Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) today released the following statement in support of the California water resources language included in the California water supply language included in a bill to be considered in Congress this week:
“After years of bipartisan, bicameral negotiations, we’ve reached an agreement to modernize water supply in the short term and invest in storage projects to secure California’s economic future,” stated Rep. LaMalfa. “This agreement improves water supply for all Californians, North and South, while using the latest science to provide more water without harming wildlife.”
For the North State, this agreement achieves several major goals: it secures the region’s senior water rights, improves supplies for junior water right holders, and will authorize construction of Sites Reservoir, a key project needed to prepare California for the future.
“While this bill is a step in the right direction, as a negotiated agreement it does not reform environmental restrictions or dedicate resources to storage to the degrees I believe are necessary,” LaMalfa added. “My colleagues and I remain committed to continuing to working on this issue and expect the President-elect to be a much more willing partner in those efforts than the current administration.”
Key North State components of the House amendment to S.612, which may be read here, include the following:
- Significant improvements in deliveries for less senior North State water right holders, ensuring that even in droughts they receive at least 50% allocations. (Title J, Section 4005)
- A new system of authorizing surface water storage projects, including Sites Reservoir, that will speed construction of the infrastructure 67% of Californians voted for in passing Proposition 1 in 2014. The bill also directs $335 million in federal funding toward storage projects. (Title J, Section 4007)
- Language ensuring that businesses impacted by new storage projects are not only compensated fairly, but have the opportunity to construct replacement facilities on federal land. This provision is intended to protect marinas, resorts, and others who could be impacted by a raised Shasta Dam. (Title J, Section 4008)
- Requirements that a greater portion of South of Delta water supplies be diverted and stored during winter storms, when doing so does not impact North State supplies or the environment. The current system pits North and South against one another for access to Lake Shasta and other reservoirs during California’s dry summers. Now, the South will be able to store additional water that was never available for use by the North and has no environmental necessity. (Title J, Section 4003)
Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.