A call for leadership and compromise to ease water woes for California farmers was made to members of Congress in a letter sent this week from 11 California agriculture groups. Emergency drought relief bills passed this year in the U.S. Senate (S. 2198, the Emergency Drought Relief Act) and the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 3964, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act) are currently being reconciled. Time, however, is running out for legislators to produce a final bill. Ag producers and their communities are urgently in need of a change in the law. Congress is scheduled to recess for a five-week summer break on July 31, and they will have only a very short time in September before Congress recesses for the election.
A study released today by economists from the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences depicts a significant socioeconomic impact on the state of California due to this year’s drought. Using extrapolated estimates released on May 19, 2014, researchers reported that water shortages and the continuing drought will cost the state $2.2 billion and cost Californians over 17,000 seasonal, part-time and full-time jobs.
As a result of California SB 103, an emergency drought relief measure, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has announced that it is now accepting applications for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP). Applicants may apply for an estimated $10 million in competitive grants that can be used for the implementation of water conservation measures that result in increased water efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
In hearings this week, the State Water Resources Control Board (Board) considered a proposed resolution regarding drought-related emergency regulations for curtailment of water diversions. The authority to adopt emergency measures was made possible through Governor Jerry Brown’s emergency drought declaration which occurred on January 17, 2014 and was continued in his April 25th proclamation.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that an $8.25-billion dollar California water bond due to be unveiled today in Sacramento at an Appropriations Committee hearing has been put on hold until Assembly members could come to agreement on more details before the bill is introduced publicly. The compromise legislation represents the middle ground of proposals -- at least in terms of cost -- falling between Governor Jerry Brown’s $6-billion package and Sen. Lois Wolk’s $10.5 billion bond legislation.
The Western Growers’ Board of Directors, who descended upon Washington, D.C., for the association’s board meeting in mid-May, left town believing there still remains a window of opportunity for action on immigration reform this year.
As a result of California SB 103, an emergency drought relief measure, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has announced that it is now accepting applications for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP). Applicants may apply for an estimated $10 million in competitive grants that can be used to for the implementation of water conservation measures that result in increased water efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
A California appellate court in San Francisco heard arguments in a case that is likely to affect how broadly—or narrowly—California’s State Water Resources Control Board can apply the state’s most powerful water law.