BBID Celebrates California Water Week

Byron, CA (October 10th, 2017) – In recognition of the first-ever California Water Professionals Appreciation Week, Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) is thanking its dedicated staff, whose commitment to reliable, efficient water deliveries ensures water is always flowing for our farmers.

The District produced the below video, celebrating the important role our water professionals play.

Water Professionals Appreciation Week was established by Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 80, approved by the Legislature on Sept. 13 and chaptered on Sept. 19.

Turlock Journal: Water Rights Bill Awaits Governor’s Signature

From the Turlock Journal:

A landmark passage of water rights legislation occurred over the weekend when Assemblyman Adam Gray’s Assembly Bill 313 received final approval on the last day of the legislative session – the next-to-final step toward becoming law for the bill, which requires that unbiased administrative law judges conduct water rights enforcement hearings, rather than the State Water Board.

Read more below.

Turlock Journal - Water Rights Bill Awaits Governor's Signature (9.19.17)

Modesto Bee: Law Would Bring Fairness to Water Board Disputes

On September 17th, The Modesto Bee penned an editorial calling on the public to urge Governor Brown to sign Assembly Bill 313, water rights reform legislation supported by Byron-Bethany Irrigation District.

The Bee says, “AB313 is all about one thing – fairness.”

AB 313 passed in the Senate on the final day of the Legislative session and now awaits the Governor’s signature.

9-17-17 - Law would bring fairness to water board disputes | The Modesto Bee

BBID-Backed Water Reform Bill Passes, Securing Key Victory for Water Rights Holders

Sacramento, CA (September 16th, 2017) – In a resounding victory for fairness and good governance, lawmakers decisively passed a major water reform bill on the final day of the Legislative session. Assembly Bill 313, introduced by Adam Gray (D-Merced) and backed by Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID), makes critical changes to restore due process for the state’s water rights holders.

“We congratulate Assemblyman Gray for successfully championing this issue. The passage of this bill secures a victory for California’s communities that rely upon foundational water rights for the lifeline of reliable water,” said BBID GM Rick Gilmore. “AB 313 received strong, bipartisan support from the get-go, a clear sign this issue stretched across party lines. Thanks to Assemblyman Gray’s leadership, AB 313 is one signature away from becoming law.”

BBID provided technical support in crafting the bill, which removes built-in conflicts of interest by establishing a new water rights management structure. AB 313 requires unbiased, administrative law judges to hear all water rights matters in a newly-created Water Rights Division in the Office of Administrative Hearings. The shift ensures these often complicated, controversial matters are heard by a neutral body.

Currently, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) exercises near-comprehensive control over California’s water rights. The SWRCB writes regulations, initiates enforcement actions, and conducts hearings in its own courtroom in which Board staff act as the prosecution and Board members act as judge and jury.

In a statement posted on his website, Assemblyman Gray said, “The region I represent is the target of a massive water grab from the State Water Resources Control Board. A water grab of this size would cost the local economy hundreds of millions of dollars. Despite receiving thousands of comments refuting the faulty science contained in their report, and repeated requests from community leaders to fully consider the impact of jeopardizing the drinking water supply of thousands of people, the water board is poised to dismiss our concerns and adopt the report. If there is any lesson this fight has taught me, it is that the Legislature has handed far too much power over to bureaucrats who simply do not care about the people I represent.”

Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) represents the 21st Assembly District, encompassing all of Merced County and portions of Stanislaus County.

“Throughout my time in the legislature, I have been working to restore fairness and create checks on the power of unelected bureaucrats on the State Water Board,” continued Gray. “The passage of AB 313 is a step in the right direction. This bill levels the playing field by ensuring that water rights holders receive the same due process and objectivity that our justice system promises everyone – nothing more, nothing less.”

AB 313’s productive transfer of power eliminates any potential duplicative efforts for any similar hearings and responsibility to fall under the SWRCB.

The bill now heads to Governor Brown’s desk for his signature.

UPDATE: BBID Crews Make Emergency Repairs After Irrigation Line Struck

Byron, CA (August 31, 2017) – Emergency repairs are underway to restore water service to Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) growers, after an irrigation line was struck early Thursday morning.

A contractor with Contra Costa County was working to modify the intersection of Camino Diablo and Byron Highway when the pipe was struck, interrupting service to several BBID growers.

BBID crews are excavating the damaged pipe, and are working to make repairs.

Service is expected to be restored by the end of the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE: Repairs are complete. The backfill operation will occur Friday morning, and water deliveries will resume at 9 a.m.

BBID Makes Donation to New California Water Web Initiative

Byron, CA (August 21, 2017) – On Monday, the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) announced it will present a charitable donation to help fund a new online initiative to bring California water together, the California Water Library. The new website will be a one-stop shop for thousands of water industry reports, articles, research and much more. BBID’s $5,000 donation will help with the site’s development as it nears its launch. The project is the brainchild of Chris Austin, founder of Maven’s Notebook, the widely-read water industry blog.

“The California Water Library will provide easy, organized access to information about California water, including industry reports, journal articles, scientific research, legal rulings, maps, images, and more so that scientists, policy makers, and managers working in the California’s water industry can access the information needed to make informed decisions about the state’s most precious natural resource,” Austin said. “The California Water Library fills an unmet need within the California water community by consolidating a broad set of content in one, easy-to-use website.”

“It’s an honor to support such a worthwhile project that will change the way we talk about California water,” BBID GM Rick Gilmore said. “In today’s fast-paced water world, having one place to go for the latest reports and research will make an instantaneous impact in keeping us all better-informed. This is a game changer.”

BBID GM Rick Gilmore, left, visits with Chris Austin of Maven’s Notebook, center, and her son Noah, at District Headquarters.

As part of winning the 2017 Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) Excellence in Water Leadership Award, BBID was honored to award a $5,000 charitable donation to a non-profit organization of the District’s choosing that works toward the enhancement and protection of California’s water resources. The donation is furnished by the Black & Veatch Corporation.

BBID was chosen for the award in recognition of its victorious, high-stakes stand to protect some of the oldest water rights in California. According to ACWA, the prestigious annual award recognizes those who make a “remarkable and visible contribution to the enhancement, protection or development of water resources in California.”

The California Water Library (www.cawaterlibrary.net) is expected to launch in the coming weeks.

Temperance Flat Dam Application Signed, Would Dramatically Boost Storage Capacity

Following the historic signing of the application to build Temperance Flat Dam, a project that would dramatically improve California’s water storage, Cannon Michael, Chairman of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, issued the following statement:

LOS BANOS, CA – “Today’s signing ceremony for the Water Infrastructure Authority application marks an important milestone for the water users we serve. A diverse group of stakeholders have joined together in a bold effort to advance water storage for California. As chairman of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, I am proud to be a part of this historic action,” said Cannon Michael, chairman of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority.

“Surface water is vital to California. From our agriculture to our information technology to environmental management, the cities, counties, tribes and public water agencies represented here share a common bond. That bond is the need for adequate and dependable water supplies. Thousands of farmers produce food and fiber on some of the most productive farmland anywhere for consumers that live right here in our back yard and around the world. And as the world leader in technology, Silicon Valley depends on adequate and dependable water supplies to fuel the innovation of the future.

Picture Courtesy of @CalAgToday

“Temperance Flat Dam will enhance California’s water supply, both for economic purposes and also to provide important ecosystem benefits. Fisheries and wetlands, stream flow and riparian forests will all thrive in the future with the additional water this project will provide. It will also be an important part of our efforts to address climate change. If predictions are right, future storms will be warmer and wetter and our ability to depend on the Sierra snowpack will diminish. It is important to begin preparing for that today.

“We are confident that with projects like this, the Valley and the rest of California will be a better place for our farms, our communities, and the important ecosystem resources that contribute to our quality of life.”

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Banta-Carbona ID, Broadview WD, Byron Bethany ID, Central Calif. ID, City of Tracy, Columbia Canal Co. (a Friend), Del Puerto WD, Eagle Field WD, Firebaugh Canal WD, Fresno Slough WD, Grassland WD, Henry Miller RD #2131, James ID, Laguna WD, Mercy Springs WD, Oro Loma WD, Pacheco WD, Panoche WD, Patterson ID, Pleasant Valley WD, Reclamation District 1606, San Benito County WD, San Luis WD, Santa Clara Valley WD, Tranquillity ID, Turner Island WD, West Side ID, West Stanislaus ID, Westlands WD

Water Reform Bill Clears Major Senate Hurdle

Sacramento, CA (June 6, 2017) – Assembly Bill 313, a water reform bill introduced by Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) and backed by Byron-Bethany Irrigation District, is one step closer to becoming law. At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed AB 313 by a 4-1 vote. The bill now moves on to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

AB 313 establishes a new water rights management structure, creating a new Water Rights Division in the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) to handle all water rights matters. Currently, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) exercises near-comprehensive control over California’s water rights. The SWRCB writes regulations, initiates enforcement actions, and conducts hearings in its own courtroom in which Board staff act as the prosecution and Board members act as judge and jury.

Under AB 313, all quasi-adjudicative matters involving water rights would be decided upon by administrative law judges in the new Water Rights Division, which would conduct hearings neutrally. The bill ensures all hearings regarding the issuance of administrative civil liability (ACL) and cease-and- desist orders (CDO) involving water rights are to be held in the new Water Rights Division, rather than the SWRCB. This productive transfer of power eliminates any potential duplicative efforts for any similar hearings and responsibility to fall under the SWRCB.

AB 313 is heard at the Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Water in June.

In June, the bill cleared the Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Water by a 5-0 vote.

AB 313 previously passed the Assembly with overwhelming bipartisan support.