California’s Water Conservation Regulations and the Law of Unintended Consequences Part 4—Fairness

A lot has happened since Governor Brown issued his executive order on April 1, 2015 directing the State Board to impose mandatory conservation regulations. On water supply matters, a projected El Niño phenomenon failed to materialize in a way that provided significant water supply impacts for Southern California. 2016 was the Golden State’s hottest summer. And according to the Department of Water Resources, the state suffered a “snow drought” during Water Year 2016. Snow is important as a natural reservoir that provides a reliable flow of water as it melts during the spring and summer.

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The Use of Eminent Domain in California to Take Over Private Water Companies Part II: Changes in Citizen Sentiment Complicate the Process

In my last post, I wrote about how Apple Valley, a community in San Bernardino County began an eminent domain proceeding to take over Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company (AVR), a private water utility in the town. At the time of the passage of the resolutions of necessity in November 2015, the town’s citizens seemed ready and willing to embark on a protracted process to gain local control over the water system. A poll that the town conducted around the time of the resolutions of necessity determined that 70% of the population supported a takeover of the water system. The continued cost increases, drought surcharges and the desire for local control seemed to unite the citizens around the need for eminent domain proceedings. Continue reading

The Use of Eminent Domain to Take Over Private Water Companies in California Part I: The Case of Apple Valley’s Proceedings to Acquire Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company

The use of eminent domain across the world can often be a contentious process regardless of what property is being taken. In China, the City of Beijing evicted an estimated 1.5 million people from their homes in the city to make way for the buildings and infrastructure needed for the Olympics. In some instances, the citizens were not justly compensated, and developers would take drastic steps to force unwilling residents to move from their properties. In the City of Kunming, an elderly 83 year-old woman refused to vacate her property after her neighborhood was slated for development. To drive her out, the developer leveled all of the properties around her home, cut electricity and dug a two meter deep mote around her house. Yikes. Continue reading

After the Election – The Potential Effects of a Donald Trump Presidency on Water Policy and the Agriculture Industry

We witnessed an amazing turn of events over the last week. At the time of publishing my Hydrowonk post last week, virtually every major poll had Hillary Clinton winning the presidency, some by a wide margin. Polls from major media groups, such as The Los Angeles Times for example, assumed that Clinton would win 352 electoral votes. Other polls projected that the Democrats had a very good chance of retaking the Senate. Instead, Donald Trump secured 290 electoral votes (at the time of publishing this post, Michigan still has not certified the final presidential results) by sweeping key swing states in the Midwest and flipping traditionally blue states such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The Harvard Business Review argues that relying on telephone calls to get accurate polling data is an outdated and inaccurate system now that most phones have caller ID, thus making it more likely that people will not pick up the phone for a pollster. Further, polls can tell you who a person may vote for, but it cannot guarantee that the person will make it to the polls on Election Day. But regardless of the causes for the very wrong polling data, Donald Trump now begins his transition as President-elect while retaining majorities in both the House and Senate. Continue reading