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The Truth

If we don't act, hundreds of thousands of acres will be forced into retirement

Sep 05, 2016

Congressman Devin Nunes held a water forum last week where he began by showing a PowerPoint presentation called 'Drought by Design:  Current Water Outlook for the San Joaquin Valley.'

The information in the presentation gives us a no-holds-barred look at where we are with the current state of affairs in water policy in California.  Here are some of the highlights (or lowlights):

Average Annual Water Flow into the Delta:  25M Acre Feet(MAF)
19MAF Sent Out to the Ocean (76%)
1.5MAF Used in Delta (6%)
4.5MAF Exported to Bay Area and South-of-Delta (18%)

Irrigated Land by Acres:
Madera:  292,274
Fresno:  879,727
Kings:  407,417
Tulare:  557,361
Kern:  729,958

If we don't act, hundreds of thousands of acres will be forced into retirement:  

Westside:  404,000 acres
Kings:  60,000 acres
Tulare Lake:  145,200 acres
Tule:  61,600 acres
Kern:  268,950 acres
Madera:  39,600 acres
Chowchilla:  32,000

The Problems:  
Endangered Species Act 1973 - 9.6 million acre feet flushed to the ocean since January...19.2 million acre feet since 2014

Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA) 1992 - Dedicates 1.4 million acre feet to the environment

San Joaquin River Settlement 2006 - 93,000 acres to be retired when fully implemented

Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA/State Law) - DWR estimates 1.5-2 million acre feet overdraft in Central Valley

These are all federal and state laws and they need to be changed to solve the problems.


Build Water Storage:

Raise Shasta Dam (increase storage 256,000AF)
Expand San Luis Reservoir (increase capacity 130,000AF)
Expand Los Vaqueros Reservoir (increase capacity 1,750,000AF)
Build Temperance Flat (create capacity 2,260,000AF)
Build Sites Reservoir (create capacity 1,400,000AF)

Devin concludes:  Legislators have refused to act, so the people must.  You can do this by supporting initiatives that prioritize state action on the water crisis.  He also urges you to urge agricultural groups and water agencies to support these core policies:

Reform Endangered Species Act through federal legislation

Reform the CVPIA through federal legislation

Fix the San Joaquin River Settlement through federal legislation

These are real solution that anyone can see would work.  We don't claim that they can be achieved because people like Senator Dianne Feinstein continue to press for tweaks to the system.  In her latest op/ed Senator Feinstein again pushes for "a more flexible pumping system"...and making sure "the White House, Gov. Jerry Brown and their respective agencies were involved to ensure it would not violate the Endangered Species Act or the biological opinions."

We don't need to tweak the system, and if the ESA isn't reformed we can't solve the problem.  That's the truth.


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