For an analysis of the news from California this week — where the legislature passed a group of bills Wednesday on water protection — do check out Richard Frank on Legal Planet, who looks at the good and the less-than-good.
It commits substantial public funding and commitment to desperately needed Delta ecosystem restoration. The bill package fundamentally re-organizes the state governance system that will oversee Delta regulatory, planning and restoration efforts. And it reflects long-overdue and necessary steps to address water rights enforcement and water conservation efforts on a statewide basis.
But, he says:
The water conservation mandates contained in the legislation are largely aspirational, and lack strong means of enforcement. The water rights reform provisions were greatly weakened in the course of the legislative debates, and it’s questionable at best whether they will have much long-term effect in reforming California’s dysfunctional water rights system. Finally–and most importantly–it is far from certain that California voters will be willing to approve the major, new public indebtedness needed to fund Delta ecosystem restoration and related projects.