READ: Final Statement of Decision Issued in Phase One of Water Rights Trial

On Tuesday, the Santa Clara County Superior Court issued its final statement of decision in phase one of a landmark water rights trial. The judge ruled that the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) lacks jurisdiction to enforce priority of rights between pre-1914 and riparian water rights.

Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) filed the action, challenging unlawful curtailment notices issued by the SWRCB in June 2015 to pre-1914 water rights holders, including BBID. Judge Brian Walsh also determined that the curtailment notices violated BBID’s due process rights.

Read the final Statement of Decision from Judge Brian Walsh below.

4-3-18 Courts Notice of Entry of Order on Final Statement of Decision Ph...

DWR Director Returns to Sonoma County Water Agency

Sacramento, CA (January 10, 2018) – A familiar face is rejoining the Sonoma County Water Agency. Grant Davis will return as general manager, the agency’s Board of Directors announced Wednesday. Davis returns after his appointment nearly five months ago by Governor Brown to serve as the Director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).

DWR announced Karla Nemeth was appointed as the new DWR Director. Nemeth was previously the deputy secretary and senior advisor for water policy at the California Natural Resources Agency.

Full news releases are below.

THIS JUST IN ... Sonoma County Water Agency Board of Directors Appoints Grant Davis as General Manager ~ MAVEN'S NOTEBOOK | Water news


THIS JUST IN ... New Director Appointed at Department of Water Resources, Executive Team Restructured to Strengthen Dam and Flood Safety, Climate Resiliency ~ MAVEN'S NOTEBOOK | Water news

Assemblyman Gray to Governor: Missed Deadline to Address Water Rights Fairness “Sends Wrong Message”

Sacramento, CA (January 8, 2018) – Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) is calling on Governor Brown to explain why a state agency missed a critical deadline to make recommendations for improved water rights fairness. In a letter delivered to Governor Brown, Asm. Gray said, “To a community that already feels attacked and abandoned, [the missed deadline] sends entirely the wrong message.”

Asm. Gray authored Assembly Bill 313, bipartisan legislation vetoed last session by Governor Brown. Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) provided technical support in crafting the bill.

AB 313 would have ensured that neutral, administrative law judges presided over all water rights matters – providing basic fairness and due process currently lacking for California’s water rights holders. The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) writes regulations, initiates enforcement actions, and conducts hearings in its own courtroom with its staff members as acting as the prosecution team and its board members acting as the judge.

Assemblymember Adam Gray represents the 21st Assembly District.

In the Governor’s veto message, he directed the California Environmental Protection Agency to make recommendations to improve the State Water Resources Control Board’s hearing process. However, a January 1st deadline to provide those recommendations has passed. Assemblyman Gray is now requesting to meet with the Governor and CalEPA to “…understand why CalEPA has failed to meet the deadline and discuss the ramifications this disregard has for my district and our ability to engage in settlement discussions with the administration.”

The full letter is below.

1.8.18 AB 313 Governor Veto Letter

Final Joint Legal Brief Filed in Landmark Water Rights Case

A milestone case that will impact the oldest water rights in California took a significant step forward Thursday. In Santa Clara County Superior Court, the final joint brief on was filed on behalf of Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID), West Side Irrigation District (WSID) and other water agencies.

The case will decide the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) claim that during drought, it can curtail riparian and pre-1914 water rights holders under Water Code Section 1052 based on priority of rights. BBID’s legal team argues that the SWRCB does not have such authority. The outcome of this legal battle has far-reaching ramifications for every riparian and pre-1914 water rights holder in the State.

The full brief is posted below.

11-9-17 FINAL BBID WSID Reply Brief to SWRCB Opposition to the Merits

Western Growers: Brown Vetoes WG-Supported Fair Water Rights Hearing Bill

From Western Growers: “In the final hours to sign or veto bills sent to him by the California Legislature, Governor Brown vetoed AB 313 by Assemblymember Adam Gray, a Western Growers-supported bill that would have inserted much-needed balance into the state’s water rights enforcement activities…”

Read More!

Brown Vetoes WG-Supported Fair Water Rights Hearing Bill | Western Growers

BBID Responds to Critical Mercury News AB 313 Editorial

Byron-Bethany Irrigation District on Monday issued a letter to the San Jose Mercury News, responding to the newspaper’s critical editorial on Assembly Bill 313, a BBID-backed water bill that restores fairness for the state’s water rights holders.

The Mercury News limits its Letters to the Editor to 150 words, so BBID chose to post its full response here. The original editorial is posted below BBID’s letter.

BBID’s Response

BBID Response to Mercury News Op-Ed

Original Mercury News Editorial

Editorial: Don't cave to Big Ag; veto water rights bill

California State Auditor Releases Report on California Water Fix

A new state audit finds costs and timeline of the California WaterFix planning phase “increased significantly” due to the scale and unexpected complexity of the project.

The report, released Thursday by the California State Auditor, also finds that the Department of Water Resources has not ensured that it is prepared for the transition of WaterFix – and has not completed either an economic or financial analysis to demonstrate the financial viability of the project.

The summary and fact sheet are posted below. Read the full report here.

Summary_2016-132


Fact Sheet_2016-132