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Inventory of the Ronald B. Robie Papers, 1963-1982, (bulk 1967-1979)
MS 91/1  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Access Points
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Index to Speeches
  • Subject Index to Selected Documents

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Ronald B. Robie Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1963-1982, (bulk 1967-1979)
    Collection number: MS 91/1
    Creator: Robie, Ronald B., b. 1937
    Extent: 14 linear ft.
    Repository: Water Resources Collections and Archives
    Riverside, CA 92517-5900
    Shelf location: Water Resources Collections and Archives.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    The Ronald B. Robie papers were donated to The Water Resources Collections and Archives in 1990 by Ronald B. Robie.


    Collection is open for research. Although materials do not circulate outside the archives, researchers are permitted to make photocopies.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Water Resources Collections and Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Water Resources Collections and Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Ronald B. Robie Papers, MS 91/1, Water Resources Collections and Archives, University of California, Riverside.

    Access Points

    California State Water Project
    California. Dept. of Water Resources
    California. State Water Resources Control Board
    California. Legislature. Assembly. Committee on Water
    Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act.
    Water resources development -- Law and legislation -- California
    Water-supply -- California
    Water rights -- California
    Water resources development -- California -- Delta Region
    Water quality -- California -- Delta Region
    California -- Politics and government -- 1951-
    Peripheral Canal (Calif.)
    New Melones Dam (Calif.)
    California Water Plans, 1960-


    Ronald B. Robie was born March 13, 1937 in Oakland, California. Raised in Oakland, he attended schools there and graduated from the University of California, Riverside, with a B.A. in journalism in 1958 and an M.A., also in journalism, in 1960. In 1967, he received his J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.
    Robie moved from Oakland to Sacramento in 1960 to work as a legislative intern and was chosen to work for Carley Porter, the influential Chair of the Assembly Committee on Water. Robie began working with Porter's office during the campaign over the state referendum on the Burns-Porter Act; ultimately accepted by voters, the act authorized the financing and construction of California's State Water Project. For the following 23 years, Robie devoted his career to California water policy issues and played a pivotal role in setting the state's course on those questions. Over that time, he acquired a reputation as an environmentalist who was also able to maintain the confidence of water developers in the state. He has characterized his approach to water policy as simultaneously emphasizing the directions of water development, water quality improvement, and water conservation and management.
    Robie's influence on water issues has been exercised through terms at three state government posts. During his term with Carley Porter and the Assembly Committee on Water, two landmark water bills passed into law. The State Water Resources Control Board Act (1967) created that board to address issues of water quality and water rights; the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act (1969) revised California's water pollution law and assigned the task of administering the pollution control program to the board. It is generally recognized that the two acts were largely drafted by Robie. In 1969, Robie was appointed by Governor Reagan to be the lawyer member of the State Water Resources Control Board. During the six years Robie served on it, the board handed down a number of major, controversial decisions on environmental protection for the San Francisco Bay Delta, the New Melones Dam area, and the American River. Governor Brown appointed Robie to be Director of the California Department of Water Resources in 1975 where he served until 1983. In addition to addressing issues like sources of energy for the State Water Project, water rights law, and drought, Robie spent many years in negotiating for construction of the Peripheral Canal; the proposal was eventually defeated in a 1982 referendum. As one of its chief architects, Robie defended the proposal as a compromise which would have both completed the State Water Project and protected the environment of the Delta.
    Since leaving the Department of Water Resources, Robie has been active as a judge; at this time he is a Judge of the Superior Court in Sacramento. He has taught at McGeorge School of Law and has published many articles on water issues in professional and environmental journals. An oral history interview with Robie, The California State Department of Water Resources, 1975-1983, has been published by the Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Riverside.

    Scope and Content

    The Ronald B. Robie papers consist of files and documents assembled by Robie during his years with the Assembly Committee on Water, the State Water Resources Control Board, and the California Department of Water Resources. The collection contains materials whose dates span from 1963-1982; the majority, however, are concentrated in the period from 1967-1979. A large portion of the material to be found in the collection is made up of copies of Robie's incoming and outgoing correspondence (as well as letters neither to nor from him) clippings, and office memoranda. Also present in significant amounts are legal papers, including briefs field during the late 1960s and early 1970s on New Melones Dam, the Delta, and the American River; a collection of legal opinions out of the Department of Water Resources; and documentation of miscellaneous other litigation. Binders (often with indexes) were compiled on topics such as the Dos Rios Dam Hearings; the Study Project on the Water Quality Control Program (which resulted in recommendations incorporated into the Porter-Cologne bill); Water Quality Control Actions taken by the State Water Resources Control Board; the California Water Advisory Panel; and the Governor's Commission to Review Water Rights Law. These contain very focused materials and may include reports, minutes of meetings, transcripts of testimony, charts and other types of documents. Robie has also kept copies of over 70 speeches by 40 prominent commentators on the water scene. Twenty-three binders, accumulated during Robie's term as Director of the Department of Water Resources, contain memoranda of activities by various staff members, providing an inside view of the workings of the organization. The Department of Water Resources years represent the largest group of materials in the collection; the most extensively documented topic is the process of negotiating the Peripheral Canal, primarily during the years 1977-1980. A notable weak spot is documentation of the Peripheral Canal issue after it came up for public referendum as Proposition 9. Virtually absent, also, is discussion of the 1976-1977 drought.
    The arrangement of the Robie papers is described fully in an inventory on the following pages. It was decided during processing of the collection at the archives to group the papers into three series corresponding to Robie's three appointments. Materials within each of the three series were arranged into chronological order also during processing. Most of the descriptive headings used within each series were those originally given to the materials by Robie; where a heading may have been ambiguous or incomplete, another was assigned by the processor. The composition of the materials at the binder and file levels has been retained as originally brought together by Robie. However, thick subject files, made up of many loose papers, were broken up into groups of smaller folders. In the process, when sub-units within a file could be discerned and rearrangement seemed to add to the intelligibility of the contents, papers were shifted. For example, in the Peripheral Canal section of the Department of Water Resources series, copies of the bills and their various amendments were scattered throughout each of their individual files separated by other documents and unnecessarily duplicated at times, as well. It was decided within each file to move these from their somewhat random positions and collect them together.
    Two related collections in the archives which researchers may also find useful are the speeches given between 1958-1973 by William R. Gianelli, Robie's predecessor at the Department of Water Resources (ask for GIAN), and the transcripts of hearings held before the State Water Resources Control Board in 1969 and 1970 on applications to appropriate water from the Delta (ask for MS80/1).

    Index to Speeches


    Note: Numbers in bold at the end of each entry identify which piece in the collection contains the document.
    Adams, W. W. Chair, State Water Resources Control Board Statement to Assembly Water Committee, 2 Apr 1974, 70
    Armstrong, Ellis L. Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation Reclamation Faces the Future, 3 Dec 1969, 21
    Arnett, G. Ray Director, California Dept of Fish and Game Fish, Wildlife, Water and the Delta: Challenges and Opportunities, 21 Aug 1972, 55
    Aspinall, Wayne N. U.S. Congressmember Remarks to the National Water Resources Association, (as Chair, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs), 4 Nov 1971, 54
    Auer, Mrs. Carl H. (Jean) Member, State Water Resources Control Board Water Quality and Water Quantity: A Look to the Future, 1 June 1973; 22 New Federal/State Relationships: Their Meaning to Livestock Industry, 14 June 1973; 22
    Banks, Harvey O. Consulting Engineer, Contra Costa Co. and Orange Co. Water Districts Testimony before the Assembly Water Committee, 2 Apr 1974, 71
    Bates, C.W. Secretary-Manager, Central California Irrigation District San Joaquin Valley vs. the Environmentalists, June 1973; 22
    Beck, Louis A. Director, San Joaquin Valley Interagency Drainage Program Statement on San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Drainage Needs, 21 March 1979; 166
    Carter, Jimmy President of the United States Water Policy Message, 23 May 1977, 169
    Chadwick, Harold K. California Dept of Fish and Game Fish and Wildlife Implications of the SB 200 Referendum, 9 Jan 1981, 143 Fish and Wildlife Perspectives on Delta Water Facilities, 4 Apr 1979, 153
    Chrisman, Ira J. Chair, California Water Commission The Implications of the Delta Decision, 8 Oct 1971, 54 Statement on Statewide Water Supply and Demand, 14 Jan 1975, 170
    Coleman, David G. Chief, Central Valley Operations Coordinating Office, Bureau of Reclamation Statement on the 1977 CVP Water Supply Outlook, 4 Feb 1977, 160
    Cologne, Gordon State Senator Opening Statement, (as Chair, Joint Hearing on the Dos Rios Dam), 17 Oct 1968, 9 Opening Statement, (at the Joint Meeting--Assembly Water Committee and Senate General Research Subcommittee on Water Resources), 17 Oct 1967, 1
    Dendy, Bill B. Executive Director, State Water Resources Control Board Tribulations, 10 May 1973, 22 Statement to Senate Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources, 16 April 1974, 72
    Dobson, Roy E. Member, State Water Resources Control Board A Newcomer's View of the Delta, 26 April 1973, 22
    Dukleth, Gordon W. Division Engineer, Department of Water Resources The Dam Safety Program, 4 Feb 1977, 160
    Fairbanks, W.H. Legislative Representative, Metropolitan Water District Water Rights Decision 1379 and the Peripheral Canal: Solutions to Delta Problems, 28 Oct 1971, 54
    Fairchild, Guy Deputy Chief, Central District, Dept of Water Resources Statement of Dept of Water Resources on the Stockton Ship Channel Project, (for Ronald B. Robie), 24 June 1976, 157
    Franklin, Scott E. Chair, California Water Commission California's Long Term Water Needs: What Has To Be Done, 7 March 1979, 165
    Gianelli, William R. Director, Dept of Water Resources Statement Re: Proposed Plan of Development Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, (as Consulting Engineer, San Joaquin Co. Flood Control and Water Conservation District), 6 Nov 1964, 152 The New Administration Looks at the State Water Project, 20 Feb 1967, 144 Report of Dept of Water Resources Activities on Western States Water Planning, 13 March 1969 and 14 Aug 1969, 58 The Bay-Delta Area as it Relates to the State Water Project, 21 Aug 1969, 63 Everybody is in the Environment, 28 May 1970, 54 Report of the Dept of Water Resources, 6 Aug 1971, 53 Report of the Activities of the Dept of Water Resources, 7 Apr 1972, 55 Report of the Activities of the Dept of Water Resources, 5 May 1972, 55 Delta Problems and Possible Solutions, 9-10 Nov 1972, 55
    Gilbert, Jerome B. Executive Officer, State Water Resources Control Board Delta Decision in the Future, 23 Sept 1971, 53
    Green, Dorothy Consultant, Contra Costa Co. Water Agency The Peripheral Canal: A Deceptive Scheme to Fleece the People of Southern California, 8 Aug 1980, 152
    Greydanus, Herbert Division Engineer, Dept of Water Resources Statewide Water Supply and Demand Outlook, 12 Oct 1973, 23
    Krieger, James H. A Water Program for California, (presented to gubernatorial candidate Edmund Brown, Jr.), 10 Oct 1974, 78
    Martin, Billy E. Regional Director, Bureau of Reclamation A New Era of Water Management in the Central Valley of California, 11 Oct 1974, 24 The Water Management Future is Upon Us, 12 Jan 1977, 160 Remarks on Water Conservation and User Allocation Procedures Under Prolonged Drought Conditions, 8 Feb 1977, 160 Remarks to the California Water Resources Association Luncheon, 15 Feb 1979, 170
    Mulligan, Kerry State Water Resources Control Board Opening Remarks, (as Executive Officer), 13 June 1968, 10 Water Quality Control in California: State or Federal Control?, (as Chair), 6 Oct 1971; 54 California's Challenge: Balanced Water Use, (as Chair), 1 Dec 1971; 54
    Norgaard, Richard B. Assistant Professor of Agricultural Economics, UC Berkeley An Analysis of Irrigation Benefits and Costs Attributed to New Melones Dam, 27 Sept 1972, 79
    Nejedly, John A. State Senator The Value of Freshwater Outflows to the Delta, and of the Past Promises to Protect It: Wasted Water or Wasted Words?, Jan 1977; 137
    Owen, Langdon W. Secretary Manager, Orange Co. Water District Who Needs the Peripheral Canal?, 10 Aug 1972; 55
    Porter, Carley V. State Assemblymember Opening Statement (at the Joint Meeting--Assembly Water Committee and Senate General Research Subcommittee on Water Resources), 17 Oct 1967, 1 Opening Statement, (as Chair, Joint Hearing on the Dos Rios Dam), 16 Aug 1968, 9 Water and the Environment, (as Chair, Assembly Committee on Water), 6 Oct 1971, 18
    Quigley, James M. Commissioner, Federal Water Pollution Control Administration Tomorrow's Clean Water for the West, 16 Nov 1967, 7
    Reynolds, A.C. Director, Metropolitan Water District, 1952-1963 Statement on Behalf of the Domestic-Municipal Water Users of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, 11 and 12 Jan 1968, 1
    Reynolds, Robin R. Dept of Water Resources Delta Standards, (as Deputy Division Engineer), 2 Sept 1971, 53 Statement of Dept of Water Resources on Proposed Amendments to Water Quality Control Plan--SF Bay Basin 2, (as Deputy Director), 4 May 1976, 157
    Robie, Ronald B. The Delta Decision: Water Rights in a New Era, 14 Feb 1972, 55 Statement on Senate Bill 346, 19 Apr 1977, 135 Statement on Agricultural Water Conservation, 22 Nov 1977, 137 Dust Bin of History, 1 Feb 1979, 165 Statement on San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Drainage Needs, 21 March 1979, 166 Current Water Policy in the State of California, 17 May 1979, 141 The Peripheral Canal: Benefits to San Joaquin County, 7 Feb 1980, 152 The Peripheral Canal: Benefits to Contra Costa County, 13 Feb 1980, 152 Statement on SB 200 (Ayala), 27 Feb 1980, 152
    Ruckelshaus, William D. Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency Environment 1971, 16 Dec 1971, 54
    Shoemaker, Charles Deputy Director, Dept of Water Resources Water Problems in the San Joaquin Valley, 30 March 1979, 166
    Teerink, John R. Director, Dept of Water Resources Report of the Activities of the Dept of Water Resources, 3 May 1974, 70 Statement before the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources on SB 1873, 21 May 1974, 70 Statement on the Draft EIR on the Peripheral Canal, 11 Dec 1974, 144 Report of Activities of the Dept of Water Resources, 7 Feb 1975, 144
    Torkelson, Frank Acting Director, Dept of Navigation and Ocean Development Testimony on Delta Levee Improvement, 3 Nov 1975, 156
    Waldie, Jerome R. State Congressmember The Rape of Northern Waters, 21 Feb 1969, 8
    Warne, William E. Consultant in Water Resources Delta Standards for Local and State Needs, 1 Dec 1971, 157
    Way, Howard State Senator Water Resource Development: Who Benefits and Who Pays?, 26 April 1974, 70
    Woodward, K. L. A Review of the Delta Water Rights Decision, 15 Feb 1972, 55
    Younger, Evelle J. State Attorney General Environmental Laws--a Mandate for Better Planning, 9 Feb 1973, 21
    Unidentified Speaker Statement of the State Water Resources Control Board on SB 1873, (to the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources), 21 May 1974, 70

    Subject Index to Selected Documents

    American River History of the American River, Sources for Study of the History of the American River, Sources for Studying the Natural History of the American River, Suggested Field Trips and Activities in the American River Area, no date, 62A
    Delta Suggested Approach in Writing Decision and Order on Delta Water Right Hearing, 24 June 1970, 48 Central Valley East Side Project Association vs. SWRCB, 23 July 1976, 51 Transcript of meeting of the Dept of Water Resources California Water Commission 2 Sept 1971, 53 Statement of Contra Costa Co. Water Agency to the Assembly Water Committee Regarding AB 837 (Badham), 5 June 1973, 56 Maintenance of Fish and Wildlife in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Estuary in Relation to Water Development, California Dept of Fish and Game, April 1973, 56 The Changing Delta (script for a 15-minute motion picture by the DWR), Aug 1974, 144
    Land Ownership Chart: Major Land Owners in State Service Area--San Joaquin Valley, 1 Feb 1978, 169 Chart: Large Landowners in the SWP Service Areas in Kern Co. and Kings Co., 17 June 1980, 172
    Land Use Planning Overview of Agriculture in California, prepared for the California Land Use Task Force, 5 July 1974, 66 Development and Conservation Issues: Corresponding Planning Techniques and Allocations of Governmental Responsibility submitted to California Land Use Task Force, 21 March 1974, 66
    New Melones Dam New Melones Dam-- Benefits or Costs? by B. Thomas Perry, graduate student in Environmental Planning, UC Berkeley, and Richard B. Norgaard, Assistant Professor of Agricultural Economics, UC Berkeley, no date, 79
    Peripheral Canal Peripheral Canal Unit: Central Valley Project, Official Comments of the State of California on the Feasibility of Water Transfer in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, 1969-70, 63 Special Task Force Report: AB 1328, as Amended 24 May 1979, and 28 May 1979 Orlob Report, 8 June 1979, 152 Special Task Force Report: Possible Compromise to Resolve Stalemate on Peripheral Canal, 28 Nov 1979, 153
    SB 346 SB 346 (Including Index, Annotations and Reference to Existing Statutes), no date, 127 Key Elements--SB346 (with handwritten annotations), by the Dept of Water Resources, 1977, 135
    Water Management Melbourne's Water Management Approach by Alan H. Croxford, Chairman, Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works, no date, 78
    Miscellaneous Legal Briefs Sierra Club vs. Norman Livermore, 17 June 1976, 171 County of Inyo vs. City of Los Angeles, Petition for Rehearing of the Decision on Adequacy of the City's EIR, 12 July 1977, 171