Colorado River, Lifeline Of The West, Sees Historic Water Shortage Declaration

Kirk Siegler : npr – excerpt (excerpt) includes audio track and transcript

The first-ever shortage declaration on the Colorado River forces arid Western states to re-examine their relationship with resources many take for granted, drinking water and cheap hydroelectricity.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For the first time ever, the U.S. government declared a shortage on the Colorado River last week. That means states like Arizona that rely on the river for their water supply are seeing big cutbacks as a punishing drought continues in the west. The Colorado River and its tributaries are a lifeline to some 40 million people in multiple states, including in California, who rely on it for drinking water. The river also irrigates countless farms and generates lots of cheap hydropower. So a shortage on the Colorado is a big deal, and we wanted to hear more about that. We asked NPR’s Kirk Siegler to talk us through it. He covers the West and has been reporting on the Colorado River for years…(more)

Will California’s Water Wars Create A Constitutional Conundrum?

: KQED – excerpt

With nearly half the state back in drought, California’s water regulator held a contentious hearing in Sacramento on Tuesday on whether to make permanent the temporary water bans enacted by Governor Jerry Brown during the 2014-2017 drought.

The board announced it will revisit the proposed measures in March while it makes some minor revisions to the draft proposals.

Some of the proposed measures relate to restrictions against over watering lawns; hosing down driveways and sidewalks;  washing vehicles with hoses not equipped with a shut-off nozzle; and running non-recirculated water in an ornamental fountain. Certain exceptions would apply for public health and safety reasons or commercial agricultural purposes… (more)

 

Worthy topics for Jerry Brown – but it’s an election year

Worthy topics for Jerry Brown – but it’s an election year

By Phillip Matier And Andrew Ross : sfgate – excerpt

Gov. Jerry Brown pretty much kicked off his re-election campaign the other day with his State of the State address when he told the assembled lawmakers and media, “I used to say, ‘Take the ins and throw them out – take the outs and throw them in.’ I don’t say that anymore.”

So let’s look at some of the issues that may give Brown fits, starting with his two biggest projects – the largely unfunded, $68 billion high-speed rail line and the twin tunnels that would send Northern California water south.

Neither one is exactly a winner with voters these days.

“I certainly wouldn’t vote for them,” said state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, who happens to be the front-runner to succeed retiring Rep. George Miller in Washington – which is where much of the money for those projects would have to come from… (more)

Governor says state is above the law when it comes to drought

Governor says state is above the law when it comes to drought

centralvalleybusinesstimes – excerpt

California’s primary environmental protection law, the California Environmental Quality Act, doesn’t apply to the state when it comes to the drought.

Fish or whatever CEQA tries to protect will no longer have that shield under Gov. Jerry Brown’s declaration of a state of emergency because of the drought. Also to be ignored is compliance with water quality plans.

In the governor’s mind and declaration, the state Department of Water Resources and the Water Board can ignore CEQA if it hampers the release of reservoir water or transfers of water between the state and federal irrigation projects… (more)

Comments on the source suggested, as well as messages to state officials.

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