Despite some early light rainfall, the California drought persists. Nearly two-and-a-half months into the new water year, and even with some ski areas having small amounts of snow to make rock skiing fun, California’s water security remains in dire condition.
For approximately the past year, House and Senate legislators from the California delegation have been negotiating a compromise bill to reconcile differences between a House bill and a Senate bill. Talks appeared to be progressing rather well on the staff level up until recently.
According to two press releases issued in rapid fire by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, it appears that someone on the staff in the House of Representatives had introduced a bill allegedly
supported by Senator Feinstein for inclusion in the omnibus appropriations bill. That piece of legislation had not been agreed to by the senator and the use of her name was not authorized, according to the press release. Newspaper reports indicated that the administration still had significant concerns regarding some of the fishery aspects of the legislation.
On December 10, 2015, members of the Republican delegation issued a series of statements critical of the Senate’s refusal to take up the bill they promoted. Whether Senators Feinstein and Boxer will be willing to continue to negotiate a bill after the so-called breach of trust is unknown. Various newspapers have called for continued discussions. Absent a drought bill that would provide authority and encouragement to the federal fish agencies, California water will continue to be run under minimal conditions prescribed by federal biological opinions and state water quality standards. If the El Niño affect does not yield a record amount of precipitation, hopefully much of it as snow, the California water crisis will likely continue.