Like Drought Never Happened: Budget Omits Funds for Water

Aubrey Bettencourt

Executive Director, California Water Alliance


A few weeks ago, the governor and other state politicians ran victory laps proclaiming their passage of California’s new record budget. The behemoth budget — the largest spending plan in our state’s history — provides $183 billion to fund many diverse programs and projects deemed necessary to the people and government of California. Their speeches forgot, […]

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Trump Provides California Water Solutions as Gov. Brown Focuses on his Legacy

Aubrey Bettencourt

Executive Director, California Water Alliance


On May 13, 2017, Governor Brown outlined his revised budget proposal focusing the state’s financial resources on his High Speed Rail legacy project and renewing its efforts to fight the Trump Administration on multiple fronts. While he may have dropped the mic with an antagonistic $183 billion budget, points on the scorecard went to the […]

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Gov. Brown: Get Out of California Unless You Can Afford It

Aubrey Bettencourt

Executive Director, California Water Alliance


California’s epic drought is officially over. As drought-related mandatory water conservation orders end, ordinary citizens’ water, sewer, utility rates and other water-related costs continue to rise. East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD) recently announced two water rate hikes, one of 9.5 percent in July and another next year of 9 percent. Marin Municipal Water District […]

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Let Science Speak

Aubrey Bettencourt

Executive Director, California Water Alliance


No matter the crisis, the State Water Resource Control Board (SWRCB), Governor Brown and the Democratic super-majority-controlled Legislature — despite their best efforts — are no match for nature itself as has been demonstrated during six years of drought and now three and a half months of flooding and massive infrastructure failures. While species continue […]

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Scientific Study Contradicts Basis for State Water Board’s River Flow Mandates

Aubrey Bettencourt

Executive Director, California Water Alliance


A new environmental study, published in in the prestigious North American Journal of Fisheries Management, reveals that Governor Jerry Brown’s State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) imposed so-called pulse-flow release requirements on water rights holders affecting several California rivers, operating from unproven beliefs the study now shows were without sufficient scientific basis. (http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02755947.2016.1240120) Pulse flows, […]

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When State Water Boards Clash on Lack of Science and Evidence

Aubrey Bettencourt

Executive Director, California Water Alliance


The California State Water Resources Board (SWRCB) was taken to the woodshed this week by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), when Mark Holderman, the principal engineer at DWR’s South Delta Branch offered expert testimony that the Bay-Delta water plan was written “without evidence, incomplete scientific information, ill-suited for real-time operations, and unverified assumptions.” […]

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As Homeless Deaths Surge, Government Bureaucrats Spend Millions on Fish

Aubrey Bettencourt

Executive Director, California Water Alliance


The number of homeless people dying on the streets, along the riverbank and under bridges is going up in Sacramento, writes Bill Lindelof of the Sacramento Bee. As the total climbed to 705 homeless men, women and children dying between 2002–2015 tin California’s capitol, state government bureaucrats at the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), propose […]

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California Ag Biz Loses Equivalent to Ebay Being Wiped Out, and it Could Get Worse

Aubrey Bettencourt

Executive Director, California Water Alliance


What if I told you California’s economy lost $9.6 billion in revenue last year? What if I told you the governor and the legislature didn’t care and didn’t think you would mind? That’s exactly what happened. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced in October, “In 2015 California’s farms and ranches received approximately […]

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Who Holds Superior Rights, And Where Is All That Water Going?

Aubrey Bettencourt

Executive Director, California Water Alliance


In the regulatory realm, responsible due process follows a simple path: Legislation creates a statute granting authority; that authority sets regulation and conforming orders; violations of orders result in a notice; notice leads to demonstration of wrongdoing; and wrongdoing leads to punishment. Within this framework, courts interpret how the players conduct themselves. Our constitution gives […]

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California Cannot Conserve or Over-Regulate Way out of Drought

Aubrey Bettencourt

Executive Director, California Water Alliance


This week Governor Jerry Brown proclaimed that “a historic drought calls for unprecedented action,” when handing down the latest executive order instating mandatory statewide water restrictions aimed at conserving 1.5 million acre feet of water over the next nine months. This ambitious “first-time-in-state-history” action and goal is admirable, one I wish can be achieved. But […]

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