Costa Reacts to State Water Board Vote, Determined to Protect Valley from Water Grab
Fresno, CA – Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) issued the following statement after the California State Water Resources Control Board voted to adopt amendments to the Bay-Delta plan that will direct more water from the Merced, Tuolumne, and Stanislaus Rivers to the ocean:
“It is my fear that the vote by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) will only further inflame the conflict over California‘s most precious natural resource: its water. I will use every tool at my disposal to protect the communities I represent from this water grab.
“The action taken by the SWRCB is incredibly frustrating. This was a missed opportunity to reset the water wars of the past and to find a better path forward by delaying adoption of the staff proposal to allow continued negotiations to occur on the Merced and Stanislaus rivers.
“Instead of adopting the staff proposal, I believe that a negotiated solution for both the San Joaquin and the Sacramento watersheds would have been reached – one that would lead to real improvements for California’s fisheries, such as improved habitat, better predator control, and functional flows. Instead, the Board refused to provide additional time and chose to adopt the staff’s proposal – a proposal that doubles down on the failed policies of the past and brings harm to San Joaquin Valley communities and to California’s agricultural economy.
“I commend the U.S. Department of the Interior, the California Department of Water Resources, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the many water users for their herculean efforts to negotiate a balanced solution. If allowed to take place, in my opinion, it would improve fishery outcomes without unnecessarily harming Valley communities. Sadly, the Board failed to provide time to finalize this balanced compromise.
“In light of the voluntary agreements that were reached which increase outflow standards, it is essential that Congress act now to extend the WIIN Act with authorization for the Secretary of the Interior to collect funds to implement these voluntary agreements.”