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 weather forecast through the weekend includes thunderstorms and lightning for parts of northern California, which could spark new wildfires.
Data released Thursday by the State Water Resources Control Board shows 265 out of 411 local agencies hit or nearly reached savings targets.
Triple digit heat has many people staying cool inside. But outdoor workers don't have that option.
The above-average rains of the past week did not ease drought conditions or improve reservoir storage in California. The drought expanded in other parts of the western U.S.
(AP) -- Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California has come out with a new drought relief bill that emphasizes long-term investments in desalination, recycling and new or expanded reservoirs.