In a letter to the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), Senator Dianne Feinstein has made it clear that she strongly opposes H.R. 1837, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act, and will work to defeat it in the Senate.
The senator called this bill a distraction from completion of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), studies for more storage, passing a water bond and facilitating more water transfers, groundwater banking, and water recycling. We don’t agree with her about all these measures. But we certainly agree with and appreciate her opposition to an approach that seeks “gains for certain water users at the expense of others” and “abandons our fundamental state and federal environmental laws.”
However, she herself seems to have forgotten about that last part this week when the Senate Energy and Water Subcommittee met and she pressured the Bureau of Reclamation to give junior water rights holders like Westlands Water District a minimum of 45 percent of their contract allocation. She suggested that could be done if federal pumping restrictions were eased.
Junior rights holders were allocated 45 percent last year, but last year had above-average early rain and snowpack. The Bureau thinks a 30 percent allocation is reasonable for this year, when precipitation appears to be down. In drought years like 1977 and 1992, the allocation was 25 percent.
See the letter to ACWA here, along with a February letter from Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer to the House Natural Resources Committee, also opposing H.R. 1837.