water rights

A California water fight pits pistachio growers against the U.S. Navy

A legal dispute over water rights in California's Mojave desert has growers for The Wonderful Co. on one side and a town reliant on a sprawling naval base on the other. As Brent Crane reports in FERN's latest story, published with Bloomberg Green, the case offers a glimpse of the coming water wars in California, as the state's all-powerful agriculture interests increasingly square off against thirsty communities over a dwindling supply of fresh water. (No paywall)

Interior agency will ‘maximize water deliveries’ to Southern California

State officials are expected to fight the Trump administration’s proposal to “maximize water deliveries” through the Central Valley Project to Southern California, including farmers in the Westlands Water District, the largest agricultural water district in the nation, says the Sacramento Bee.

Massive California water project clears wildlife hurdle

Already more than a decade in the planning, California’s proposal to build two massive tunnels stretching 35 miles beneath the Sacramento River delta has received an important green light from federal wildlife experts.

California proposes first fine of a senior water rights holder

The State Water Resources Board proposed a $1.5 million fine against the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District in northern California for "unauthorized diversion and use of water," the first such action against a senior rights holder, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Large aquifers around the world are being drained

NASA research shows 21 of the world's 37 largest aquifers, from Asia and Europe to California's Central Valley, "have passed their sustainability tipping points, meaning more water was removed than replaced during the decade-long study," says the Washington Post.

Water districts sue over California cutbacks

Five water districts sued California's State Water Resources Board over its decision to ban senior water rights holders from drawing water out of rivers and streams in the Sacramento and San Joaquin watersheds, said the Sacramento Bee.

Far-reaching tradeoffs as cities, farms drain aquifers

Drawing too much water from aquifers “could lead to difficult choices affecting not only domestic food security but also international markets,” says a University of Illinois study of three over-pumped U.S. groundwater sources. Reliance on the aquifers – the Central Valley aquifer in …

California curtails senior water rights, court fight possible

The State Water Resources Board ordered a reduction in water allotments to some of California's most senior rights holders, who have been assured of unlimited water from waterways for more than a century, said the San Jose Mercury News.

In Central Valley, farmers help farmers survive drought

For farmer Cannon Michael, life "is almost exclusively focused on finding ways to overcome the drought, and in California, when it comes to saving water, there's no time to waste," writes Sena Christian in the online magazine Ensia.

Drought emergency is declared in Washington state

The governor of Washington state declared a drought emergency in three regions of the state, including key agricultural areas, due to record-low snowpack levels, said Reuters.