public works project in California history,” Supervisor Nottoli said. “This legislation is necessary to ensure that the public will be informed of project construction and design-related impacts and how billions of public funds will be spent. It makes good sense that the Legislature should have oversight of a project of this magnitude because it will have lasting detrimental impacts on the environment and Delta communities.”

The bill is co-authored by members of the Legislative Delta Caucus, including co-chair Assemblymember Jim Frazier, Assemblymembers Susan Eggman, Jim Cooper, Tim Grayson, Kevin McCarty, and Senators Cathleen Galgiani, Richard Pan, and Steve Glazer.

It was the second of two water-related bills from Sen. Dodd to clear the Natural Resources and Water committee Tuesday. Senate Bill 19, which directs the Department of Water Resources to develop upgraded stream gages across the state, also advanced. The bill will help the state better manage its precious water resources.

State Water Board Announces Sweeping Investigation and Phased Sampling of Potential Industrial and Municipal Sources of PFAS

From Downey Brand:

On March 6, 2019, the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) announced a sweeping investigation to study and sample potential sources of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water sources during a public workshop with federal and state agency stakeholders. The State Water Board’s statewide investigation and phased sampling will impact a variety of potential industrial and municipal sources of PFAS, including airports, landfills, manufacturing facilities, bulk terminals, and wastewater treatment facilities.

PFAS are highly fluorinated manmade compounds that are resistant to heat, water and oil. They are used in fire suppression foams and in a wide range of products designed to be waterproof, stain‑resistant or non‑stick, such as carpets, furniture, cookware, clothing and food packaging. PFAS have also been found in drinking water supplies and are reported to have a variety of adverse health effects.

Click here to read more from Downey Brand.

Changes Coming to California Water Rights Enforcement – Are You in Compliance?

From Brownstein Hyatt Farber Shreck:

As in years past, Brownstein’s California Water Group is pleased to provide you with our California Water Rights: Compliance Checklist for 2019. This checklist provides a summary of state water right reporting requirements and applicable deadlines for water users in California. It is important to meet the required reporting deadlines to maintain and protect your right to water in California.

Compliance with these requirements is now more important than ever. In the past year, there has been a noticeable uptick in the number of noticed enforcement hearings in front of the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board), which is responsible for the administration of all surface water rights in California. The State Board maintains a list of all water right filing deficiencies. If not corrected, water users with deficient filings may be subject to enforcement.

Additionally, water users should be aware that changes to the State Board’s administration of water rights may be coming over the next year. To deal with the challenges of administering over 40,000 water rights, the State Board is in the process of developing a Water Rights Enforcement Policy. The State Board expects this policy will clarify its approach to water rights administration to ensure that enforcement is fair, equitable and consistent across all water users in California.

On March 1, 2019, the State Board began hosting a series of information and outreach sessions to gather input on the proposed Water Rights Enforcement Policy. However, a draft policy has not yet been issued. By coordinating with the regulated community and stakeholders, we hope the State Board will draft a transparent Water Rights Enforcement Policy that is both protective of water rights and provides straightforward guidance to water right holders about the actions they need to take to stay in compliance. As this policy takes shape, we encourage you to track the proposed Water Rights Enforcement Policy and how it may affect your water rights.

With the upcoming April 1 deadline for surface water diverters to report their water use to the State Board, use our California Water Rights: Compliance Checklist to find:

  • Our summary of filings required for all surface water and groundwater users in California, including links to applicable forms and resources
  • Our summary of new requirements for 2019
  • A calendar of key annual filing deadlines
Click here for the Water Rights Compliance Checklist for 2018 from Brownstein Hyatt Farber Shreck.

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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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