Members of California’s congressional delegation called today on federal fish agency regulators to “capture the maximum amount of water from this week’s storm in California.”
Seven members of the delegation, including Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representatives Ken Calvert, Jim Costa, Jeff Denham, Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes and David Valadao sent a bi-partisan letter sent today to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Agriculture Secretary Penny Pritzker asking for each agency to immediately evaluate the operations criteria that govern the Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP).
The letter highlights the need to capture and pump runoff from storm events to farms and communities in the San Joaquin Valley instead of allowing an unnecessarily large amount to flow out to the ocean.
The lawmakers refer to the historically low allocations for settlement contractors, and the zero percent water allocations for state and federal contractors, while also noting data that show minimal endangered fish incidental take at the state and federal project pumps so far this season.
“These numbers show that existing protections for endangered fish are more than adequate. On the other hand, our constituents’ farms and communities are facing potential devastation. From our view, it is apparent that there is a significant imbalance of regulatory burdens,” wrote the lawmakers.
The legislators ended the letter by reminding regulators that the agencies “have the authority under the law and, we assert, the obligation, to immediately take advantage of the rare, and likely the last, opportunity this year to capture and move water to bring relief to millions of Californians, and to mitigate the large-scale drought disaster that has struck our State.”
In a related story, according to the Fresno Bee, over 1,000 farm workers and farm leaders banded together at a rally in Tulare on Wednesday to protest the planned zero water allocation recently announced by the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation.
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