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 opportunities. 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

Jul 21, 2021 Press Release
The projects chosen for inclusion in the bill, which Rep. Costa submitted in April for consideration, include the following:
Jun 23, 2021 Page

Dear Friend,

With the drought upon us, I’m focused on dealing with the short-term challenges and the long-term solutions to fixing our broken water system. As a third-generation farmer, I know personally where water flows, food grows. Here are some highlights on legislative actions that we are working on behalf of the Valley:

Responding to California's worsening drought crisis

May 17, 2021 Press Release

(WASHINGTON) – Congressman Jim Costa sent a letter to the State Water Resources Control Board about the need for a balanced approach towards municipal, agricultural, and environmental water use in any response to California’s worsening drought crisis.

The letter reads in part:

May 12, 2021 Press Release

(WASHINGTON) -  At a time when California is facing severe drought conditions that triggered Governor Gavin Newsom’s declaring a state of emergency and providing more than $5 billion dollars for water infrastructure and drought response funding, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) introduced bipartisan legislation to address California water supply and water quality goals:

Apr 21, 2021 Press Release

FRESNO – Congressman Jim Costa released the following statement in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s drought emergency declaration:

Apr 20, 2021 In The News

There are a number of factors to consider when declaring a state of emergency. After a dry water year, little to zero water allocations, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack declaring drought conditions in counties up and down the state and even the entire republican delegation sending letters Governor Gavin Newsom, Congressman Jim Costa said declaring drought can be tricky.

“Certainly the governor has the ability to declare a drought status but its tricky to understand the state and federal water projects, how they operate.” Costa said.

Apr 15, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) and Senator Diane Feinstein, along with  Representatives John Garamendi (CA-03) and Josh Harder (CA-10) today introduced the bipartisan Canal Conveyance Capacity Restoration Act, a bill to authorize more than $653 million to restore the capacity of three S

Mar 18, 2021 In The News

The year 2020 was unlike any in our lifetime. The COVID-19 pandemic challenged us in ways we never thought possible. Paired with the prospect of another drought, this year looks to be just as challenging for our ag communities. As a ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, I remain committed to ensuring they have the resources needed to weather this once in a lifetime crisis: A skilled workforce and reliable water supply.

Feb 23, 2021 Press Release

(FRESNO) - Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement after the Bureau of Reclamation announced its initial 2021 water supply allocation for Central Valley Project contractors: