Costa Cheers State Water Board Decision to Maintain Agriculture Deliveries

FRESNO, CA – Congressman Jim Costa praised the State Water Resources Control Board for their prudent decision to increase operation flexibility, which will help balance the water needs of all water users, including agriculture, refuges, and municipal uses. In early March, the Board was reviewing a proposal that could have ended deliveries to Valley agriculture except during times of extremely high outflow. On March 5th, Costa joined Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer along with Representative John Garamendi in sending a letter that urged the Board to be cautious and take the time necessary to fully assess the impact of recent rains prior to issuing any decision regarding prioritization of water.

“This is a good step to helping meet as many water needs as possible under the extraordinary circumstances that our state is facing,” said Costa. “We pushed for extra time on this decision because we believed there was a better path forward that could avoid some of the devastating short- and long-term impacts to our agriculture economy. While this is by no means the end to this year’s water challenges for our farmers, farm workers, and farm communities, it prevents us from making a bad situation worse.”

The Board’s announcement will add operational flexibility to the order that was created in February and allow water to be pumped for uses other than human health and safety as long as those needs are met first. The Bureau of Reclamation and the Department of Water Resources will also reclaim full operation of the State and Federal Water Projects to improve real-time decision making.