Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Managing water from Spain to the Delta

An aerial view of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta on Nov. 11, 2008.
An aerial view of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta on Nov. 11, 2008. The Sacramento Bee

How much water, exactly, does California have?

The answer can be hard to pin down, intensifying conflicts over the state’s most precious and contested resource. It doesn’t help that water rights and management responsibilities are fragmented among the state’s various watersheds, users and water agencies. Tracking groundwater use presents issues of its own, which could dog California’s efforts to implement sweeping new groundwater management laws in the coming years. So does determining how much water flows for environmental purposes.

Today Public Policy Institute of California researchers will discuss their report comparing California’s methods to those in other western states and arid countries like Spain and Australia, seeking a better system for aquatic accounting. (One bill worth noting on this front would set up a statewide water data management system). PPIC experts Ellen Hanak and Alvar Escriva-Bou will discuss their findings along with Mojave Water Agency’s Lance Eckhart,the Environmental Defense Fund’s Maurice Hall and State Water Resources Control Board executive director Tom Howard from noon to 1:30 p.m. at 1020 11th Street.

Later in the day, the Delta Protection Commission will get an update on a Sacramento Superior Court judge’s decision to invalidate a far-ranging Delta management plan, something that could have profound consequences for Gov. Jerry Brown’s project to build massive tunnels capable of conveying water from the Delta to points south. The commission meets in Walnut Grove starting at 5:30 p.m., gathering at 14273 River Road.

CONVENTIONAL: After three raucous days in which a viral outbreak afflicted the California GOP and the nation met California's most enthusiastic Trump supporter, the Republican National Convention comes to a close today. Before the acceptance speech from Donald Trump sends California's 172-member delegation home, more Californians will explain why they want Trump to be the nation's next president. Speakers on the agenda include tiny-government enthusiast and Silicon Valley titan Peter Thiel and Thomas Barrack, founder of Los Angeles-based Colony Capital.

WORTH REPEATING: “Another reason to be in Hawaii during the convention - my only risk is sunburn, not norovirus.”

-- Conservative commentator and Trump skeptic Jon Fleischman on the health emergency afflicting California Republicans in Cleveland.

VIDEO OF THE DAY: In Cleveland, Trump protesters build a wall of their own.

THE FINEST: Another California Fair Political Practices Commission meeting, another big penalty for political malfeasance. The $104,000 fine the FPPC plans to authorize for City of Commerce councilwoman Tina Baca Del Rio is not the largest for a local elected official, as some initially suggested, but it’s still substantial. That sanction and a $6,000 penalty on emerging lobbying heavyweight Lyft will be among the agenda items when the FPPC convenes at 428 J Street at 10 a.m. The panel is also expected to continue its discussion and adopt regulations on so-called shadow lobbying.

BAGMEN: Like a plastic bag clinging to a thornbush, a long political history trails California’s attempts to nix plastic waste. Legislation to ban plastic bags finally passed in 2014 after years of failures, boosted by a deal that brought resistant Democrats on board and grocery industry support for a statewide ban in lieu of dozens of municipal prohibitions. The plastic industry immediately qualified a referendum that will give voters the final say in November. Seeking to lend some context to the fight, University of California, Berkeley PhD Candidate Rebecca Taylor will talk about her award-winning research into the best policies to alter consumer behavior and curb bag usage. Starting at noon at 1130 K Street.

DOWN TO BUSINESS: No word on whether kegs will be available, but Los Angeles businesses are hosting a Freshman Rush Party intermingling recently elected officials and captains of industry. Hosted by the Los Angeles County Business Federation and sponsored by businesses who paid up to $15,000 for the privilege, the event will allow participants to talk about business-friendly policies with a long roster of elected officials that includes four state senators, five Assembly members, State Treasurer John Chiang, State Controller Betty Yee and Board of Equalization member Fiona Ma.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert