Wednesday, February 5, 2014

House passes water bill, status quo defenders dismayed

Today the House of Representatives passed a comprehensive water bill – the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act (H.R. 3964) – to alleviate the water crisis in California.

Our bill – which eases regulations artificially restricting our water supply, reduces the amount of useable water flushed into the ocean, and allows us to store water in wet years for use in dry ones – was denounced by Governor Brown as an “unwelcome and divisive” proposal that would undermine “years of progress” toward solving the water problem. Where has this wonderful “progress” gotten us? In the midst of a major water crisis, we have no stored water to draw from and we continue flushing critical water supplies into the ocean. Governor Brown’s position is nothing more than a defense of the failed status quo.       

Similarly, Senator Diane Feinstein blasted our bill as “disingenuous,” “irresponsible,” and even “dangerous” – and it may really be all those things, if you are so resistant to change that your proposed solution to the crisis is the meaningless appointment of a “federal drought task force” and a “federal drought coordinator.”  

The water emergency is not the result of global warming or lack of rain, as our bill’s opponents claim. Our ancestors in California built an amazing irrigation system that can deliver a reliable water supply even during severe droughts. It is our inability to use this system as it was intended – due to preposterous regulations that put fish before families – that has created today’s water calamity. 
If you believe that changing our regulations would be too divisive, then you probably don’t want to support our bill. But if you think the time for talk is over, that the status quo is unacceptable, that Californians should not lose any more jobs due to a preventable crisis, and that Congress should take immediate action to bring water to drought-stricken communities, then please visit this page on my website to learn more about our efforts.