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.
Californians are exceeding Governor Jerry Brown's 25 percent conservation mandate.
(AP) - A group of nonprofit organizations and businesses has started a crowdfunding campaign to assist families affected by the state's drought and wildfires.
Extreme drought expanded in the Western U.S. and the drought is taking a toll on topsoil moisture in California.
(AP) - More people are drowning in two of Sacramento's rivers, and the drought may be partially responsible.
(AP) - State officials say strong water conservation figures for July show Californians are beginning to understand the dire need to cut back in a fourth year of drought.