The Republican-backed legislation would allow Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta pumps to continue to send water to the Central Valley as long as water is available.
Those pumps are sending minimal water to the valley now because of low reservoir levels and river flows, not environmental regulations that protect endangered fish.
The bill would also stop the restoration of the San Joaquin River until 2015.
Shawn Coburn of Firebaugh farms in three counties in the valley and uses water from two federal systems.
“It’s like closing the gate after the cow has gotten out, it’s a little bit late now, but anything is better than nothing,” says Coburn.
Environmentalists and several Democratic House members called the legislation a “water grab” and an attempt to throw out the Endangered Species Act.
“Sucking the Delta dry is not the answer to California’s water issues," said Democratic Congresswoman Doris Matsui in a statement. "We need long-term solutions that will benefit the entire state, and should be working together to solve California’s water problems through a balanced approach. This proposal is anything but balanced and will only create further discord.”
The legislation is backed by Congressmen Devin Nunes, Kevin McCarthy and David Valadao.
Some minor improvement in California drought conditions last week, but long-term drought remains entrenched as the summer dry season is slightly more than a month away.
Outdoor burn permits are now required for most counties in Northern California.
Spring storms help Sierra Nevada snowpack, but there is no reduction in drought conditions in California and Nevada.
More "Spare The Air" alerts may be issued this year in the Sacramento region because the Environmental Protection Agency has lowered the federal ozone health standard.
Weather permitting, the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District and the U.S. Forest Service may continue prescribed fire operations starting Monday in areas around Lake Tahoe.