California Water Timeline: 2000 – Present

2000 – California population is 33,871,648
2000 – CALFED’s final report to focus on ecosystem restoration. Plans to commence with water conservation, water reclamation and groundwater recharge before new constructing new surface water projects.
2000 – CALFED Record of Decision signed by state and federal agencies.
2000 – DWR begins collaborative, strategic planning process for California Water Plan Update 2003.
2000 – Diamond Valley Lake, the largest drinking water reservoir in Southern California, opens in Hemet.
2001 – Klamath Project irrigation water crisis. 2001 – Febuary, Federal officials declare a drought in the Klamath Project.
2001 – March 1, Klamath Project manager announces irrigating water may not be available.
2001 – March 13, a new Biological Opinion from Fish and Wildlife Service calls for a minimum elevation in Upper Klamath Lake of 4,140.0 feet above sea level to protect suckers.
2001 – March 19, a new BiOp from NMFS calls for increased flows below Iron Gate Dam to protect coho salmon habitat.
2001 – March 29, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber declares a drought and asks Secretary of Agriculture to provide emergency aid.
2001 – March 31, The Klamath Project’s 2000 operating plan expires.
2001 – April 1-2, Interior Department, Klamath Project officials and scientists from NMFS and FWS are called to Washington to review the biological opinions and proposed 2001 operating plan. Discussions continue through the weekend with Vice President Dick Cheney’s staff.
2001 – April 4, a district court judge rules the Klamath Project is in violation of the Endangered Species Act and cannot deliver irrigating water. The judge also declares the Hardy Phase I report the “best available science” for protecting coho.
2001 – April 6, the Department of Interior announces that no irrigation water will be available from Upper Klamath Lake. A compromise lake elevation is arrived at to protect sucker habitat and provide sufficient water for salmon. Clear Lake and Gerber Reservoir are tapped for 70,000 acre-feet of water for farmers in Langell Valley and Horsefly irrigation districts. The Department of Agriculture approves emergency aid for the Project’s 1,500 farmers.
2001 – May 7, “Klamath Bucket Brigade” draws more than 15,000 people and national media attention. Homesteader Jess Prosser fills the first bucket.
2001 – July. Klamath Project ‘A” Canal headgates are partially opened in defiance of the April 6 decision, beginning a summer-long protest effort at the A Canal head gates. Klamath Tea Party on July 4 draws national attention.
2001 – Restore Hetch Hetchy raises funds; hires Ron Good as Executive Director to further pursue a feasibility study for the restoration of Hetch Hetchy. Restore Hetch Hetchy invites people to join as members. Sierra Club Hetch Hetchy Restoration Task Force continues its efforts.
2001 – Sept. 11, Klamath Project “A” Canal Headgates protesters voluntarily agree to end their vigil out of respect for the nation’s pressing security issues.
2001 – November, the Secretary of the Interior requests the National Academy of Sciences convene a panel to assess the science used by NMFS and FWS in developing BOs for BuRec Operations Plans for Klamath Project.
2001-03: Imperial irrigation District, CVWD, and Metropolitan Water District engaged in Quantification Settlement Agreement negotiations with the State of California and the US Bureau of Reclamation.
2002 – February, Natural Resource Council panel releases an interim report finding insufficient support for a causal relationship between higher lake levels and river levels and fish survival. Secretary of the Interior Norton declares that this comprises the “best available science” for protecting endangered fish. 
FWS under the Bush Administration reverses course and withdraws the 2001 Environmental Assessment and 1998 Compatibility Determination.  Agriculture provided with full water.
2002 – April, Environmental organizations bring suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California claiming Reclamation is in procedural violation of the Endangered Species Act with respect to coho salmon. They seek a temporary restraining order to preclude irrigation diversions. The request is denied in May. 
2002 – Voters approve Proposition 50, a $3.44 billion bond issue to fund improvements in water quality and reliability.
2002 – October 19, New York Times advocates feasibility study to see whether it would be economically and hydrologically feasible to remove the dam that created Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park; says San Francisco’s water needs could be met in other ways. The NY Times seventh editorial on Hetch Hetchy, but the first in 89 years!
2002 – Statement of principles for settlement of the Monterey Amendments litigation.
2002 – Olivenhain Dam completed. The dam and reservoir are part of the San Diego County Water Authority’s Emergency Storage Project and a piece of the Authority’s Capital Improvement Program. The Olivenhain Dam is the first roller-compacted concrete dam in California, and at 318 feet high, stands taller than any other roller-compacted concrete in North America.
2002 – June, Imperial irrigation District published the final environmental impact reports and a habitat conservation plan required for the Imperial irrigation District/San Diego County Water Authority water conservation and transfer program.
2002 – September, at least 34,000, and as many as 70,000, salmon die near the mouth of the Klamath River in September.
2002 – Department of Water Resources seeks new license from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to operate Oroville Facilities (FERC Project No.2100) in Butte County.
2002 – December, the State Water Resources Control Board approved the Imperial irrigation District/San Diego County Water Authority transfer.
2003 – Interior Secretary orders California’s Colorado River allocation limited to 4.4 million acre-feet; water users sign Quantification Settlement Agreement.
2003 – January, California Department of Fish and Game (CDF&G) releases report finding that high densities of fish in the lower river (below Iron Gate Dam) resulting from low streamflows and restricted passage, 2) warm temperatures¨C stressful to salmonids, and 3) consequent favorable conditions for transmission and outbreak of salmonid diseases lead to fish mortality.
2003 – Paterno v. State of California ruling by third Appellate District Count determined the state of California liable for potentially hundreds of millions of dollars because state accepted levee without any measures to ensure it met design standards and then failed in 1986 flood.
2003 – Restore Hetch Hetchy releases a new video/DVD explaining its campaign to restore Hetch Hetchy. A University of California Master’s thesis indicates that it is feasible to restore Hetch Hetchy – the first of several recent studies to make this determination.
2003 – June, conflicting requirements of “dueling biological opinions” leads to a near shutdown of the Klamath Project to avoid dropping Upper Klamath Lake 0.1 feet below the Fish and Wildlife Service’s biological opinion.
2003 – SWP contractors, DWR and environmental groups settle lawsuit over the Monterey Amendment.
2003 – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removes Sacramento splittail from federal ESA list of threatened species.
2003 – Inaugural meeting of the California Bay- Delta Authority,formerly known as CALFED. CBDA specifically is charged with ensuring balanced implementation of the CALFED Record of Decision.
2003 – Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement and Salton Sea ecosystem restoration legislation create new responsibilities for the Resources Agency and for the Departments of Fish and Game and Water Resources.
2003 – October, Colorado River Water Delivery Agreement (Federal Agreement) was signed by the US Secretary of the Interior, the Central Valley Water District, Imperial Irrigation District, San Diego County Water Authority, and Metropolitan Water District; also, the Quantification Settlement Agreement and Related Agreements were signed by the US Secretary of the Interior and representatives of various Indian tribes, the US Bureau of Reclamation, the Central Valley Water District, Imperial Irrigation District, San Diego County Water Authority, and Metropolitan Water District.
2003 – October, National Academy of Sciences National Research Council Committee on Endangered and Threatened Fishes in the Klamath Basin releases final report: 1. The recovery of endangered suckers and threatened coho salmon cannot be achieved by actions exclusively or primarily focused on the Project operation. 2. No evidence of a causal connection between Upper Klamath Lake water levels and sucker health, or that higher Klamath River flows help coho.
3. No evidence that Project operations caused the 2002 fish die-off or that changes would have prevented it.
2003 – Fall, Fish and Wildlife Service releases its findings on the fall Klamath River 2002 fish die-off and arrives at substantially the same conclusion as CDF&G. 
2003 – December, Imperial Irrigation District implementation of 13-month Emergency Fallowing Program; Imperial Irrigation District paid water users to fallow 69 fields to generate water to meet transfer and mitigation obligations defined in the QSA.
2003 – Monterey County Seaside Basin Adjudication mandates forced reductions of groundwater pumped from the basin.
2004 – State Board initiates review of 1995 Water Quality Control Plan.
2004 – February, PacifiCorp notice of application for relicensing Iron Gate Dam on the Klamath River in the Klamath Project.
2004 – Congress approves long-awaited legislation to re-authorize and help fund the CALFED program.
2004 – Scientific surveys reveal ongoing fish population crash. New law directs Department of Water Resources to evaluate Delta’s future and rank alternative solutions.
2004 – National Resource Council releases its Final Klamath Basin Report.
2004 – April, Imperial Irrigation District acquired 41,761.4 acres of agricultural lands located within its service area from a California limited partnership, to ensure that Imperial Irrigation District would be able to meet its water transfer and mitigation obligations for the duration of the required fallowing period (through 2017).
2004 – July, Imperial Irrigation District implementation of second Fallowing Program; 118 fields were fallowed.
2004 – Bush Administration proposes raising the rent for Hetch Hetchy from $30,000 to $8 million a year. The annual rent of $30,000 San Francisco pays for Hetch Hetchy has not changed since the 1920s. Nothing happens
2004 – September, Imperial Irrigation District engaged Parsons Water and Infrastructure, Inc. for project management and construction management of the All-American Canal Lining Project.
2004 – November, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Secretary of Resources announces the state will study restoring Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite – Study will  look at costs for replacing water storage and economic benefits of restoring public access to unique valley, but will only use existing studies.
2005 – January, PacifiCorp notifies Oregon officials that with the expiration of its 50 year contract to run the dams in the KB they will be raising electricity rates. This will affect farmers, as the cost to pump irrigation water will increase. Rates may increase by tenfold.
2005 – January, Bureau of Reclamation announces implementation of the 2005 Water Bank for the Klamath Basin. The Water Bank consists of several programs, including on- and off-project storage, groundwater pumping, and dryland operation.
2005 – Scientific surveys of the Delta and Suisun Marsh reveal ongoing, sweeping population crash of native pelagic fish.
2005 – Twenty-six groups, including state and federal agencies, irrigators, fishermen, Indian tribes and environmental organizations, begin negotiations that ultimately lead to the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement begin in earnest.
2005 – Karuk Tribe identifies dangerous toxic algae blooms on PacifiCorp’s reservoirs. The algae spreads when nutrient-rich water warms and stagnates behind the dams. Public health warnings are posted near the reservoirs for the next 5 years. Tribes return to Scotland to disrupt Scottish Power’s shareholder meeting.
2005 – Legislation directs Department of Water Resources to evaluate the future of the Delta.
2005 – Sacramento Bee “Hetch Hetchy Reclaimed” series wins the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing.
2006 – Projected weak runs of Klamath River Chinook salmon force closure of the ocean salmon harvest from Monterey, Calif. to Southern Oregon.
2006 – Coalition of fishing groups sue Department of Water Resources, alleging the agency never obtained proper legal authority to take endangered fish while exporting water.
2006 – Legal settlement among a coalition of environmental and fishing groups, the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Commerce and the Friant Water Users Authority ending a 18 year legal battle over claims to release water from Friant Dam to maintain a live stream for fish to the Merced River.
2006 – Legal ruling upholds most of D-1641; State Water Board adopts updated water quality plan.
2006 – Coalition of fishing groups sues DWR, alleging it never obtained proper legal authority to kill fish while exporting water.
2006 – PacifiCorp’s license for Klamath Hydroelectric Project expires. The relicensing process continues; the company faces major costs to meet environmental standards required by federal regulators.
2006 – August, U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez declares a commercial fishery failure for West Coast salmon fishermen from Cape Falcon, Ore., to Point Sur, Calif.
2006 – Scottish Power sells PacifiCorp to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
2006 – Bay Delta Conservation Plan Steering Committee is formed to create a Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Community Conservation Plan for the Delta.
2007 – State Water Project pumping operations shut down to protect endangered delta smelt (Wanger Decision).
2007 – Department of Water Resources estimates that Delta levees are vulnerable to massive failure if major earthquake occurs.
2007 – Seven Colorado River states agree to new drought rules and shortage criteria.
2007 – January, Interior Department includes $7 million for further study of the benefits of restoring Hetch Hetchy in its proposed budget. In response, some politicians say they don’t even want to study the issue, while others say we need more information before making any decisions. Congress nixed the study proposal.
2007 – Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force releases plan. Other Delta planning processes continue.
2007 – Department of Water Resources releases major study (Delta Risk Management Study) that estimates 209 Delta island floodings could occur within the next 100 years.
2007 – Gov. Schwarzenegger endorses a canal to transfer water around the Delta.
2007 – The USFWS proposed a new recovery plan intended to guide all management actions on lands where spotted owls occur, and to aid in recovery of the species. Early proposals were criticized by environmental groups as significantly weakening existing protections for the species.
2007 – FERC releases a final EIS recommending the dams remain (with fish to be trucked around them) but also showing dam removal to be cheaper than relicensing. One week later NOAA & USFWS require volitional fish passage, ruling out the trap-and-haul option.
2007 – The USFWS proposed a new recovery plan intended to guide all management actions on lands where spotted owls occur, and to aid in recovery of the species. Early proposals were criticized by environmental groups as significantly weakening existing protections for the species.
2007 – Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force report says a healthy Delta ecosystem and a reliable water supply are the primary, coequal goals for sustainable management of the Delta.
2008 – January, Draft Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement released; provides for settlement of key water conflicts and calls for a major salmon restoration effort; also calls for separate agreement concerning the removal of the Klamath Hydroelectric Project dams.
2008 – Department of Water Resources initiates Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) EIS/EIR.
2008 – Governor declares statewide drought after second dry/critical year.
2008 – After a successful lawsuit from Kurok, US EPA lists PacifiCorp’s reservoirs as impaired by dam-caused algal toxins. The listing potentially blocks the corporation’s chance to acquire a 401 Clean Water Act permit needed to relicense the dams.
2008 – Schwarzenegger directs Department of Water Resources to study at least four Delta water conveyance alternatives.
2008 – Public Policy institute of California issues report saying a peripheral canal is best Delta conveyance for meeting co-equal goals of healthy Delta ecosystem and water supply reliability.
2008 – A court-ordered biological opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concludes that Delta smelt were in jeopardy of extinction from the operation of the Delta export pumps.
2008 – November, the United States, California, Oregon and PacifiCorp announce an agreement regarding dam removal; it is the first time the dam owner commits publicly to such a scenario.
2008 – Pacific Fishery Management Council closes the salmon fishing season throughout California.
2009 – U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger rules federal government did not analyze impact of Delta smelt protection rules on water exporters.
2009 – Gov. Schwarzenegger signs a comprehensive water package designed to achieve the co-equal goals.
2009 – Draft Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement released.
2009 – San Joaquin River Restoration Act passed by Congress.
2009 – USGS report finds that about 60 million acre-feet of groundwater has been lost in the San Joaquin Valley since 1961.
2009 – Salmon, steelhead and sturgeon in the Central Valley are being driven to extinction by State Water Project and Central Valley Project Delta export facilities and upstream reservoir operations, according to National Marine Fisheries Service draft report.
2009 – State issued Cease and Desist Order mandates forced reductions of Monterey County Carmel River diversions; customer demand for water will exceed available “legal” supplies; new supply is needed just to keep up with existing demand.
2009 – Congress and the Department of Interior calls for National Academy of Sciences to begin a two-year review of the biological opinions issued by both the USFWS and NOAA.
2009 – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs a comprehensive water package designed to achieve the co-equal goals of ecosystem restoration and water supply reliability.

2010 – California population is 37,253,956.
2010 – Judge Wanger rules the federal government failed to consider impacts to water users when it restricted pumping from Delta to protect Chinook spring-run salmon and other fish.
2010 – Final Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement signed.  Implementation contingent on authorizing legislation, funding and environmental review.
2011 – July, The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for determines in re-licensing proceedings that the Don Pedro Reservoir’s effect on the Tuolumne River cannot be separated from that of other system reservoirs – in particular Lake Lloyd, Lake Eleanor and the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, all owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco.
2012 – Central Valley Flood Protection Plan adopted by state flood board.
2012 – Voters in San Francisco defeat a local ballot proposition, Propostion F, the “Water and Environemnt Plan” which proposed to have the City of San Frnacisco prepare a two-phase study that would evaluate how to drain the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir so that it can be restored by the National Park Service and identify replacement water and power sources.
2012 – Bureau of Reclamation releases Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand study that projects a range of future water supply and demand imbalances for the seven Colorado River states.
2012 – Final Klamath Dam removal EIS/EIR issued.
2012 – Monumental five year agreement, Minute 319, sets stage for improved Colorado River water supply reliability between the United States and Mexico.
2012 – The Legislature approves a bill to take the water bond off the 2012 ballot and put it on the 2014 ballot.
2012 – California American Water files the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project proposal.
2013 – State Water Resources Control Board continues update of flow objectives as recommended by Delta Plan.
2013 – Delta Plan adopted by Delta Stewardship Council.
2013 – Final chapters of Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) released in May by Governor Jerry Brown’s administration proposing long-term Delta restoration and promoting a more reliable statewide water supply through the creation of twin tunnels to move water beneath the Delta to the existing state and federal pumping facilities.  Public comment to begin in October.
2013 – Klamath Project Biological Opinion issued.
2013 – With the region in drought conditions, Klamath tribes and federal government exercise water rights in the Upper Klamath Basin for the first time. This cuts off irrigation water to agricultural growers in the upper basin.
2013 – Carmel River Reroute and San Clemente Dam Removal commences; 16 coalition organizations sign a settlement agreement covering many of the key issues associated with the project; well borehole testing underway.

2014 – California population estimate is 38,340,000.
2014 – Gov. Jerry Brown signs legislation creating local agencies to oversee groundwater pumping, making California the last state in the West to regulate groundwater.
2014 – Borehole analysis released; anticipated approval by the CPUC of the Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project.
2014 – Brown signs a $7.5 billion water bond that will go before California voters in November. The bond contains for $2.7 billion for new storage, $1.49 billion for watershed restoration, $810 million for water reliability projects, $520 million for water quality projects, $725 million for water recycling, $900 million for groundwater cleanup and $395 million for flood management.
2014 – Voters approve water bond measure 66.8% to 33.2%. The $7.5 billion water bond is meant to shore up the state’s ability to cope with drought conditions and will increase its water storage capacity and protect drinking water.
2020 – Earliest year in which dam removal would begin under the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement.

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Pre-1859… Fire and Ice, Humans and Water

1860 – 1899… Roads, Linkville, Modoc Indian War, Klamath Falls

1900 – 1949… Automobiles, Reclamations, Trains, Farming

1950 – 1999… Timber, Ranches, Boomers

2000 – Present… Legislation, Court decisions, Science Studies

Modoc Indian War… Indians, Settlers, U.S. Army

Bill and LoEtta Cadman, Ina and Roy Reed, Pat McMillian, William Brady, Andrew Ortis, John Pratt, Art Eggleston, Rob Crawford – Crawford Farms, Cindy Wright and Bev Wampler are some of the many folks that helped Anders compile this timeline.

more california water timelines icon

1850 – 1889 … A growing need for irrigation and power

1900 – 1949 … Reclamation & Realization

1950 – 1999 … Big projects & legislation

2000 – present … Times they are a changing

These Califoria Water timelines above are complied from Imperial Valley, San Diego, Metropolitan Water District – serving all of Southern California, Monterey, Santa Clara Valley, San Francisco and Hetch Hetchy, Central Valley, Klamath River, Upper Klamath Basin and Colorado River timelines.

alamos history timeline icon

Álamos, Sonora, Mexico Timelines … Álamos is at the southeast corner of the Great Basin & Range, Klamath County is at the northwest corner of the Great Basin & Range. Both Álamos and the Upper Klamath Basin are rich in history, wildlife and natural ecosystems.

©2014 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.