Costa to Administration: No Time to Waste; Must Do More for Valley Water

Washington, DC – Congressman Jim Costa released the following statement in response to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announcement of an initial federal water allocation of 25 percent for south of Delta agriculture water service contractors. With average rainfall, the allocation could rise to 35 percent by April which is still insufficient to meet the needs of Valley agriculture.

“After the two driest months on record, Valley agriculture is faced with yet another fight for the water it deserves,” said Costa. “The bottom-line is that anything less than a 40 percent allocation in consecutive dry years is unacceptable and cannot sustain our livelihood. Our farmers will make their crop decisions by the end of March, which gives us only 4 weeks to make this happen. There is no time to take a wait and see approach before using regulatory flexibility; every day wasted is valuable time and water lost. The Obama Administration must know after 2009 and 2010 that immediate action is necessary to keep a bad situation from becoming absolutely devastating to our Valley.”

Water allocations and forecasts can improve over the course of the water year. In 2010, Costa worked with other Valley leaders to encourage the Administration to boost the initial allocation of 5 percent to more than 40 percent by the end of the water year through a series of administrative actions. Costa will work with local leaders and Members of Congress again to increase the water allocation to a level that will help put people back to work and allow farmers to take full advantage of the most productive agricultural land in the country.

“We have been able to increase our water allocation in dry years by working together, and it is critical that it happens again this year,” said Costa. “But we face these same fights every year instead of acting on a permanent solution for our broken water system. The reasons for implementing the Bay Delta Conservation Plan can be measured by reduced water allocations, lost acre feet, farmland left unused, and billions of dollars lost. We know the price of inaction, and it’s too high. It’s far past time to get to this done.”                                                                                                                                                       

Today’s announcement is the first official allocation of the 2013 Water Year for the Central Valley Project. Water updates are made monthly and can be found on the Bureau of Reclamation’s website: http://www.usbr.gov/mp/PA/water/