In light of the Lower Basin states’ conservation proposal, the Biden Administration has announced that it is temporarily withdrawing the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) published last month so that it can fully analyze the effects of the proposal under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The United States Bureau of Reclamation will then publish an updated draft SEIS for public comment with the consensus-based proposal as an action alternative. Accordingly, the original May 30, 2023, deadline for the submission of comments on the draft SEIS is no longer in effect. The Department plans to finalize the SEIS process later this year.
The Arizona/California/Nevada proposal commits the three states to conserve at least 3 million-acre-feet of system water through the end of 2026, when the current operating guidelines are set to expire. Of those system conservation savings, 2.3-million-acre feet will be compensated through funding from last December’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which provided substantial monies to the three states to increase near-term water conservation, build long term system efficiency, and prevent the Colorado River System’s reservoirs from falling to critically low elevations that would threaten water deliveries and power production. Under this proposal, the remaining system conservation needed for sustainable operation will be achieved through voluntary, uncompensated reductions by the Lower Basin states.
Early next month, the federal government will formally advance the process for the development of new operating guidelines replacing the 2007 Colorado River Interim Guidelines for Lower Basin Shortages and the Coordinated Operations for Lake Powell and Lake Mead at the end of 2026. In the coming weeks, expect to see a Notice of Intent for the Environmental Impact Statement related to the post-2026 guidelines. With the three Lower Basin States having come to agreement on how to divvy up the savings necessary to protect the integrity of the Colorado Basin in the short run, both processes are going to proceed in tandem.
As we have been suggesting in all our reporting on this subject, the actions and statements of the three Reclamation States and the United States Government in recent months have all been about positioning themselves to come to precisely the consensus evidenced by today’s breakthrough. The precise details of that consensus – the amount of allocation ceded by each state and each agency within each state – remain to be worked out, but the outlines are clear for Southern California. The State Water Project allocation may be 100% for the first time in years, but we’ll be losing some of our Colorado River water between now and 2026, after which we may well lose even more. Given that golf’s portion of that loss will not be part of the “compensated” savings envisaged through federal largesse – you can fallow farmland; you can’t fallow golf courses – the need to keep reducing the game’s water footprint promises to become just that much more acute, as does the need for the game to make clear to policymakers that golf understands this fact to its very core.
Click here to read the joint letter filed today by the States of Arizona, California, and Nevada – a letter that was well enough received by the Biden Administration to cause the Bureau of Reclamation to withdraw the draconian SEIS it issued after January 31 came and went without agreement among the states on so much as a temporary salve to the Basin’s woes.
Are you interested in becoming an advocate for golf in California? The CGCOA is seeking amateur golfers who are passionate about protecting the game of golf and promoting public policies that enable golf to flourish in California. Take the next step to becoming an advocate for golf by completing the attached Golf is Good Ambassador Application.Read More →
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In light of the Lower Basin states’ conservation proposal, the Biden Administration has announced that it is temporarily withdrawing the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) published last month so that it can fully analyze the effects of the proposal under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).Read More →
We had the joy of participating in a meeting of the Duarte City Council a couple of weeks ago in which a very preliminary proposal to repurpose a daily fee 9-hole executive golf course cum driving range as an RV Park / storage facility was all but killed by a City Council that made clear that the rezoning necessary to repurpose the property would not be in the offing.Read More →
Yesterday was National Golf Day. Three hundred (300) golf course superintendents, PGA golf professionals, golf course owners, and leaders of the game’s national organizations descended on Capitol Hill to share 1) the game’s national legislative agenda with Senators and Representatives, and 2) the social, philanthropic, and environmental value golf courses provide for communities across the nation.Read More →
The “suspense” round of legislative Appropriations hearings is scheduled for next week. That is when the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committees speed through hundreds of bills that have cleared their committees of reference to see which among them move to their respective floors and which are put on “suspense,” otherwise known as all but dead for the year.Read More →
To live in Southern California is not only to understand how it is possible to be on flood watch and drought watch at the same time, it is to understand also how it is possible to live during the greatest growth period in the game’s history in the most golf starved market in the United States while losing golf courses of all types and sizes.Read More →
Introduced as a spot or placeholder bill on the final day to file bills in this year’s session (February 17), AB 1590 was populated with substantive content subsequent thereto that among many other things would “prohibit the use of any nonorganic pesticide, as defined, or fertilizing material, as defined, at a major coastal resort.”Read More →
A glance at the front page of Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times tells you all you need to know about where California stands with respect to water.Read More →