Fallow farmland in California's Central Valley. California’s San Joaquin Valley is the salad bowl of the world, providing the majority of fruits and vegetables for the entire nation. But, with another man-made drought looming, the San Joaquin Valley is in danger of becoming a dust bowl unless immediate action is taken to change policies that put the needs of fish above the livelihood of people.

House Republicans have a bipartisan, comprehensive solution to end future man-made droughts, bring job and water supply certainty to the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys in California and decrease reliance on foreign food sources.

Get the Facts:

  • California’s water storage and transportation system designed by federal and state governments includes 1,200 miles of canals and nearly 50 reservoirs that provide water to about 22 million people and irrigate about four million acres of land throughout the state.

  • In May 2007, a Federal District Court Judge ruled that increased amounts of water had to be re-allocated towards protecting the Delta smelt – a three-inch fish on the Endangered Species List.

  • Because of this ruling, in 2009 and 2010 more than 300 billion gallons (or 1 million acre-feet) of water were diverted away from farmers in the Central Valley and into the San Francisco Bay – eventually going out into the Pacific Ocean.

  • This man-made drought cost thousands of farm workers their jobs, inflicted up to 40 percent unemployment in certain communities, and fallowed hundreds of thousands of acres of fertile farmland.

  • Unemployment remains at a regional average of 17%. With current precipitation at near-record lows, the same regulations will be imposed pushing unemployment even higher.

  • The Pelosi-led Congress did nothing to reverse the plight of the San Joaquin Valley and even obstructed repeated Republican actions to reverse the situation. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act reflects Republican promises to avoid another man-made drought.

H.R. 3964, The Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act:

  • H.R. 3964 is a comprehensive solution that would restore some water deliveries, ensure a reliable water supply for people and fish, and save taxpayer money by ending unnecessary and dubious government projects.

  • Last Congress, the House passed bipartisan legislation, The Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act, to restore the flow of water. The Democratic-controlled Senate did not act on that bill or any California water legislation. The situation in California is now dire because of inaction by the Senate.

  • Highlights of the bill:

    • Restores water deliveries to communities by codifying the historic, bipartisan State/Federal agreement known as the “Bay-Delta Accord.”

    • Reforms punitive federal laws, like the Central Valley Project Improvement Act and the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act, in order to provide fairness to ratepayers, promote transparency and accountability, and save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

    • Allows water users to pay off federal debt early, which will bring early revenue to the U.S. Treasury.

    • Protects and secures private property and senior water rights.

Related Videos:

Senate Must Act on Emergency California Drought Legislation, Video Release (February 7, 2014)

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