California Water Timeline: 1950 – 1999

1950 – California population is 10,586,223.
1950 – 80,000 pumps increase groundwater extraction.
1950’s – Seepage recovery, canal and lateral concrete lining, and automation projects were completed as part of the Imperial Valley water distribution system conservation efforts
1951 – State authorizes the Feather River Project Act (later to become the State Water Project).
1951 – First deliveries from Shasta Dam to the San Joaquin Valley.
1951 – Building of dam at Oroville proposed.
1951 – Congress refuses to approve Central Arizona Project until California and Arizona resolve differences.
1951 – U.S. Bureau of Reclamation constructs the Delta Cross Channel to help move water to the Delta export pumps. The Delta-Mendota Canal begins carrying water south.
1952 – Central Valley of California, completed in 1952, fed water from the Sierra Mountains but distribution of water throughout Central Valley was uneven, with occasional floods. Central Valley Project meant to alleviate some of these problems. (Lacked widespread support in California. Federal government grew tired of funding California’s water projects. Project shrunk and finally passed.)
1952 – Federal bill for Upper Colorado Basin projects generates national opposition because one project, Echo Dam, would flood Dinosaur National Monument. Dam was removed from subsequent legislation signed in 1956.
1954 – Congress terminates the Klamath Tribes’ federally recognized tribal status and Government services. The U.S. acquires 800,000 acres of Klamath tribal land for liquidation.
1955 – A record flood hits Northern and Central CA, spurring on the Feather River project at the Oroville site. Flood in the Sacramento Valley kills 38 people.
1956 – San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant is constructed. The plant’s original capacity is 36 million gallons per day providing only basic or primary treatment of wastewater. Today, it handles 167 million gallons per day, and provides a high level of tertiary-treated wastewater that meets Title 22 standards of the California Code of Regulations for reclamation. Water discharged from the plant approaches drinking water standards.
1956 – Colorado River Storage Project Act approves multiple projects in the Upper Basin including Flaming Gorge Dam and Glen Canyon Dam. Glen Canyon Dam is completed in 1963.
1956 – Klamath Project irrigators’ electricity rate contract is renewed for 50 years at the 1918 rate of 0.6 cents per kilowatt-hour; Oregon “off-Project” irrigators sign a contract for power at 0.72 cents per kilowatt-hour.
1957 – The Klamath River Compact between Oregon, California, and the U.S. sets goals and objectives for water management on the Klamath River.
1957 – The State Department of Water Resources publishes Bulletin 3, the $8 billion California Water Plan, one of the world’s largest water redistribution systems.
1957 – 
The South Santa Clara Valley Water Conservation District builds Uvas Dam to bolster its recharge efforts.
1957 – Klamath River Basin Compact is approved by California and Oregon legislatures and ratified by Congress.
1958 – Big Bend Dam – later J.C. Boyle Dam – is completed upstream of the Copco dams.
1958 – Klamath Forest National Wildlife Refuge is established.
1959 – Delta Protection Act resolves some issues of legal boundaries, salinity control and water export.
1959 – Delta Protection Act passed, resolving some issues of legal boundaries, salinity control and water exports.

1960 – California population is 15,717,204.
1960 – California voters approve the Burns – Porter Act, authorizing the $1.75 million sale of bonds to finance State Water Project construction.
1960 – A second San Diego Aqueduct to carry more water into San Diego from the north. The pipeline follows a more coastal route than the first aqueduct, delivering water to Miramar and Lower Otay reservoirs.
1961 – California embarks on the largest public works program undertaken by a state in the history of the nation as it begins construction on the State Water Project, a network of 23 dams and reservoirs, 22 pumping plants, six power plants and 600 miles of canals, tunnels and pipelines.
1961 – Agribusiness dominates the San Joaquin Valley.
1961 – The Davis-Dolwig Act is passed, directing the State Water Project to provide recreation, fish and wildlife enhancement.
1961 – 
South Santa Clara Valley Water Conservation District, designated by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to be the local agency for water importation, contracts with the state for water from the planned South Bay Aqueduct. The first delivery is scheduled for 1965.
1962 – Iron Gate Dam is completed on the Klamath River. Dawning of a new environmental era. A hatchery is built in conjunction with the dam for mitigation purposes and remains a main provider of salmon into the river system.
1962-72: First Phase the State Water Project is completed: San Luis Reservoir, Castaic Lake, Lake Perris.
1962 – Santa Clara County voters approve a $42.5 million bond issue to cover the cost of 61 miles of in-county water distribution pipelines ranging from 36 inches to 96 inches in diameter and also two water treatment plants.
1962 – 
Rachel Carson publishes “Silent Spring,” a landmark call to protect the environment from dangerous pesticides.
1962 – Experimental seawater conversion plant is dedicated at Point Loma near San Diego, a joint federal-state undertaking.
1963 – Arizona v. California lawsuit decided by U.S. Supreme Court, allocating 2.8 million acre-feet of Colorado River water per year to Arizona and Imperial Irrigation District has ‘present-perfected’ rights to 2.6 million acre-feet of water annually.
1963 – Lewiston Dam on the Trinity River completed.
1964 – Partially completed Oroville Dam helps save Sacramento Valley from flooding.
1964 – 
Groundwater pumping taxes begin. Santa Clara County Flood Control and Water Conservation District begins construction of the Central Pipeline and initiates a groundwater charge (pump tax). Meanwhile, Santa Clara Valley Water Conservation District begins applying groundwater charges. The need for uniform groundwater charges quickly becomes evident.
1964 – Large flood on Klamath River and tributaries causes debris to block channels – a problem that persists today.
1964 – U.S. Supreme Court Decree Arizona v. California holds California to 4.4 million, Arizona to 2.8 million and Nevada to 300,000 acre-feet annually in normal years as provided in the Boulder Canyon Project Act.
1964 – Kuchel Act precludes future homesteading on Klamath Project refuge land; provides for continued leasing of refuge land for farming to the extent it is consistent with refuge purposes. The law enrolls 17,000 acres on Tule Lake refuge and 5,000 acres on Lower Klamath refuge in a lease program for farming.
1965 – The state of California begins delivering water to Santa Clara County via the 72-inch South Bay Aqueduct, which brings water about 40 miles from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to a point about six miles inside the northern county boundary. By the time the imported water reaches the aqueduct terminus, the network of pipelines to annually distribute about 80,000 acre-feet of raw water to percolation ponds and surface irrigation systems is complete. Massive amounts of imported water are put in the groundwater basin.
1965 – Keno Dam constructed to replace Needle Dam on the Klamath River.
1966 – Construction begins on New Melones Dam on the Stanislaus River after 20 years of controversy over the reservoir’s size and environmental impacts; completed in 1978.
1966-82: Battles over the Peripheral Canal in Sacramento.
1967 – The Santa Clara County San Felipe Project, an idea originally conceived in the 1940s by the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation, is authorized by Congress.

1967 – The Santa Clara’s Valley’s first treatment plant, Rinconada Water Treatment Plant, goes into service in Los Gatos, with a capacity to produce 80 million gallons of drinking water daily. Its purification process is upflow clarifier-flocculators and dual-media filters. The source of water for the plant is the South Bay Aqueduct via the Central Pipeline and the Rinconada Force Main, or San Felipe Project water via the Almaden Valley Pipeline.
1968 – Congress authorizes Central Arizona Project to deliver 1.5 million acre-feet of Colorado River water a year to Arizona.
1968 Central Arizona Project is included in Colorado River Basin Project Act. Proposed Grand Canyon dam removed after one of biggest environmental battles in U.S. history.
1968 – Oroville Dam is completed. Oroville Dam and Lake Oroville dedicated by Ronald Regan.
1968 – Congress passes Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.
1968 – Skinner Fish facility begins operation.
1969 – Legislature enacts Porter-Cologne Act, the foundation of California water quality regulatory programs.
1969 – Santa Clara County 
land subsidence is halted through ongoing imported water deliveries. The groundwaterm basin is replenished
1969 – Congress enacts National Environmental Policy Act.

1970 – California population is 19,953,134.
1970 – Passage of the National Environmental Quality Act, California Environmental Quality Act  and California Endangered Species Act.
1970’s – Imperial Irrigation District completed a number of regulating reservoir projects and administrative water conservation programs.
1970 – The National Environmental Policy Act is passed, requiring federal agencies to analyze the impact of their actions on the land.
1971 – Lost River and shortnose sucker identified as species of concern under California law.
1971 – State Water Resources Control Board issues State Water Project and Central Valley Project water quality standards.
1972 – California Legislature passes Wild and Scenic Rivers Act preserving the north coast’s remaining free-flowing rivers from development.
1972 – Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) passed.
1972 – The federal government passes the Clean Water Act which sets two main goals: To address the largest and most obvious sources of pollution and to restore and maintain water quality. Congress defines “clean waters” as water in which it is safe to swim and which supports fish that can be safely eaten.
1972 – The Federal Endangered Species Act is enacted. This act will have lasting impact on environmental issues for years to come.
1972 – California designates Klamath River from Iron Gate to the ocean a Wild and Scenic River. Federal designation follows in 1981.
1973 – California Aqueduct is completed. First State Water project deliveries to Southern California bringing water over the Tehachapi Mountains to Castaic Lake and Lake Perris.
1973 – Mexico and U.S. approve Minute 242 of the 1944 Water Treaty, establishing salinity standards for water delivered to Mexico.
1973 – Construction begins on Central Arizona Project.
1973 – U.S. Supreme Court rules that stretches of the Trinity and Klamath River flowing through the Hoopa and Yurok reservations are “Indian Country,” effectively restoring tribal salmon fishing rights.
1973 – New legislation provides funding for certain Delta levees.
Delta Environmental Advisory Committee concludes federal-state Peripheral Canal, properly designed and operated, is necessary to protect the Delta.
1974 – Congress passes Safe Drinking Water Act.
1974 – California voters approve the Clean Water Grant Program to build waste water treatment facilities.
1974 – Congress approves Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Act, authorizing desalination plant near Yuma, Ariz., and basinwide salinity control projects.
1974 – Penitencia Water Treatment Plant, located in the East San Jose foothills just north of Penitencia Creek, comes on line. This treatment plant can deliver peak flows of 40 million gallons per day of potable water. Its purification process includes flow-through flocculation-sedimentation and multi-media filters. Its water source is the South Bay Aqueduct.
1975-76: – Severe drought ensues. The Monterey Peninsula Water Management is formed to administer water rationing. In 1976, it calls for a Peninsula-wide district with greater powers to resolve area’s water issues.
1976-77: – Deliveries from the State Water Project to Santa Clara County during this time are not only reduced, but contain a salt content so high that percolation into the groundwater is impossible.
1977 – Department of Water Resources reaffirms Peripheral Canal as best facility to move water to the Delta export pumps.
1976 – Orange County’s Water Factory 21 begins injecting highly treated reclaimed water to protect groundwater from seawater intrusion.
1975 – Oregon begins to adjudicate Klamath River water rights.
1976 – 
Santa Clara County’s system of dams and reservoirs is recognized as an historic landmark by the San Francisco section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The project is cited as the first and only instance of a major water supply being developed in a single groundwater basin. It involves the control of numerous independent tributaries to conserve most of the sources of water flowing into the basin.
1976 – Oregon Water Resources Department begins Klamath Basin water rights adjudication process.
1977 – State Legislature creates the Water Management District to “manage, augment, and protect water resources for the benefit of the community and the environment”.
1977 – A contract is signed for Santa Clara County San Felipe water with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Voters pass a $56 million bond to expand water distribution systems. The project is completed in 1987.
1977-78: Tribal salmon fishing resumes on Lower Klamath River, but is quickly stopped by the federal government on conservation grounds.
1978 – The State Water Resource Control Board issues water rights decision #1485, establishing water quality standards for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
1978 – The San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant adds advanced processes including additional filtration and disinfection so treated effluent from the plant can be recycled on a limited basis. Since 1978, 5 million gallons per day have been recycled for industrial cooling and to irrigate treatment plant landscaping.
1978 – California v. U.S. held that the U.S. must obtain water rights under State law for reclamation projects, absent clear congressional direction to the contrary.
1978 – The bald eagle is declared a threatened species on Feb. 14. Bear Valley National Wildlife Refuge established to protect bald eagle roost sites.
1979 – Second case, Arizona v. California, reaffirmed California’s rights to 2.6 million acre-feet of Colorado River water annually.
1979 – The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation begins construction of the Santa Clara County San Felipe Project.
1979 – U.S. Supreme Court appoints special master to review additional tribal Lower Basin Colorado River water rights.

1980 – California population is 23,667,902
1980 – State-designated wild and scenic rivers placed under federal Act’s protection.
1982 – Proposition 9, the Peripheral Canal package, meant to address California Delta Salt Water intrusion while redirecting water to Southern CA without going through the sensitive environment of the Bay-Delta, is overwhelmingly defeated, by 3 -2 margin, in statewide vote.
1982 – Reclamation Reform Act raises from 160 acres to 960 acres the amount of land a farmer can own and still receive low-cost federal water.
1982 – 
Two years of major Santa Clara County flooding begin on Jan. 3 when the fifth in a series of severe storms traps more than 100 people on top of their cars and homes and causes mudslides capable of collapsing houses in the Santa Cruz mountains.
1982 – The USFWS previously reviewed the status of the northern spotted owl in 1982, 1987 and 1989 but found it did not warrant listing as either threatened or endangered.
1982-83: Special Water Master recommends additional tribal water claims be upheld. Supreme Court rejects recommendation; refuses to reopen Arizona v. California awarding federally reserved water rights to five Lower Basin tribes.
1983 – California Supreme Court in National Audubon Society v. Superior Court rules that the public trust doctrine applies to Los Angeles’ diversion from tributary streams of Mono Lake.
1983 – Dead and deformed waterfowl discovered at Kesterson Reservoir, pointing to problems of selenium-tainted agricultural drainage water.
1983 – United States v. Adair upholds Klamath Tribes’ right to enough instream water to support fishing and hunting on former reservation lands, but does not establish an amount.
1984 – California Endangered Species Act is amended to protect both species and their critical habitat.
1984 – On-farm salinity control measures added to Salinity Control Act.
Mid-1980s – Lower 6.5 miles of Carmel River in Monterey County going dry 5-6 months a year.
1985 – California state court confirms limited tribal fishing rights for Karuk Tribe at Ishi Pishi Falls.
1985 – Central Arizona Project begins operation.
1986 – Ruling by State Court of Appeals (Racanelli Decision) directs State Board to consider all beneficial uses, including instream needs, of Delta water when setting water quality standards.
1986 – Congress passes Klamath River Basin Fishery Resources Restoration Act; the program is funded at $1 million per year.
1986 – Passage of Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Proposition 65) prohibiting discharge of toxic chemicals into state waters.
1986 – 
San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant facilities are upgraded and a truck filling station is added.
1986 – Klamath Tribes restored to federal recognition as an Indian tribal government, but former reservation lands are not returned.  Karuk Tribe receives federal recognition.
1986 – Coordinated Operation Agreement for Central Valley Project and State Water Project operations in the Delta signed.
1986 – Klamath Tribes close their sucker fishery on Upper Klamath Lake and its tributaries.
1986 – Historic Department of Water Resources-Reclamation accord, the Coordinated Operation Agreement, authorized by Congress.
1987 – State Board’s Bay-Delta Proceedings begin to revise D-1485 water quality standards after U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declares it inadequate.
1987 – First deliveries of San Felipe water are made to the Santa Clara Valley.
1987 – 6-year drought begins. The State Department of Water Resources estimates the cost of the drought to be $1 billion in lost agricultural revenues, fishery and timber losses, and energy price increases.
1987 – The Clean Water Act is amended to include nonpoint source pollution assessment reports and management programs.
1987 – Indian salmon harvest on Klamath River reopened for five years.
1988 – Agreement between Imperial Irrigation District and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (for the transfer of up to 110,000 acre-feet per year for a 35-year period.
1988 – Upper Colorado Basin states begin 15-year program (later extended) to protect four endangered fish.
1988 – Lost River and shortnose suckers listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
1988 – Suisun Marsh salinity control gates begin operation.
1988 – Oregon Scenic Waterways Act designates the Klamath Scenic Waterway from J.C. Boyle Dam to the state line. Federal designation follows in 1994.
1988 – Hoopa-Yurok Settlement Act establishes the Yurok tribal government as independent from the Hoopa tribal government; the Yurok Reservation is split from the Hoopa Valley Reservation.
1989 – In a separate challenge to Los Angeles’ Mono Basin water rights, an appellate court holds that fish are a public trust resource in California Trout v. State Water Resources Control Board.
1989 – San Diego County Water Authority initiates a $3.1 billion Capital Improvement Program to make necessary improvements to the pipeline delivery system and increase operational flexibility to supply water throughout the county.
1989 – Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon listed as threatened under Endangered Species Act.
1989 – The federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Regional Water Quality Control Board, headquartered in San Francisco, determine that freshwater discharges from the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant are converting nearby salt marshes to freshwater marshes, thus threatening the habitat of two endangered species: the salt marsh harvest mouse and a bird called the California clapper rail.
1989 – 
The Santa Teresa Water Treatment Plant, located in south San Jose, begins operation. Its peak treatment capacity is 100 million gallons per day. The purification process includes flow-through flocculation-sedimentation and multi-mediafilters. The Almaden Valley pipeline brings water from the San Luis Reservoir to the plant.
1989 – Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Imperial Irrigation District agree that MWD will pay for agricultural water conservation projects and receive the water conserved.
1989 – The Environmental Protection Agency requires every city with a population exceeding 100,000 to apply for a special permit regulating stormwater flows into natural bodies of water. The permit requires the development of a storm-water management plan to identify specific measures and activities to eliminate or control pollutants in rain water or runoff.
1989 – Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon listed as threatened under Endangered Species Act.

1990 – California population is 29,760,021.
1990 – January, construction begins on projects agreed upon in Metropolitan Water District of Southern California agreement.
1990 – Congress enacts the Truckee-Carson-Pyramid Lake Water Rights Settlement Act (PL101-618).
1990-92: Severe decline in Klamath River salmon runs nearly closes commercial ocean salmon fishery.
1990 – 
The State Water Resources Control Board lists the South Bay as impaired because water quality standards for heavy metals are frequently exceeded. The Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program is established. The program is a consortium of 13 cities, the Santa Clara Valley Water District and Santa Clara County. The groups work together to implement programs to control storm water pollution. The participants include Campbell, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara, Saratoga and Sunnyvale.
1991 – Southern Nevada Water Authority formed.
1991 – MOU signed to implement urban water conservation programs.
1991 – Inyo County and Los Angeles agree to jointly manage Owens Valley water, ending 19 years of litigation.
1991 – State Water Board releases new Bay-Delta salinity control plan. EPA rejects portions of it under Clean Water Act.
1991 – West Coast’s first municipal sea water desalination plant opens on Catalina Island.
1991 – Construction completed on four additional pumps at SWP’s Banks Pumping Plant in the south Delta.
1991 – 
The Regional Water Quality Control Plant in Palo Alto, Santa Clara County develops an advanced treatment system that provides up to 1.5 million gallons per day of reclaimed water suitable for park land, school yard and landscape irrigation including residential lawns, under guidelines of state and county health departments.
1991 – Logging in national forests containing the northern spotted owl was stopped by court order.
1992 – Congress approves landmark Central Valley Improvement Act, (PL 102-575).
1992 – Central Valley Project Improvement Act allocates 800,000 acre-feet of water annually to environment. Legislature passes Delta Protection Act, establishing the Delta Protection Commission.
1992 – Yuma desalination plant begins operation at one-third capacity.
1992 – A drought focuses attention on the role of lake levels in protecting sucker habitat. The FWS recommends Upper Klamath Lake be kept above a minimum elevation of 4,139.0 feet during summer months, although it allowed that the lake could drop to as low as 4,137.0 feet in four out of 10 years. Other steps are recommended, including fish ladders, screens and a sucker salvage program to remove suckers each fall when canals are drained and return them to the lake. 
For the first time in the Klamath Reclamation Project’s history, irrigation deliveries are curtailed.
1992 – Ten Tribes Colorado River Basin Partnership formed
1992 – Grand Canyon Protection Act approved, requiring releases from Glen Canyon Dam to meet environmental, tribal, cultural and recreational interests.
1992 – First desalination plant opens in Santa Barbara. It shut down after three months.
1992 – 
Construction begins on the Guadalupe River Flood Control Project through downtown San Jose, which also incorporates the Guadalupe River Park.
1993 – Federal court rules in Natural Resource Defense Council v. Patterson that the CVP must conform with state law requiring release of flows for fishery preservation below dams.
1993 – 
The Milpitas pipeline is completed in Santa Clara County.
1993 – Delta Smelt declared a threatened species.
1993 – Arizona’s CAP declared complete by the federal government.
1993 – Federal government sets Klamath River tribal salmon fishing limit at half the total available harvest.
1993 – April, a final recovery plan for suckers is approved by the wildlife service.
1993 – Central Arizona Project declared substantially complete, delivering water to Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona farmers and American Indian Tribes.
1993 – Yuma Desalting Plant suspends operation after 500-year flood on Gila River.
1994 – State Board amends Los Angeles’ water rights licenses to Mono Lake requiring specified protections for Mono Lake levels.
1994 – A second drought hits the Klamath Basin. The surface elevation of Upper Klamath Lake falls to 4,136.86 feet on Sept. 27, the lowest level since records began in 1905.
1994 – Bay-Delta Accord signed and sets interim Delta water quality; its original three-year term extended to a total of four years.
1994 – CALFED corporation is founded by state and federal agencies with management and regulatory responsibility in the Bay-Delta Estuary.
1994 – With salmon stocks dwindling, commercial fishing for coho salmon is halted from Washington to California. 

 – The report on National Water Quality by the EPA identifies urban runoff/storm sewers as the number one source of pollution in the United States followed by municipal waste water treatment plants, agriculture, industrial point sources and petroleum activities.
1994 – Winter-run Chinook salmon listed as endangered.
1994 – Fish and Wildlife Service proposes a rule defining critical sucker habitat in Clear Lake Reservoir.
1995 – State Board adopts new water quality plan for the Delta and begins hearings on water rights.
1995 – State requires reductions of drafting from the Carmel River and suggests additional pumping from Seaside Basin in Monterey County.
1995 – The South Bay Water Recycling Project begins in the cities of San Jose, Santa Clara and Milpitas. Phase I is scheduled to include construction of 100 miles of pipeline in a 30-mile area in the cities of San Jose, Santa Clara and Milpitas. It will provide 20 million gallons per day of non-potable (non-drinkable) water.
1995 – CALFED Bay-Delta Program to develop a comprehensive,long- term program for environmental protection of the Bay Delta System and Water Supply and reliability for all water users. CALFED was charged with planning, selecting,and implementing this long-term solution.
1995 – Widespread flooding in California. 
Late spring storms do more than $650 million in damage to agriculture throughout the state.
1995 – In Water Rights Decision 1641, the State Water Board primarily assigns responsibility for meeting Delta water quality objectives to the State Water Project and Central Valley Project.
1995 – Water transfer between Imperial Irrigation District and San Diego County Water Authority proposed.
1995 – Klamath Province steelhead trout are proposed for ESA protection.
1995 – Bureau of Reclamation begins operating according to an annual plan.
1995 – Klamath Province steelhead trout are proposed for ESA protection.
1995-97 – Large numbers of suckers die in a series of fish kills. 
Scientists studying the lake begin to focus on the roles of algae, nutrients, temperature, ammonia and alkalinity in triggering periodic die-offs of suckers.
1996 – Reclamation adopts new operating criteria that include periodic high flow releases into the  Grand Canyon to restore riparian habitat and improve fish habitat.
1996 – Interior Secretary orders California to implement plan to reduce its average use of 5.2 million acre-feet of Colorado River water to “live within” its 4.4 million acre-feet annual basic apportionment.
1996 – Bureau of Reclamation agrees to meet minimum instream flows below Iron Gate Dam to protect habitat for anadromous fish (fish that move from salt water to freshwater).
1996 – Monterey Amendments litigation filed against DWR. (Planning and Conservation League vs. Department of Water Resources and Central Coast Water Authority).
1996 – An Interior Department solicitor published a legal opinion that water for Native American tribal trust obligations and endangered species take precedence over deliveries of irrigation water to farmers and wildlife refuges.
1996 – Scientists studying the Upper Klamath Lake begin to focus on the roles of algae, nutrients, temperature, ammonia and alkalinity in triggering periodic die-offs of suckers. 
1996-98: The Lost, Klamath, Salmon, Scott and Shasta rivers are listed as impaired under the federal Clean Water Act, launching regulatory steps to improve water quality.
1997 – New Year’s storms cause state’s second most devastating flood of the century, many say, since dams and levees were constructed. Forty-two counties are declared disaster areas and Gov. Pete Wilson calls a special session of the Legislature to expedite handling flood-relief legislation. Flows into many of the state’s reservoirs – which are at 90 percent of their capacity – are 15 to 20 percent higher than any on record. Floods cost farmers more than $297 million in damage.
1997 – State Water Project’s Santa Barbara Aqueduct completed.
1997 – Construction begins on the $1.2 billion Inland Feeder waterline, a 43-mile network of large-diameter tunnels and pipelines in Southern California. Completion is expected by 2008.
1997 – Silverwood Lake celebrates Grand Reopening after the completion of new intake structure.
1997 – Construction begins on the $1.2 billion Inland Feeder waterline, a 43-mile network of large-diameter tunnels and pipelines in Southern California. Completion is expected by 2008.
1997 – Reclamation publishes proposed rule for off stream storage and recovery of Colorado River water.
1997 – Coho salmon in Southern Oregon and Northern California Coastal region listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
1998 – Imperial Irrigation District and San Diego County Water Authority entered into a long-term conservation and water transfer agreement.
1998 – 
In February, Santa Clara County is declared a disaster area due to flooding. More than 1.1 million sandbags are distributed throughout the county. All 10 district reservoirs are spilling. More than 40 homes are flooded in Milpitas.
1998 – First of several unsuccessful negotiations undertaken among some Klamath Basin water interests.
1998 – CALFED releases final plan on fixing the Delta and Record of Decision for the CALFED Bay-Delta Program Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report.
1998 – The Steelhead trout is listed as threatened species under Endangered Species Act.
1998-99 – Winter storms bury Oregon with the heaviest snows since 1974. Record snowfall at Crater Lake.
1999 – Interstate banking rule allowing Lower Basin states to store water in Arizona aquifers is completed.
1999 – Spring run Chinook Salmon and Coastal Chinook Salmon listed as threatened specials under Endangered Species Act.
1999 – Critical habitat is defined for the coho. On July 12, a biological opinion from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) concludes project operations would affect, but not likely jeopardize, coho. 
A study by Thomas Hardy, a Utah State University hydrologist, is published in the fall. It calls for instream flows to protect the fish far higher than those set by FERC, or those agreed to by Reclamation in 1996.
1999 – Imperial irrigation District Board of Directors, Coachella Valley Water District, and Metropolitan Water District approved the Key Terms for Quantification Settlement among the State of California, Imperial Irrigation District, Coachella Irrigation District, and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, as the basis for obtaining public input regarding Colorado River use in California—this is referred to as the Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA).
1999 – Klamath Water Users v. Patterson.  Irrigators claimed PacifiCorp does not have a legal duty to operate the dam to meet its ESA obligation. The district court held that the Irrigators’ rights to water are subservient to the ESA.
1999 – Sacramento splittail minnow added to federal endangered species list.

more california water timelines icon

1850 – 1889 … A growing need for water

1900 – 1949 … Reclamation & Realization

1950 – 1999 … Big projects & legislation

2000 – present … Challenges on all fronts

The timelines above were complied by
Anders Tomlinson from the following sites:

California Water Chronology  … UCSD Water Economics

Water, CA Media BookWater Education Foundation

Imperial Valley Irrigation DistrictSacramento-San Joaquin-Delta

Klamath Basin ChronologyColorado River Timeline

San Diego Water HistorySanta Clara County Water History

Hetch Hetchy TimelineMetropolitan Water District

©2014 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.