May 13, 2014  202-225-3341

Costa Responds to Updated Water Allocation

Fresno, CA — Rep. Jim Costa commented today on the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s announcement of an update to the 2014 Central Valley Project water supply. The Bureau’s announcement confirmed the availability of water supplies for the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority from April to October and increased the allocation for the refuges. While Costa agreed that the water increases are “a step forward,” he raised concern about the decision’s negative impacts, including the removal of tens of thousands of permanent citrus orchards and significant impacts to the Valley’s economy.  He also reiterated his call for all parties to work together to solve California’s short-term and long-standing water challenges.

“Today’s announcement of increased water supply for some San Joaquin Valley farmers is a step forward,” said Costa. “However, the impacts of this decision on both the Friant Water Authority and the west side of the San Joaquin Valley could not be more disappointing and points out how broken our water system is today.  Unless we are able to come together to increase our water supply, reform the regulatory environment, and reliably move water through the Delta, I fear that this will become the new normal.  It’s far past time for the rest of California to stand up and join us in the Valley to fix our broken water system.  I urge the President, the Governor, and my House and Senate colleagues to show the leadership necessary to solve this problem that has plagued our Valley and the rest of California for far too long.”

Rep. Costa has introduced a package of bills to address California’s water supply challenges, including:

  • H.R. 1927, the More Water and Security for Californians Act, which would provide Congressional direction on how the Delta pumps operate, while maintaining many environmental protections for species
  • A series of bills to increase storage in the system, including legislation that would:
    • Expand San Luis Reservoir to increase storage capacity by 130,000 acre feet of storage with an approximate annual yield of 40,000 acre feet. The total cost of the project would be an estimated $360 million with approximately $240 million of that already being invested for seismic improvements.
    • Raise Shasta Dam to add an additional 634,000 acre feet of storage to the dam and increase annual yield by 76,000 acre feet and add 76,000-133,000 acre feet to the system during dry years. Estimated total cost of the project is $1.1 billion.
    • Construct Temperance Flat (Upper San Joaquin River Storage) to create 1.3 million acre feet of storage with an annual yield of 60,000-75,000 acre feet.  In dry years an additional 103,000-254,400 acre feet would be added to the system at a cost of around $2.5 billion.
    • Expand an existing pilot program to lease excess storage capacity in non-federal reservoirs, including Los Vaqueros, to the Bureau of Reclamation.  This would allow for the expansion of Los Vaqueros to its already permitted capacity of 275,000 acre feet at no cost to the federal taxpayer.