The California Environmental Quality Act, commonly known as CEQA,
serves a key foundation for the state’s environmental protection
efforts. The law requires that projects with the potential for
significant impacts on the physical environment undergo an
environmental review. [See also California water
California will always be inextricably linked to its water
resources. Water continues to shape the state’s development
and no resource is as vital to California’s urban centers, farms,
industry, recreation, scenic beauty and environmental
But California’s relationship to water is also one that continues
to generate controversy.
Every five years the California Department of Water Resources
releases an updated version of the California Water Plan— a
comprehensive compilation of water data that guides future water
policy in the state. The plan is commonly referred to as Bulletin
Spurred by legislative mandate, the Water Plan serves as a guide
for state and local officials as they pursue adequate water
stewardship at a time of reduced allocations, drought and
California’s Legislature passed the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in
1972, following the passage of the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers
Act by Congress in 1968. Under California law, “certain rivers
which possess extraordinary scenic, recreational, fishery, or
wildlife values shall be preserved in their free-flowing state,
together with their immediate environments, for the benefit and
enjoyment of the people of the state.” Rivers are classified as:
Francis C. Carr (1875-1944) and his
descendants played a prominent role in the development of the
federal Central Valley Project, including Shasta Dam, and the
creation of the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.
In the Northern California community of Redding, he was a justice
of peace, a renowned water rights attorney in the law firm of
Carr and Kennedy and helped form the Anderson-Cottonwood
Irrigation District. He was often in the nation’s Capitol in
Washington, D.C., advocating for funds from Congress to get this
visionary project built for the benefit of all of California. In
his honor, the Judge Francis Carr Powerplant was named after him.
The East Fork begins in the mountains of California’s Sonora Pass
and after flowing through California and Nevada, it meets the
West Fork just south of Carson City. The West Fork forms at
California’s Carson Pass, running through California and into
Nevada to its junction with the East Fork.
Birthed in part by a long-ago federal effort to create farmland,
today the Central Valley Project is one of the largest water and
transport systems in the world. In years of normal precipitation,
it stores and distributes about 20 percent of the state’s
developed water through its massive system of reservoirs and
Climate change involves natural and man-made changes to weather
patterns that occur over millions of years or over multiple
In the past 150 years, human industrial activity has accelerated
the rate of change in the climate due to the increase in
greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide).
Scientific studies describing this climate change continue to be
produced and its expected impacts continue to be assessed.
The Coachella Valley in Southern California’s Inland Empire is
one of several valleys throughout the state with a water district
established to support agriculture.
Like the others, the Coachella Valley Water District in Riverside
County delivers water to arid agricultural lands and constructs,
operates and maintains a regional agricultural drainage system.
These systems collect drainage water from individual farm drain
outlets and convey the water to a point of reuse, disposal or