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 Central Sierra Nevada snowpack this year is larger than the previous four years combined, according to new data from NASA.
It is now the wettest season on record in Northern California, where most of the state gets its water supply.
Some farmers in the San Joaquin Valley will finally get a full supply of water.
California Governor Jerry Brown ended the drought state of emergency in most of California Friday. Water reporting requirements and prohibitions on wasteful practices are still in place.
California is experiencing one of its wettest winters in years. But farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley still won’t receive a full supply of water from the federal Central Valley Project.