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.
California needs one and a half times the maximum volume of water in Lake Mead, the largest US reservoir, to end its drought.
A new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says natural occurring climate patterns –not climate change- are the primary drivers of California’s drought.
A Republican- backed drought relief bill for California is headed to the floor of the US House of Representatives for a vote Tuesday. The legislation ignited an hour of debate Monday.
Pollution from abandoned mines in the Sierra Nevada could threaten California's primary water supply.
The City of Roseville hopes to break the 20-percent water conservation mark for the year. The city posted its best conservation mark for the year in November.