H.R. 3964, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act, introduced by the Republican California delegation, addresses the emergency drought in California by restoring some water supplies to provide job certainty to farmers and communities.
The lack of rainfall has exacerbated the man-made drought caused by federal regulations and environmental lawsuits. On January 17, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for California due to the drought.
In 2009, federal regulations to protect a 3-inch fish – the Delta smelt - led to the deliberate diversion of over 300 billion gallons of water away from San Joaquin Valley farmers, cost thousands of farm workers their jobs, inflicted up to 40 percent unemployment in some communities, and fallowed hundreds of thousands of acres of fertile farmland. Unemployment still remains at 12% and will only go up as water is not delivered to farms and communities.
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.
California’s San Joaquin Valley is the salad bowl of the world, providing the majority of fruits, vegetables and specialty crops for the entire nation. But the San Joaquin Valley is turning into a dust bowl and immediate action must be taken to change policies that put the needs of fish above the livelihood of people.
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.
Specifically H.R. 3964:
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.