The Chronicles of the Hydraulic Brotherhood
Lloyd G. Carter, former UPI and Fresno Bee reporter, has been writing about California water issues for more than 35 years. He is President of the California Save Our Streams Council. He is also a board member of the Underground Gardens Conservancy and host of a monthly radio show on KFCF, 88.1 FM in Fresno. This is his personal blog site and contains archives of his news career as well as current articles, radio commentaries, and random thoughts.

Will Westlands sell water to Southern California uban interests?

Go to this website to see a video on whether or not Westlands will sell water to urban interests instead of using it for farming:

Lawsuit filed against LA County Approval of Massive Newhall Ranch Project

Development in Floodplain Would Devastate Wildlife Habitat, Hurt Cultural Resources



LOS ANGELES— A coalition of five public-interest groups today sued Los Angeles County in Superior Court over its approval of permits for the first phase of the sprawling Newhall Ranch development — one of the largest single residential development projects ever contemplated in California — which is proposed for 12,000 acres along the Santa Clara River in northwest L.A. County. Newhall Ranch would create a city of more than 60,000 on a six-mile stretch of the river that is currently rugged open space and farmland by channeling the county’s last mostly free-flowing river.



The construction approved by the county on Feb. 23 would require filling of the Santa Clara River’s floodplain on a large scale; channelizing over three miles of river and converting many tributary streams to concrete-lined channels; unearth and desecrate American Indian burial sites, sacred places and cultural natural resources such as the California condor; and threaten the San Fernando Valley spineflower — a species found in only one other location on the planet.



Will Westlands sell water to raise money to pay bonds?

Westlands Water District Deputy General Manager Jason Peltier recently told a state senate committee the mammoth federal water district will not be reselling irrigation water to urban interests and that the water district’s growers were not “profiteers.”  Questions have been raised because the bond rating agency Fitch recently reported that Westlands could “potentially” sell off some of its water supply, if necessary to pay off $50 million in bonds that Westlands and some adjacent water districts took out. Click on "1 attachment" below.

Gorbachev says the world must respond to global water crisis

Marseille, France - The world must urgently respond to the global water crisis to prevent conflicts, ensure fair access to this life-giving resource, and reduce unsustainable use of water and other natural resources to protect the planet, Green Cross International Founder Mikhail Gorbachev said during his address to today’s (Monday, March 12) high-level opening of the 6th World Water Forum.


President Gorbachev, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said there must be a political, economic and social shift in the way we deal with water, otherwise the world will encounter devastating political and humanitarian consequences.


“Water is at the heart of our economies, our societies, our futures,” “Water is the basis for all development and its strategic importance has demonstrated it can serve as a vehicle for peace and also tension. The risk of competition between regions and countries may only increase if we do not find a way to protect and share water.” “On our planet Earth we do have water, but accessible resources of fresh water are limited, and water use for human needs keeps rising. Continuation of water consumption at 20th century rates is no longer possible,” President Gorbachev told the World Water Forum, being held in Marseille, France.


New York Times Article on selenium causing two-headed trout in Idaho

Well, the New York Times has released  an article on selenium poisoning in Idaho. 

To read the Times piece click here:

You may also want to check this website:


It will be interesting to see if the Times now begins following this issue and reporting on developments, particularly in California agriculture and West Virginia coal mining.  

Two-headed fish from selenium poisoning? They're here!!

The news has broken that selenium from phosphate mining in Idaho has triggered grotesque mutations in fish in Idaho creeks, notably two-headed fish.  This story was first broken by Patrick Porgans, a California State Water Resources Control Board watchdog and top notch investigator.  He had been sitting on the story for months in order to protect his sources.  Porgan's detailed report can be found at his website:

A Reuters News Service article on the two-headed fish, reprinted at the Scientific American magazine website, can also  be found at  READ MORE »

Who needs a cost-benefit analysis? Not Southern California

By Lloyd G. Carter

When Assembly Member Alyson Huber of El Dorado Hills failed to get an economic feasibility analysis bill on the controversial proposed peripheral canal out of committee recently, she was probably unaware that a similar challenge had been made to the finances of the State Water Project in 1960 by the late George “Elfie” Ballis, a legendary figure in Central California water and farmworker politics.

Huber’s bill (AB 550) would have required express approval of the Legislature for any “conveyance facility, an honest cost-benefit analysis of a peripheral canal or tunnel around the Delta” (which proponents claim would help the Delta) and prohibit any diminishing or negative impact on Delta water supplies, water rights, or water users. It failed to clear the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife on a 7-5 vote. But the vote was not along party lines. It was based on geography. North State legislators, including committee chairman Jared Huffman voted for it. The Southern California Committee members voted against it.  READ MORE »

You Get What You Push Poll For

By Lloyd G. Carter


The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) has trotted out a Field Research Corporation poll taken in November, claiming it shows that an “overwhelming majority” of those surveyed agree “the state has major water problems and must invest [billions of dollars] in its water infrastructure to ensure reliable water now and in future years.”


Adds Mark DiCamillo, senior vice president with Field Research: “You still have a significant majority saying they are concerned about water, even though there are huge concerns about the economy today. There is also a core base of support for investing public dollars in upgrading and expanding the state’s water system through a water bond. That base is about 40 %, with another 22 % that is sympathetic and inclined to feel that way.” Well now, these are some bold claims – are they not? – for a highly controversial $11 billion water bond that will ultimately cost voters statewide some $22 billion, all drawn from the state’s already stressed out general fund, and undoubtedly forcing further layoffs of nurses, firefighters, police, and teachers, and more cutbacks in programs for the disabled, elderly, and poor.


Westlands acreage up sharply in 2011 but the state claims Mendota unemployment is also up to a record 42.3 percent. Say what?

Remember the great Westlands Water District protest in the year of 2009 when the western Fresno County farm town of Mendota, with its alleged 40 percent unemployment rate, was made the poster child for the Westlands cry for more water?  Well, now comes word that Westlands planted acreage in 2011, a very good water year, was up 139,000 acres, the highest in a decade.  What was the Mendota unemployment this year, according to the California Empoloyment Development Department?  A record 42.3 percent. Dr. Jeffrey Michael, Director of the Business Forecasting Center at the University of the Pacific, says the Mendota EDD unmployment numbers are just as inaccurate  now as they were in 2009 and Mendota employment is actually around 25 percent this year and was at 30 percent in 2009. Why isn't the mainstream media covering this?  To learn more, check out Dr. Michael's blog HERE.

Videotaped speech by newly retired federal judge Oliver Wanger at the Southern California Water Committee annual gathering

On November 17, 2011, Federal Judge Oliver Wanger gave his world view of California water politics and litigation in a  speech before a gathering of the Southern California Water Committee. You can watch the videotaped speech at

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