In the first, we hear about an irrigation district that paid for the aqueduct required to take delivery of water from the Bureau of Reclamation. BurRec never delivered because the water was diverted elsewhere -- to fish.
The district lost a suit claiming breach of contract, and others have been told to expect the same treatment, i.e., "the courts seem to be finding the government is not in breach of contract if the government decides to use the water for another purpose."
In the second, farmers and others in the California's central Valley are up in arms on the LAO's suggestion that their groundwater withdrawals be monitored and/or their rights be subject to
The farmers' hyperbole does make for good reading: Stockton water attorney Dante Nomellini said "It should be a local matter. They want to eliminate all property rights to water."
Well, the first thing to remember is that many Central valley areas are in the dark ages with respect to water management,* and the second one to note is that "what gets measured gets managed." Since groundwater is shared by different people, and surface water flows all over the place, we need to know how much of each is being used -- especially if water markets are expanded. If surface water can be sold and replaced by groundwater, there could be trouble if groundwater levels are not watched.
Bottom Line: Yes, protect water users' rights, but (first) make sure that the rights exist before they are given, and (second) require that rights be specified, i.e., adjudicated groundwater.
* Stockton has decreasing (!) block rates for residential users and flat rates for commercial users.