You Can Be Your Own Qualified Individual For Diversions! AB 589 Passed October 4 – Training Coming Soon

Good news for folks who want to install, certify, measure and maintain their own devices!  AB 589 passed on October 4, and now any landowner, or their lessee or employee, can take the class and do all the required stuff to measure and record his own diversion flows / volumes.

I have not heard what the class dates might be, or whether it is online, and so on.  As soon as I do, I will sure put the word out there.  Meanwhile, let’s hope for another wetter-than-average winter – abundant water solves most of the demand issues.

 

Assembly Bill No. 589

CHAPTER 471

An act to add and repeal Section 1841.5 to, the Water Code, relating to water rights.

[ Approved by Governor  October 04, 2017. Filed with Secretary of State  October 04, 2017. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 589, Bigelow. Water diversion: monitoring and reporting: University of California Cooperative Extension.

Existing law requires a person who diverts 10 acre-feet of water or more per year under a permit or license to install and maintain a device or employ a method capable of measuring the rate of direct diversion, rate of collection to storage, and rate of withdrawal or release from storage, as specified and with certain exceptions. Existing law requires the measurements to be made using the best available technologies and best professional practices using a device or methods satisfactory to the State Water Resources Control Board. Existing law requires a permittee or licensee to demonstrate to the board at 5-year intervals that a measuring device is functioning properly, as specified.

Existing law authorizes the board to adopt regulations requiring measurement and reporting of water diversion and use by persons including, but not limited to, those authorized to appropriate water under a permit, license, or registration for small irrigation use or livestock stockpond use, or a certification for livestock stockpond use.

This bill, until January 1, 2023, would require any diverter, as defined, who has completed an instructional course regarding the devices or measurement method administered by the University of California Cooperative Extension, including passage of a proficiency test before the completion of the course, to be considered a qualified individual when installing and maintaining devices or implementing methods of measurement that were taught in the course for the diverter’s diversion. The bill would require the University of California Cooperative Extension and the board to develop the curriculum of the course and the proficiency test.

Vote: majority   Appropriation: no   Fiscal Committee: yes   Local Program: no

 

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1.

Section 1841.5 is added to the Water Code, to read:

1841.5.

(a) For the purposes of a device installed pursuant to Section 1840 or 1841 or a method of measurement proposed and adopted pursuant to Section 934 or 935 of Title 23 of the California Code of Regulations, any diverter who has completed an instructional course regarding the devices or measurement method included in the course administered by the University of California Cooperative Extension, including passage of a proficiency test before the completion of the course, shall be considered a qualified individual when installing and maintaining devices or implementing methods of measurement that were taught in the course for the diverter’s diversion. The proficiency test shall seek to certify that the diverter has a satisfactory understanding of the principles of measurement and the use of a measurement method included in the course or the installation of a device. The University of California Cooperative Extension and the board shall develop the curriculum of the course and the proficiency test. The University of California Cooperative Extension and the board shall ensure the course curriculum and the proficiency test do not conflict with any state licensing acts.

(b) For purposes of this section, “diverter” means an individual authorized to divert water under a valid water right, a lessee of property that is subject to a water right who is acting as a representative of the water right holder, or a bona fide employee of the water right holder or lessee.

(c) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2023, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute that is enacted before January 1, 2023, deletes or extends that date.

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Reasoning With Regulators, Benefitting From Bureaucrats – Update

I worked 30 years as a bureaucrat.  That gave me first-hand immersion in working with members of the public, especially water right holders who divert water from various streams in Northern California.  When it comes to property rights, owners are intensely interested in getting problems solved, fast and hopefully permanently.  As a property owner I will get the help of whoever I can and whoever it takes to solve my problem.  On the flip side, when I worked for state government, I sure know what worked to get me to work on someone’s problem!

Whenever you divert water, you deal with people.  Your neighbors are very interested in what you divert.  They want you to use only your water right and hopefully less…and they want every possible law applied against whoever takes more than their legal share.

Laws are made by people.  I’m not talking about God’s Laws which are not in your or my control.  The man-made documents and organizations that establish, make, change, and enforce water laws and rules include:

  • the California Constitution
  • the Legislature
  • the Governor
  • Courts at various levels
  • everyone’s favorite: federal, state, and local agencies

file581310649632Agencies, otherwise known as bureaucracies, all have one thing in common.  To emphasize a very important point: they are all run and staffed by people.  Some folks are easy to deal with, others aren’t.  Some are truly caring human beings, and others hide behind the policies of their employer.

What exactly is a bureaucracy?  Here is a very good explanation:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bureaucracy

By the way, corporations are the same as bureaucracies in a lot of ways.  Since we are talking about the diversion of surface water, that means bureaucracies.  And bureaucrats.

There are some money-saving, hassle-saving methods to dealing with bureaucrats.  These are time-tested and have worked for me and many others.  When other people acted this way with me, when I was a bureaucrat, to get me to do something even when I was too busy, it worked!  Hopefully these practices and techniques will aid you in dealing with an agency or a particularly difficult bureaucrat.

  1. Do some research.  “Google It”, as the saying goes, and learn about the agency you are dealing with.  (Actually, I am using Bing and DuckDuckGo as much as Google these days, to get accurate instead of popular results.)  Search for comments by people who had the same problem as you.  How did they handle it, and what was the result?  Did someone have a particularly effective way of getting a problem solved?  It might be worth an hour of your time to use the Internet to find out everything you can first.
  2. Document your problem in writing before contacting a bureaucracy, with text, photos, maps, drawings, contacts, everything you can get on paper.  Scan it if possible so everything you have can be emailed.
  3. Assuming you are calling or talking to the person, write everything down.  E-ver-y single thing.  Date all the entries.  Get each person’s name.  You might buy a cheap spiral bound notebook at a WalMart or Dollar store – or buy a few, and the ones you don’t use when dealing with bureaucrats you can use for a diary, or shopping lists, or dealing with corporations.  Let the person know that you are keeping careful notes.
  4. Always be polite, and especially so during the first few contacts about a problem.  Do not threaten, curse, yell, or any of those things that would be classified as “impolite”.  If the person you are talking to gets unpleasant, just keep a record of it for later, and maintain your calm demeanor.
  5. Explain your problem or need in as few, relevant words as possible.  Boil your problem into one or two specific things that you need done.  That way a helpful person can get you the help you need quickly, without strain on your vocal cords or his or her ear.
  6. Don’t share your life story, complaints about your neighbor’s dog, the hassle you had getting your car repaired, or go into what a rotten, horrible person your neighbor is.  That is wasted time.  Unless what you say bears directly on the problem, it takes away working time from the person listening on the other end of the phone line, or reading your email, or sitting across the table from you.  There may not be enough time left to solve your problem!
  7. Give thanks and credit to the people who help you.  Call their boss, or write the boss a note about the great work they did in helping you.  Let everyone else you talk to about your problem know about those helpful people.
  8. If a bureaucrat says “It’s not my job”, politely explain the person’s statutory/legal/moral or other obligation to help you, and the terrible consequences to you if the person does not carry out his or her agency’s mission.  Give a reasonable estimate of the economic harm or cost involved.
  9. On the other hand, if the answer you get is “I have no idea how”, don’t get frustrated, get more contacts from the person.  You’ll be following a trail, sometimes clear, sometimes through thick brush.
  10. If you are talking to the right person and cannot get the help you need, or an exemption from a rule, or whatever help you are looking for, ask to talk to the bureaucrat’s boss.  Don’t insult the employee to the boss, just explain to the boss that he or she has the great power needed to help you.
  11. If the boss cannot help, ask to talk to his or her boss.  See the pattern here?  Be courageous and go up the line as high as you need to go.
  12. Take a few minutes and search online for the names and contact information of the people on the Board, or the Director, or the Chief, of the bureaucracy you are dealing with.  It can help to let a bureaucrat know that you know who these people are, and while you really don’t want to have to go that far, you will contact them if necessary.
  13. If you are being harassed or threatened by an agency and you are pretty sure they are going above and beyond their authority or normal practice, there are ways to get them to back off or slow down and listen.  Sometimes mentioning that they may be in violation of RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, can give them pause.  Ask them for all communications in writing – that can cut up to half of bureaucratic actions off right at the knees.  Ask bureaucrats to include references to all laws, rules, regulations, codes, court cases, etc., that they are relying on.
  14. Find the agencies, boards, or people to whom you can file a complaint, if you have exhausted all normal ways of getting the help you need and you haven’t been helped.  You may even have to enlist the help of staff at your state legislator’s office, or your congressperson.
  15. Although it is expensive, you may have to hire an attorney.

That’s a long list, but if you are dealing with the State Water Resources Control Board, a lot of those folks are reasonable people.  The main problem at the Board is that these folks have five times the work to do than they can get done.  You’ll probably have to call several times to get someone’s attention.  See Rules 1 and 2 above!

StateWaterBoardHomePage

Telemetry Required On Diversions Over 20% Of Stream, or 30 CFS, or 10,000 AF+… By 2020; One Hardware Option Listed Here

According to the State Water Resources Control Board Drought Emergency Regulations, some diversions must be telemetered.   This does not applied to diverters under State or court-appointed watermaster service…their Watermaster IS their telemetry most of the time, by visits, phone, and email.

Stream Gage - Photo Credit: usgs.gov
Telemetered Stream Gage – Photo Credit: usgs.gov

 Which diversions must have telemetry, and when?  If you have read Paragraph (4) of the regulations (below), you have noticed that it is not easy to understand.  It took me 12 reads before I really figured it out…and I have read and applied more than 20 water rights court decrees over the last 12 years.

We’ll start with “when“.  Telemetering has to be installed and working by the end of 2019, to meet the Jan. 1, 2020 deadline.  That is, unless your diversion is from one of four named watersheds tributary to the Russian River…and all those folks are talking with the Water Board and know what their special deadlines are.

Now the “which“:

—–>  Anyone who diverts 10,000 AF per year or more.  What amount of diversion is this?  “It depends” is the usual answer.  Here are some examples:

  • A constant diversion of 27.8 cfs for 6 months, from one or more diversions to the same owner, and maybe to any lessor
  • A constant diversion of 21.8 cfs for 8 months, from one or more diversions to the same owner, and maybe to any lessor
  • A more real-life example is of a diversion that starts at 100% of the water right, say on April 1, and declines to 50% at the end of the season, say September 30.  For a steadily declining diversion over 6 months, the beginning rate is 37 cfs, and the diversion amount would drop to 19 cfs by the end of September.
  • Stretching out the season to 8 months, say March 1 to October 31, a diversion of 28 cfs declining steadily to 14 cfs.

—–>  Anyone who has a reservoir that can store 10,000 AF.  It does not matter if the actual diversion is zero, or 1,000 AF, the capacity makes the difference.

—–>  Anyone who diverts 30 cfs or more at ANY time, June through September.  Wouldn’t someone know if his or her diversion ever hits the 30 cfs mark?  Many times, no, especially when surplus flows early in the season may allow a diversion to take 20% to 50% more than the water right.  (Surplus flows are allowed for some water rights, not for others, that’s another subject….)

—–>  Anyone who diverts more than 1/5 of a creek or river (or maybe just 1/10 if the Board gives notice) that has a stream gage online, and who is on certain north coast streams, or Deer, Mill, or Antelope Creeks tributary to the Sacramento River, or 4 tributaries to the Russian River, …OR HAS, OR USED TO HAVE THREATENED, ENDANGERED, OR PROTECTED FISH.  That last is the big deal and encompasses most of California’s waterways below the dams!  I suspect it does not apply at this time to most streams above Shasta and Friant Dams, since those were built prior to the passage of the federal Endangered Species Act in 1973.  The main concern on the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers are listed spring and winter run Chinook salmon.  One or more fish species could be listed in the future on these above-dam streams, which is a potential issue just about everywhere.  Here’s a way-out-there thought – if agencies truck salmon up above the dams, are the fish still listed?

State Water Resources Control Board Resolution No. 2016-0005
To Adopt a Drought Emergency Regulation For Measuring And Reporting Water Diversions

telem_1

telem_2

One Way To Telemeter A Diversion

There are out-of-the-box options for telemetry – I’ll mention just one here:  the In-Situ

in-situ_rugged_troll_200_loggerRugged Troll 200 Data Logger and Tube 300 Telemetry System.

The Troll 200 Data Logger ($595) can run independently without telemetry, or be attached to the Tube 300R Telemetry System ($1,320).  The Troll 200 is non-vented, so like the Onset Hobo data loggers mentioned in earlier posts, an extra unit is needed for air pressure to correct the water level (pressure) recorded by the unit in the water.  The cable and software for the Troll 200 are about $375.

The total unit cost for 2 Troll 200s, a Tube 300R, and accessories, is about $2,900.  Tax, shipping, and installation will add $600 and up, depending on location, elevation, and the length of the dirt road going in; and difficulty at the site and vandalism potential will add costs, too.  $3,500 + for telemetered water level logging is not cheap, but it is a lot less than a full-on gaging station with satellite radio, which costs $12,000 and up for components, and over $2,000 to install in easy locations.  Telemetry is expensive, there is no way of getting around that fact.

The Tube 300R requires a separate phone number for each water in-situ_tube_300r_telemetrylevel logger, and cell service.  In-Situ offers the option of $35/month web hosting, on its HydroVu Cloud Data Services Plan.  This cost is in addition to the Tube 300R, cell phone service, and installation.

But What About MY Water Right? I Don’t Care About Someone Else’s.

Senior Rights
  Water Rights Certificate. Photo: Los Angeles Daily News

Do you have a water right?  Then that is the one you care about.  General information is interesting, but not too useful or relevant.  When it comes down to it, your water right is the one you have to understand eight ways from
Sunday, and your water right is the one you have to defend.

But look at rights from another angle.  What rights do we as citizens of the United States all have, that we all really need to know?  Every U.S. citizen wants to be able to say what he wants, go to church or not, and attend political and protest meetings.  Where does it say that the federal government cannot prohibit or compel certain speech, church participation, and attend political meetings?

Of course you know that these rights are protected by the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution.  Most of us learned this before we got

http://www.educationviews.org/law-protect-free-speech-top-churchman/
Free Speech Protest. Photo Credit: educationviews.org

to high school.  482 short words protect your and my freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition; right to keep and bear arms; right not to be forced to quarter soldiers; freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures; right to due process of law, freedom from self-incrimination, freedom from being tried twice for the same allegation; rights of accused persons, (speedy and public trial); right of trial by jury in civil cases; freedom from excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishments; other rights of the people; powers reserved to the states.

Imagine having your house searched and not knowing what rights protect you.  How could you demand that soldiers do not forcibly enter your home, without

Warrant Sign, Photo Credit: 24hourbrowardbailbonds.com
Warrant Sign, Photo Credit: 24hourbrowardbailbonds.com

any knowledge of the 3rd Amendment?  Or, imagine being arrested during a traffic stop because you refused to let police search your vehicle.  What if you didn’t know anything about the 4th Amendment, which protects you against unreasonable searches and seizures?  How quickly life, liberty, and property can be lost when the accused does not know his or her constitutional rights!

How does this relate to water rights?  Who knows, you or one of your family might buy land with a different kind of water right.  If you have a summary understanding of water rights, you’ll be in a lot better place to know what the right is worth, how much water you might really get, and when.  What if an attorney or a government agency tells you that your property lost its water right – how could you even know you have an argument without some basic understanding?  Even when landowners get legal help, it can be pretty expensive…where knowing in advance could save hassle, time, and money.

One of my earlier posts has a bullet list that can be memorized, or printed on a card for a wallet or purse:

  1. Riparian – a parcel that touches a stream, spring or lake may use a ” reasonable and beneficial” amount, quantity and rate undefined, per the California Constitution.
  2. Rancho rights granted by the government of Spain or Mexico, prior to Statehood in 1850.
  3. Pueblo rights, the one belonging to Los Angeles being famous.
  4. Appropriative in 1913 and prior, aka “pre-1914”, for parcels not touching a body of water, which started with gold mining and is now mostly for agriculture.
  5. Post-1914 appropriative rights  issued by the State Water Resources Control Board.
  6. Adjudicated, or decreed, from Federal District or State Superior Court.
  7. Groundwater from a well, similar to surface water riparian but for the overlying land.
  8. Prescriptive, which isn’t a definite right until decreed by a court.
  9. Contracts, which are not rights but rely on some already-existing right(s).

Please leave a comment, correction, complaint, humor, or other message below:

For comparison purposes, here is the United States Bill Of Rights, conveniently available on the home page of the Bill Of Rights Institute:

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the

U.S. Constitution, Photo Credit: constitution.org
U.S. Constitution, Photo Credit: constitution.org

government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Update – Worried about SB 88? That’s the problem I solve for you!

Worried about SB 88?  That’s what this blog is for!  Here is where you will find information you need, and can put to use, on selecting and installing flow measurement devices.  If you need help, Rights To Water Engineering can help you meet the law quickly and at a relatively low cost.  (530) 526-0134

California Senate Bill 88 is effective as of January 1, 2016.  Here is the part that affects private or small agricultural diverters the most:

SB88_Art3_Clip

Here is a convenient table that summarizes the Water Board‘s more specific regulations.  I added the two columns on the right to give folks an idea of how the volumes relate to water rights:

SWRCB Measurement and Recording Requirements for 2017 (diverters exempted where Watermaster reports)
SWRCB Measurement and Recording Requirements for 2017 (diverters exempted where Watermaster reports)

Five Times More Water Rights Than Average Runoff In California! But, So What? Who Cares?

L.A. Times – Rights to California surface water far greater than average runoff ………. California WaterBlog – California water rights: You can’t manage what you don’t measure ………. SacBee – California allocates vastly more water than supplies allow, study shows

You have read the articles – California’s water rights are WAY more than the average annual runoff!  The system is broken!  Agriculture is to blame – gosh, those capitalist farmers and ranchers are using precious water to make…Food!  Wood!  Paper!  Clothing!  Flowers!  A living, even Profits!  It’s obvious that I am using sarcasm; larger corporate farms notwithstanding, it’s not a big income-earning concern.  More people are leaving farms and ranches for easier work schedules and stable incomes, than are getting into farming.

From the L.A. Times – In California, rights to water exceed the supply :

“On some major river systems, especially in the parched San Joaquin Valley, the over-allocation is jaw-opening. On the San Joaquin River itself, people have rights to nearly nine times more water than flows down from the Sierra. On the Kern, it’s six times. On the Stanislaus, four.

“Water rights exceed average natural runoff on 16 major rivers, UC Davis researchers found last year. And they were only counting so-called junior rights — those granted after 1914, the last time the Legislature updated California’s convoluted water allocation system.

 

Based on the actual, not theoretical, effect of these water rights, we should be saying, “So what?”  Why is that, you ask?  For very good, practical reasons, as detailed here.

Decreed (adjudicated) surface water rights usually have maximum amounts, and reductions in supply are addressed by the decree specifying that lower priorities must shut off diversions first.  If all are the same priority, then everyone shares the losses by taking the same percentage reduction in flow.  Surplus flows can be diverted under many decrees, not under others, but availability of surplus diversions usually means flows are higher than average, and anyway they come earlier in the season, before flows drop in the summer.  The great majority of these rights are for agriculture, which either feeds you and me, or is sold outside the State and adds to our economy and government coffers.  I say, Who cares?  Limits on the use of these water rights are forever in place!

Riparian water rights have correlative shares of the available water…and reduced supply means riparian diverters must reduce diversions correlatively.  Sure, riparian diverters can divert as much as they can use reasonably and beneficially, according to the California Constitution, Article X, Section 2.  But, So what?  Who cares?  The acreage with riparian rights decreases every single year, as parcels with riparian rights are split.  The resultant parcels not adjacent to the stream no longer have riparian rights, except in the very rare case of a landowner getting an attorney’s help to deliberately reserve riparian rights on newly split parcels.

What about appropriative rights?  Think about it this way: pre-1914 appropriative water rights were maximized in…1914!  As World War I was starting, when the population was about 3 million compared to today’s 39 million, there were no more pre-1914 rights.  Regarding these senior water rights, So what?  Who cares?

What about post-1914 appropriative water rights?  As Hamlet said, “Ay, there’s the rub!”  Post-1914 water rights have grown steadily since 1915, as they were continually issued first by the State Water Commission, and then by its successor, the State Water Resources Control Board.  These are water rights are junior to all of those listed above, and they are conditioned, or limited, by the Water Board.  As shown during the last couple of years, the Water Board has the power to order the curtailment of some or all of these junior rights.  I say again, So what?  Who cares?

“Aha!”, say some, “You forgot that groundwater is making up all the shortage!  And that all comes from surface water!”  Yes, and in 2014, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act was passed to address exactly that.  It will take some years, but withdrawals will be more stable, by law, in years to come.  There would not BE groundwater deficits if surface water could get around the Delta as it originally did with SWP and CVP.  It is not for lack of money in the past to pay for pumps or even the planned peripheral canal, and it is not for the lack of technology to move the water.  It is for environmental reasons that the planned volume of water does not make it to the San Joaquin Valley.  But, that’s a subject for some later post.

Let’s be really absurd, and imagine that in California, the amount of water rights issued is ONE MILLION TIMES the average annual runoff!!!  If the average annual runoff is 70 million acre-feet, the water rights are now 70 Trillion, 70,000,000,000,000 AF Per Year!  Let’s all run around with our hair on fire!  But, what does this really mean?

If we have the same reservoirs for storage, then no more can be stored.  If there is half the runoff in a drought year, farmers, ranchers, cities, manufacturers, and other human users can still only capture and use a certain amount.  Having no more plumbing – reservoirs and canals – means a lot of water is still going to be in streams, and making it to the Pacific Ocean.  That’s “environmental” water for fisheries and other aquatic species.

If we have a record wet year, same thing.  Humans can still only capture and use what the plumbing allows.  A much higher percentage of water is available for non-human, environmental uses.  Same Plumbing = Same Maximum Water Use, regardless of water rights.

Let’s flip the argument around and imagine a California in which the average annual runoff is five times the water rights.  Put another way, total water rights are only one fifth the average annual runoff.  What would the State look like then?

This would be a lot closer to the non-human, environmental paradise imagined by the left-leaning populations of our densely-populated cities.  Scale back agriculture by a factor of 5, and then the rest of the State economy with it.  We would look more like a larger New Mexico, maybe a Colorado, than we do today.  And our 39 million residents?  We would have more like 8 million, as we had in World War II.  So, which 4 out of 5 choose to leave the State to bring about this flora and fauna utopia for the 1/5 that are left?  What, nobody is volunteering to leave California, and donate their property to the Sierra Club, to make this greater environmental national monument happen??  I didn’t think so.

This may be repetitious, but:  SO WHAT?  WHO CARES?

Finally, Moving On San Joaquin V. GW Recharge! Good Thing – Board Wants More Sac. R. Fish Flows

Delta Tunnel Alternative: Embracing Flooding for Water Supply

At last!  The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is seriously considering

Tulare Basin, Photo Credit: usgs.gov
Tulare Basin, Photo Credit: usgs.gov

planning for flooding the Tulare Basin and other San Joaquin Valley fields in the winter for groundwater recharge!  I worked at DWR for 30 years, and there were proponents of recharge when I started in 1986…actually, since the 1977-1978 drought.  I kept waiting for a pilot program to test it.  Stony Creek in Glenn County was put forward in the 80’s and 90’s…and then nothing.  The meadow restoration crowd said another 100,000 acre-foot “reservoir” could be made in upper Stony Creek just by building check dams, deepening and widening meadows.  Between the top and bottom of just one creek, maybe 160,000 AF of new storage per year!

I worked on the proposed Sites Reservoir and personally, I am all for it.  However, it’s dumb not to include every increment of winter-time storage possible.  When the floods come then put some of them in the ground.

The recent news article on this quotes David Gutierrez of DWR as saying, “That will not solve everything. There will be no silver bullet,” said David Gutierrez, executive manager of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Program at the California Department of Water Resources. “But it’s a combination of these ideas together that will help us do better than we’ve been doing in the past.”  With due respect to Mr. Gutierrez, this is bureaucrat-speak for “We’ll add this in if the Legislature will get behind Delta Tunnels and above-ground storage first, and also stabilize DWR’s General Fund budget.”  As a former bureaucrat I get it; if DWR divides its focus, that’ll let anti-tunnels interests more easily short-circuit tunnels.  Come on though, bureaucrats, get behind some wins and get momentum going!  To be fair, state agencies work for the Governor and can’t lobby…but they do have some latitude to do pilot projects and steer some discretionary funds where they will do good.

And about time, too, since OTHER bureaucrats want to take some water from Northern California diverters and leave it in the Sacramento River for fish.  When I was watermastering, and in fact throughout my 30-year career, that was the top accusation/complaint I got:  “The State of California just wants to take away our water and send it to Southern California and fish.”  I was always able to say, “No, that’s not it, we’re just looking for ways to get the water that already flows downstream across the Delta, and time reservoir releases better for fisheries.”  I sure can’t say that anymore!

California eyes more Sacramento River water for fish, less for farms, cities

The article in the Sacramento Bee says in part: “Water board
Chairwoman Felicia Marcus cautioned that Wednesday’s staff report is merely a draft. She said her agency wants various groups to submit comments before it makes a decision, sometime next year. She said the board will take into account human needs before adopting any comprehensive plan.
swrcb_web_page-edited

Bull.  I call cow pies (I try hard not to cuss).  The Water Board is part of the California Environmental Protection Agency now, including the Division of Water Rights.  Has been for some years, and many of the more balanced staff have retired, as they hire more environmental activist enforcers.  From what I have seen, a majority of the non-Water Board part of Cal/EPA executive, managers, and staff believe non-humans have more right to the water than humans.

Quoting again from the article:  The water board first floated the concept of dedicating more of the Sacramento and San Joaquin watersheds to the environment in 2010, triggering feverish warnings from a coalition of water agencies that up to 1.7 million acres of farmland would be idled as a result. With the proposals now taking on greater urgency, water users are responding with renewed alarm.

It’s both predictable and troublesome,’ said Tim Quinn of the Association of California Water Agencies, which represents urban and rural districts. He argued that the state should also examine other measures to help fish, such as habitat restoration.

As many of you diverters have predicted for years, now the troublesome proposal is nearly a reality – an anguishing, changing world for you who work at least half-days (6 A.M. to 6 P.M.) to grow our food in businesses that get thanks from a small percentage of Californians.