IRVINE, Calif. (February 16, 2016) — Statement by Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif encouraging congressional action following introduction of the California Long-Term Provisions for Water Supply and Short-Term Provisions for Emergency Drought Relief Act by Senator Dianne Feinstein last week:
“We are encouraged by Senator Feinstein’s introduction of a revised drought bill, but to have any chance of success, it must have the support of Senator Boxer and the Obama and Brown administrations, as well as the environmental organizations that have pulled those parties away from reasonable compromise water legislation in the past.
We agree with Senator Feinstein that ‘we need congressional action, and we need it now.’ We have already lost billions of gallons of El Niño water to the ocean, water that could have been safely pumped and stored to help us through the current and future droughts.
We hope that both California senators will push this legislation to mark up in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. In addition to revising the flawed policies restricting water capture and storage in California, a number of Western senators, under the leadership of Chairwoman Murkowski, have been working on water and drought relief legislation that could benefit all of the western United States by streamlining new storage and taking other steps to give states and water agencies greater flexibility to manage increasingly uncertain supplies.
Senate action on this legislation is urgently needed in order to create an opportunity for compromise legislation to be negotiated with the House of Representatives.
Mother Nature is providing us with the gift of water this year, but we know this drought won’t be broken with one good year of precipitation, especially when our policies allow too much of that water to flow out to sea. Federal legislation is urgently needed to provide greater certainty that water capture and storage will be maximized, and to allow for more storage in California and throughout the West.”