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.
Rain and snow may not have pushed California out of its drought, but the late season precipitation will mean a little more water for State Water Project users. There is also relief for some federal Central Valley Project users.
A new survey finds Californians are split over the cause of the state's drought.
Hundreds of waterfalls are cascading throughout Yosemite National Park, but they may not last too much longer.
California and federal agencies have released a plan about how they’ll operate the state and federal water projects during the drought. The plan does not change water allocations.
(AP) -- A bill moving in the California Legislature now would protect people in homeowner associations from retribution if they reduce water use for landscaping.