Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

Congressman Jim Costa

Representing the 16th District of California

Fighting for Water

The San Joaquin Valley needs water to survive. Our Valley’s jobs and way of life are at stake, and it is my top priority to ensure that our farmers, workers, and communities receive the water we need to get our economy going again.

We are making progress, and each day is a new opportunity to secure more water and take on the critics of our Valley. This page will provide you with background on the water crisis, along with news and updates on my ongoing efforts to increase the flow of water to our Valley.

Producing Results

Water is the lifeblood of our Valley. Without water there are no jobs and no economic opportunity. Fighting to increase our water supply is my top priority and we are making progress.

Our Valley’s water challenges have taught us a lot about the art of the possible.  In pressing this Administration to look for other ways to operate the water projects, we were successful in boosting the water allocation to Valley farmers over the past two years and continue to push for more.  I fought hard for better science to be used so that we take a look at all the factors affecting the decline of the Delta, not just the pumps.  Our Valley has been winning that fight and now the federal agencies are going back to the drawing board.  I also worked with my colleagues in Congress to secure funding for the Valley and expedite water infrastructure projects like the California Aqueduct/Delta Mendota Canal Intertie project, which had been backlogged for more than 25 years. Last Congress, I also introduced H.R. 1251, the More Water for Our Valley Act, which continues my efforts to find commonsense solutions to California’s broken water system.

Looking at the Long-Term

There is no silver bullet that will solve all of our water problems.  Compromise involves working together in a bipartisan fashion to find common ground on solutions for the short-term, interim, and long-term, and we have to work on all of them at the same time.                                              

Valley communities require a sustainable water supply now as we work through long-term issues.  We need to build new infrastructure that includes major conveyance and storage projects such as the Peripheral Canal/Tunnel, Temperance Flat, and raising Shasta Dam.  If we expect to find compromise and stop the ages-old water wars, we need to fix our broken plumbing system, and rebuilding our infrastructure will get us to an even better place than we are today. 

Our work is far from over, but we are winning this fight and more water is flowing to the Valley.

We will continue to fight against regulations that send water to the Pacific Ocean and do not consider the health and welfare of the Valley’s residents and their environment. We will continue to press the Administration and support a legal strategy to get the pumps flowing at maximum capacity. We will also continue to take on our critics and keep working towards long-term solutions to protect our Valley and state’s water supply for generations to come.


Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region:

California Department of Water Resources:

USDA Disaster Assistance:

More on Fighting for Water

Nov 7, 2018 Press Release

Fresno, CA – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) issued the following statement after the California State Water Resources Control Board voted today to delay the final vote on amendments to the Bay-Delta plan until December 12, 2018:

“The Board’s decision today to allow negotiations on voluntary settlement agreements to continue until mid-December at the Governor and Governor-elect’s request is a positive one.

Oct 23, 2018 Press Release

Merced, CA – The San Joaquin Valley is set to see substantial benefits from today’s enactment of new federal water legislation, including increases in the Valley’s ability to work through back-to-back years of drought conditions and reduce the risk of flooding during wet years.

Oct 19, 2018 Press Release

Fresno, CA – Today, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) issued the following statement on the President’s memorandum aimed at streamlining regulatory processes and eliminating redundant and unnecessary water infrastructure regulations:

Sep 13, 2018 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – The San Joaquin Valley could see significant increases in water storage capacity due to water resources legislation that passed today in the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan and bicameral support.

Sep 12, 2018 Press Release

Fresno, CA – Valley Congressmen Jim Costa (D-CA-16), Jeff Denham (R-CA-10), and Tom McClintock (R-CA-4) continue their fight to protect San Joaquin Valley water from the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) “Water Grab.” 

“I will use every option I have to fight the Water Grab,” Costa said. “This is about fighting bad science used to justify taking water from one region of California. This is about the future of the Valley and protecting our way of life.”

Aug 14, 2018 Press Release

Fresno, CA – Today, Valley Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) and United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue hosted two events with local Valley producers to hear their concerns and explore ways to improve Valley agriculture.

Jul 12, 2018 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed important legislation for water districts in California’s San Joaquin Valley and throughout the country, H.R. 3281, the Reclamation Title Transfer and Non-Federal Infrastructure Incentivization Act. This legislation, if enacted, would make it easier for local water districts to own their water projects, once debt on the project is fully repaid to the federal government.

Jun 10, 2018 In The News

In a May 10 column on Temperance Flat Reservoir, Bee columnist Marek Warszawski called out local lawmakers who supported the project and said we were in a “state of denial.”

Let me be clear: I am not in denial.

California’s water issues are complex and not easy to solve.