Costa Introduces Major Water Legislation

May 9, 2013
Press Release

Washington, DC- Congressman Jim Costa introduced critical legislation, the More Water and Security for Californians Act, which would significantly increase the water supply in the Valley. Farmers and growers who receive water from the Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP) would see greater water security under Costa’s legislation.  

“After 2 dry years and a 20 percent water allocation, now more than ever is the time for real solutions to our broken water system,” said Costa. “The Bay Delta Conservation Plan is the long-term solution, but there are actions we can take now to bring more water and jobs to our Valley. This bill is about giving relief and economic security to all Californians. There is no time to wait. Politics cannot stand in the way of a sensible solution to the devastation our region has experienced year after year. We need to get this bill to the President.”

The More Water and Security for Californians Act will:

  • Provide Congressional direction to implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA);
  • Restore operational flexibility to California water projects; and
  • Provide reasonable protection to threatened species.

The Congressional direction provided to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service who manage the Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP) would last for seven years to provide security while the BDCP moves forward. The ESA implementation direction would also address the concerns identified by the U.S. Eastern District Court and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

Costa’s bill has gained the support of Valley water districts, including Westlands Water District, Friant Water Authority, and the San Luis and Delta Mendota Water Authority. Other groups expressing support include the Latino Water Coalition and Paramount Farms among others.

Westlands Water District General Manager Tom Birmingham added, “The enactment of this legislation will provide much needed certainty for farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.  This year, Westland Water District lost 195,000 acre feet of water because of restrictions imposed under the Delta Smelt Biological Opinion.  Had this legislation been in effect, Westlands would not have lost this water and our allocation this year would be 40 or 45 percent compared to the existing allocation of 20 percent.”