The Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act would allow more water to be pumped out of the Delta and sent to farms. Critics say it favors farms over fish and environmental concerns.
The bill was co-sponsored by every California House Republican, including Tom McClintock whose fourth district includes El Dorado, Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties.
"Well, it simply restores the Bay-Delta Accord which was a bipartisan agreement back in the 1990s that promised allocations to various groups," said McClintock on Insight with Beth Ruyak. "The water diversions for the Delta smelt absolutely shattered that promise. This bill simply redeems it and restores the Bay Delta Accord."
But Democrats are staunchly opposed; including John Garamendi whose third district includes parts of Sacramento, Yolo and Solano counties.
"It's not fish versus people, it's really the federal government taking over and telling California what it's going to do with its law," says Garamendi. "It is unprecedented. It really sets off a major water war, unnecessary at a time of great crisis in California.
The bill heads next to the Democratically controlled U.S. Senate where it's expected to die.
More Federal Drought Aid On The Way
On Wednesday, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor announced up to $14 million for growers and water districts to conserve water and improve water management.
“We have an all hands on deck approach in recognition of the many impacts that are happening in California, and this is probably the start of a whole series of announcements and actions,” Connor said at a multi-agency news conference in Sacramento.
Also Wednesday, the California Fish and Wildlife Commission approved fishing bans on the American and Russian rivers. They’re intended to protect threatened salmon and steelhead trout. Bans are already in place for dozens of streams and rivers on California’s central coast.
Last week, the State Water Project announced contractors would not receive any water this year unless conditions significantly improve. Connor says the federal Central Valley Project will announce its allocation in a couple of weeks.
With the shift from winter to spring comes new watering limitations for Sacramento residents. To conserve water, residents are being asked to only water twice a week.
The drought has left honey bees without their normal supply of wildflowers to feed on. Beekeepers have supplemented their diet, but that lacks nutrition to keep hives healthy. CapRadio's Amy Quinton tags along with a local beekeeper to learn more.
There’s a bit more progress in the delicate dance of reaching a deal on a new California water bond proposal that would replace the $11 billion bond currently on the November ballot. But a deal – if any – is still months away.
Many people in the Sacramento region responded to calls to conserve water, using less last month than in the previous two Februaries. Many cities have not met conservation goals.
The city of Sacramento is moving ahead with a plan to offer rebates to people who rip out their front lawns and replace them with drought-tolerant landscaping.