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When Gov. Jerry Brown signed drought legislation in March, state water officials were granted new authority to set emergency enforcement measures during dry periods. Now facing an ongoing crisis and lack of compliance with current regulations, the State Water Resources Control Board will consider exercising that power during a two-day meeting that begins today.
The move comes after the board has issued over 7,900 curtailment notices to "junior" water rights holders. Notifications ask junior rights holders -- most acquired their licenses after 1914 -- to stop or reduce diversions from rivers and streams because state law requires available water to be parceled out by seniority.
But fewer than 20 percent of these rights holders had shown that they had implemented the restrictions, as of mid-June. Rights holders are also entitled to an appeal under the board's notices, which can delay curtailment action in the process. Because the notices apply to specific time periods, the holdup has become a concern for the board.
With its enforcement proposal at today's board meeting, regulators are looking to expedite the curtailments by issuing orders that force rights holders to divert water immediately or face a fine. The proposed action still leaves the ability to appeal, but it requires water rights holders to comply with the curtailment in the interim. The board meets at 9 a.m. in the Cal/EPA Building on 1001 I Street.
VIDEO: As California ages, the whole structure of the state will have to change, Dan Walters says.
FAMILY TIES: A large expansion of the state's paid family leave program is set to take effect today as the provision hits the 10-year mark. State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, and Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development David Lanier will join policy experts to celebrate the anniversary at 9:30 a.m. on the North Steps of the Capitol.
FROM BILL TO LAW: In addition to the family leave expansion, several other measures approved last year are set to kick in today. Jeremy White has more in a post on the Capitol Alert blog. Three highlights: 1) Minimum wage will increase to $9.00. 2) Campaign finance regulators can now launch investigations during an election cycle. 3) Disability insurance policies are required to cover severe mental illnesses.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: University of California President Janet Napolitano will give a presentation to the State Board of Food and Agriculture about the UC Food Initiative. Napolitano will make her pitch at the California Department of Food and Agriculture on 1220 N Street at 11:45 a.m.
ALSO: The board will hear a cap-and-trade presentation from California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols at 10:15 a.m., followed by a panel on carbon markets at 10:45 a.m.
HIGH NOON: Former gubernatorial candidate and Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, is taking questions on Reddit at 12 p.m. The online Q&A is billed as a "great opportunity for pro-gunners to ask questions and express sentiments to a man who has 'skin in the game' and has battled the policies of anti-gun politicians for years in the roughest affront on American gun rights, the California theater."
ROTUNDA RAMADAN: The Council on American-Islamic Relations and state legislators will host its annual Ramadan dinner for elected officials, staff and inter-faith leaders in the Capitol Rotunda. Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, Assemblymember Roger Dickinson and Assemblymember Mariko Yamada are among the lawmakers hosting the program. The invitation-only dinner marks the end of the day's fast and will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m.
PHOTO: Dennis Callahan visits a gorge near his home in Outingdale on June 18. The community depends on water diverted by the El Dorado Irrigation District from the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes River, a water right that was ordered shut off by the state. The district is continuing to serve Outingdale residents, however, because they have no other source of water. Lezlie Sterling/The Sacramento Bee.