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.

Clean Water, Clean Power - the Case for Solar Floatovoltaics

By Emma Bailey

  Human-caused climate change is a very real and urgent threat to all life on this planet. The rapidly worsening issue of global warming requires an immediate switch to energy sources which generate far fewer emissions during production.  According to the stabilization wedge theory, we already have the means to get climate change “under control.” The theory surmises that we can and should use a variety of conservation and energy production methods, rather than rely on a single "silver bullet.” Implementing the recommendations of this theory, however, will call for new and ingenious approaches to all aspects of the power production cycle.


Alarming amounts of mercury and selenium found in Grand Canyon watershed

  A new study, published in the scientific journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, has found mercury and selenium in the Grand Canyon segment of Colorado River at concentrations “sufficient to pose exposure risks for fish, wildlife, and humans.”  READ MORE HERE:

  Read the full report at:





Retiring Toxic CA Farmland Better Deal Than Tunnels

SPECIAL REPORT: tunnels map
Retiring Toxic Farmland in Western San Joaquin Valley Would Save Water, Environment and Taxpayer Money

Land retirement 25x cheaper than Tunnel plan and could save 450,000 acre-feet of water

Sacramento, CA – A new report by EcoNorthwest, an independent economic analysis firm, estimates that 300,000 acres of toxic land in the Westlands Water District and three adjacent water districts could be retired at a cost of $580 million to $1 billion.  READ MORE »

Photosynthesis Power: Algae as a Green, Clean, Energy Source


By Emma Bailey


Water continues to be the source of all life-giving power. The microorganisms which formed petroleum were, of course, first found beneath the sea bed; however the harmful, expensive and dirty process of their extraction negates most if not all benefits of their continued use. Algae, also typically found in aquatic environments, may seem to be an unlikely candidate for energy generation. However, these waterborne organisms, capable of cleaning wastewater while also providing a viable source of biofuel, might be the clean, “renewable” energy source we’ve all been looking for.


LA Times editorial says GOP proposed water bill in Congress is a bad idea

  If you are wondering about the wisdom and costs of a California water bill being proposed in Congress by Hanford Congressman David Valadao, then you should definitely read the Los Angeles Times editorial on the subject.  Here is the link:

Fitch Ratings says a California appellate court ruling is likely to have limited impact on tiered-water pricing

28 April 2015

   A court ruling reinforcing the requirement that California water utilities link their tiered fees to the cost of providing water may reduce revenue and increase compliance costs slightly for a few but will likely have limited credit impact, Fitch Ratings says. Nearly all Fitch-rated water utilities in the state use tiered water rate pricing. Those that have sufficiently justified their tiered water pricing based on direct cost recovery of capital, conservation programs, higher treatment, and purchased water costs will see limited impacts. However, some may be required to re-examine their rate structures, undergo more rigorous analysis of cost of service, and provide greater rate transparency going forward.  READ MORE »

California Energy needs and Air Quality hurt by Drought

By Emma Bailey

editor's note: Chronicles of the Hydraulic Brotherhood is now accepting articles from anyone with something important to say about California Water issues.

On November 8, 2014, Lake Oroville, the second largest man-made lake in California, plunged to a record low: 26 percent of capacity. Boaters were forced to rappel from dock parking lots to their listing motorboats far below. Just 46 more feet lost and the lake would be rendered impotent, unable to produce power. If all the remaining water in the similarly starved reservoirs of Lake Shasta, Trinity Lake, and Folsom Lake was to be poured into Oroville Lake, it would still only be 80 percent full.

Prior to 2011, California drew 18 percent of its in-state electricity generation from 287 hydropower plants, from impoundments, run-of river and pumped storage facilities. A small fraction of its hydropower was (and is) imported from the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest's Hoover Dam. This energy source (learn more here) would have been a great alternative to traditional sources, such as coal or natural gas.  READ MORE »

Lawsuit Asserts Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Reservoir Violates California Law

Restore Hetch Hetchy’s petition alleges reservoir’s diversion of water unreasonable; ‘Not One Drop of Water Need be Lost in Restoration’

OAKLAND, CA- April 21, 2015 - Restore Hetch Hetchy (RHH) today (April 21, 2015)filed a petition(1) in Superior Court in Tuolumne County asserting that the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park violates the water diversion mandates of the California Constitution. California’s Constitution(2) requires that the manner of diverting water out of streams and rivers must always be reasonable.

Restore Hetch Hetchy’s petition alleges that since there are many feasible alternatives for diverting the water downstream of Yosemite and allowing the Tuolumne River to flow through Hetch Hetchy Valley in a pristine state, theexisting reservoir violates the law. “Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park was once one of our nation’s most treasured landscapes. Its destruction, allowed a hundred years ago, is widely regarded as a mistake - a mistake that we don’t need to live with,” said Spreck Rosekrans, Executive Director of Restore Hetch Hetchy.  READ MORE »

Patrick Porgans Fact Sheet - Clean Water Act: California's Abysmal Progress Report

The significance of the article/fact sheet (attachments) below, compiled by Patrick Porgans, is that all levels of government have  expended, and continue to expend, billions of dollars on Clean and Safe Drinking Water Act(s) programs and, although it has had more than 40 years to get the job done, according to EPA the condition of the State's water has been getting worse. 

Remember that a significant amount of the General Obligation bond funds, including Proposition 1, are used under the guise of clean and safe drinking water.

A little California water rights history

California Water Rights Law Reaches Milestone: 100 Years and Counting From the State Water Resources Control Board In the long and contentious history of water rights in California, one date stands out: Dec. 19, 1914, exactly 100 years ago.

That year brought order and structure to California’s previously often chaotic and litigious water rights landscape. It also marks a dividing line in the hierarchy of water rights – an appropriative right is either “Pre-1914” or “Post-1914.” To appropriative water right holders, which side of 1914 their right falls on makes a big difference in how the right is administered and the security of the right, especially in a drought situation. In the years before 1914, California water claims could be initiated simply by diverting and using the water, and battles over water rights were decided in courts, if not in more violent venues.  READ MORE »

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