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.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor showed no change to drought conditions in California over the past week. But, the report does not include the storm that brought rain to valleys and snow to the Sierra Nevada this week.
Two million Sacramento-area water users conserved 27 percent in October, the same rate as September.
A California law, which was passed to respond to the drought- allows artificial turf on all residential property. But a Sacramento city councilman says the law should allow cities to restrict its use.
There is no change this week to the drought in California, despite the recent storms that have brought snow to the Sierra. Reservoir storage in California remains the second lowest on record.
A new study finds that California’s system for allocating water is fragmented, inconsistent and lacks transparency.