House Passes Legislation to Improve Water Supply Management
(Washington, DC) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 23, the Gaining Responsibility on Water (GROW) Act, which includes both short and long-term provisions intended to restore water reliability in California, and other western states.
LaMalfa said: “In recent years, lack of rain combined with poor planning for future water infrastructure has caused California to experience severe droughts that have devastated agriculture, habitat, and the economy in general. That same lack of infrastructure has prevented us from storing enough water during a rainy season, like we’ve seen this year, to prevent flooding and save for the future. There are many potential water projects around the state that could have helped remedy this problem, but they have been trapped in bureaucratic limbo for many years, even decades. This bill would require the federal government to expedite the process of approving and completing water projects. Importantly, this legislation will also include protections for NorCal water rights and restore availability of water supply for California agriculture.”
The GROW Act will:
- Expand water storage by requiring the federal government to expedite feasibility studies for water storage projects.
- Streamline infrastructure permitting by establishing the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) as the lead agency for permitting of new or expanded water surface storage projects.
- Ensure water reliability by updating the Central Valley Project Improvement Act to ensure water resources are available to fulfill supply promises.
- Protect water rights by prohibiting federal agencies from requiring private entities to relinquish water rights as a condition for operating on federal lands.
- Provide for the restoration of wildlife habitat.
Included in the bill was an amendment offered by Rep. LaMalfa that allows for more efficient use of Lake Shasta by allowing water contractors to access water when they need it, not on arbitrary timelines. Current policy requires any water allocated to be used in the year it is allocated, or lost. This amendment simply ensures that water right holders may also use the rescheduling ability provided under the bill.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.