Fresno, CA – Today, Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement after the Bureau of Reclamation announced the initial Central Valley Project 2016 Water Supply Allocation:
“Sadly, today the Valley is faced with what we all feared and I cautioned against since rains began in January. Despite the El Nino conditions, above average rainfall and an average snowpack in the mountains, today farmers in the San Joaquin Valley have been told they can expect to receive a five percent water allocation from the federal water project,” said. Rep. Costa. “If state and federal agencies had followed my consistent direction and better managed the water in the system, there would have been a different and more positive announcement made today. Instead, as a direct result of the federal agencies failure to act on my recommendations, more land will go fallow, farm workers will be jobless, and the challenges that San Joaquin Valley drought stricken communities face will continue.
This Administration should acknowledge that during this water year, after a four year drought that has caused severe impacts to the people of the San Joaquin Valley, the water projects have been operated for the primary purpose of protecting fisheries and not for the needs of the people of the Valley. This is the Administration’s failure and further proves the necessity for Congressional action to fix this broken water system. This was avoidable and the residents of the Valley deserve much better.”
Since the El Nino conditions began, Rep. Costa has been consistently urging federal and state agencies to better balance the management of California’s water system. Below is a timeline and links to floor speeches, hearing remarks, and letters that were sent to the Administration:
- November 13, 2015 – Rep. Costa led a letter from members of the California delegation to the President and Governor Brown asking what their plan is to manage El Nino Precipitation. View letter here.
- December 17, 2015 – Rep. Costa speaks on the House floor to express the urgency to get California water legislation passed. View speech here.
- January 15, 2016 – Rep. Costa says that even with El Nino rains, California’s drought crisis is not over. View speech here.
- February 3, 2016 – Rep. Costa calls on state and federal agencies to properly manage water from El Nino rains. View speech here.
- February 10, 2016 – In a Natural Resources Committee hearing, Rep. Costa says that unknown impacts of predation are hurting the San Joaquin Valley. View remarks here.
- February 11, 2016 – Rep. Costa says that state and federal agencies must maximize pumping in the Delta. View speech here.
- February 11, 2016 – In response to Rep. Costa’s calls to action, federal agencies increased pumping to maximum levels allowable under environmental law.
- February 26, 2016 – In a Natural Resources Committee hearing, Rep. Costa says we must fix California’s broken water system. View remarks here.
- February 26, 2016 – Rep. Costa calls on his colleagues and the Administration to recognize the drought impacts in California’s San Joaquin Valley. View speech here.
- March 14, 2016 – Rep. Costa says we must take advantage of every drop of water in the system and fix California’s broken water system in the short- and long-term. View speech here.
- March 22, 2016 – Rep. Costa urges the Administration to prioritize California’s drought stricken San Joaquin Valley. View speech here .
- March 22, 2016 – In a Natural Resources Committee hearing, Rep. Costa questions species recovery effectiveness. View remarks here.
- March 23, 2016 – Federal agencies reduce pumping from the Delta.
- March 24, 2016 – Rep. Costa sent a letter President Obama asking him to direct the Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Marine Fisheries Service to maximize pumping in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the greatest extent allowable with the applicable laws governing system operations. View letter here.