Westlands Water District Approves Emergency Water for Westside City of Huron

Edited by Laurie Greene, CalAgToday Reporter and Editor

During its monthly meeting yesterday, Westlands Water District Board of Directors unanimously approved making water available to the City of Huron, as the City struggles with a desperate situation of diminishing water resources in the face of the drought.

Westlands Water District Map

As the State of California experiences unprecedented water supply conditions, not only is the agricultural industry suffering, many rural communities are struggling to meet basic water needs. The City of Huron, in Fresno County, has experienced the same perilous situation, for its approximately 6,900 residents and additional temporary farm workers. With unemployment hovering just above 35%, Huron recently approached Westlands about acquiring water to enable it to meet the City’s water needs.

Westlands Water District Board President Don Peracchi stated, “We are very pleased to be able to assist one of our local, rural communities during this difficult situation. Every day we hear of another family or community succumbing to a dry well. Unfortunately, situations like these are becoming all too commonplace.”

The City of Huron welcomed the recent news ensuring they would receive water from the District. Mayor Sylvia Chavez said, “Our community continues to suffer with the effects of the drought. We take for granted that water will remain plentiful, but the drought has depleted our reserves. We are thankful that Westlands was willing to work with us during this difficult situation.”

Earlier this year, the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) initially denied the City of Huron’s request for assistance; at which point, the City turned to Westlands as an additional source. The issue was brought before Westlands’ board members who agreed to help the City look for viable solutions.

The drought has caused irreparable harm not only to agriculture but also to families, businesses and communities with effects that are far-reaching beyond this year. This decision will provide limited relief to a much greater problem.

Westlands Water District, the largest agricultural water district in the United States, is made up of more than 1,000 square miles of prime farmland in western Fresno and Kings Counties. Westlands currently has a contract with USBR for its annual supply of water to properly irrigate the district, yet USBR determines the allocation percentage it will supply. For example, USBR’s allocation percentage to Westlands for 2013 was 20% and for 2014 was 0%.

 

Sources: Gayle Holman, Westlands Water District; Jack Castro, City of Huron, CA

California Farmer… ‘The New Endangered Species’

Ambitious filmmaker documents plight of the California Farmer from a new perspective

Simba Temba Hove grew up on a farm in the rural area of Zimbabwe in Africa. “[Farming] is all we did in my childhood. My father had ten kids, and all we did in the morning was wake up, go to the fields, work the fields the whole day and into the evening, and then go home. Everyday we did this, every day except Sundays. So, farming is very close to me. That’s all we did. I was in the rural area of Africa, so we were all subsistence farmers.”

Simba Temba Hove
Simba Temba Hove

Hove is intimately aquainted with droughts, having lived through the devastating 1982 drought in his country: “When the drought hits, there is nothing that you can do. There is no water system, and everyone is on their own. The drought hits your livestock, your fields, your plantations, your wells, your rivers, everything is gone.” Soon after, Hove came to America, went to college and became a registered nurse in the Bay Area.

When this epic drought hit California, Mr. Hove decided to combine his interest and experience with drought with his passion for filming. “The drought is the worst in a hundred years. If it were not the worst in a hundred years, I probably wouldn’t have filmed it…I want to see how the American farmer survives.”

He spoke to several farmers including Joel and Todd Allen and Vaughn Von Allman of Firebaugh in western Fresno County.  Also prominent in the film is Gayle Holman, public affairs representative for Westlands Water District in Fresno.

Simba Temba Hove, left, with those in Movie
Simba Temba Hove, left, with individuals featured in movie

Hove used these interviews to let African farmers compare their experiences: “I wanted to do a documentary like this one so I could show African farmers. When I first talked to Joel, my idea was to show this to African farmers so they could see what an American farmer’s life is like through the drought, and how he survives.”

Hove was shocked that California adheres environmental restrictions to save an endangered species of fish, the Delta Smelt, even in one of the worst draughts on record: “Honestly it would be unthinkable in Africa—to protect an endangered species when the draught is that bad. In Africa it is all about survival, it’s all about human survival.”

He kept thinking how this situation would play out in Africa, “Everyone would think you’re are crazy. Everyone would think you were out of your mind to think of protecting an endangered species like a fish.”

“California Farmer… ‘The New Endangered Species'” is a riveting and powerful documentary film that illustrates the challengers and the struggles faced by Central California Farmers and their communities.

Check back here to find a screening near you. To see a trailer of the film go to You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOk3PyOWT5M

Westlands Water District Corrects LA Times Errors with Full Page Ad

LA Times Wrongly  Attacks Westlands and Refuses OP ED Correction

The Los Angeles Times recently published an intensely critical article about Westlands Water District, which recited many of the false, misleading, or outdated claims made by some of our critics over the years. The Times’ editors refused to print an Op-Ed that the District offered in response. And so the District has taken out a full-page advertisement in the Times TODAY to provide readers with a better understanding of the issues facing Westlands and how we are addressing them. A copy of the advertisement is attached.

I wanted to let you know immediately about this action.

Tom Birmingham

General Manager of Westlands Water District

Westlands’ LA Times Ad

A Little Straight Talk About Agriculture,Saving Water and Drainage

Statement from Don Peracchi, President of Westlands Water District

Westlands
Source: Westlands Water District (wwd.ca.gov)

As the largest public irrigation district in the United States, Westlands Water District draws a lot of attention as well as the criticism that sometimes comes with its successes. This year, one of its most persistent critics, George Miller, is retiring after 40 years in Congress, and to mark the occasion, the Times’ recently unpacked a trunkload of his oft-repeated complaints and concerns about the District.

Some parts of this catalog identify serious issues that were long ago resolved. Others involve legitimate problems which we are still trying to address. And, like many things involving California water, a few are pure, political invention.

The article’s fundamental charge is that Westlands is simply “in the wrong place.” One might make the same complaint about dredging natural marshes in California’s Delta to grow crops in the middle of a saline estuary. Or attack the folly of installing vast farms on the desert lands of the Coachella and Imperial valleys. Or stranger still, decry building a great city on the arid plain where Los Angeles now stands. The point is, these endeavors and dozens more helped to create the prosperity of California by linking our communities together with a modern water system.

The reality is that Westlands is in the ideal place. Indeed, the Central Valley of California occupies the only Mediterranean climate in North America. Weather conditions, rich soils, and the arrival of water in the mid-1960s, have transformed the area into the most productive farming region in America. The communities that have grown there as a result, the thousands of businesses and tens of thousands of people whose livelihoods depend upon agricultural productivity, are not “in the wrong place.” They are at home.

The most persistent criticism of Westlands’ role in this transformation has to do with the influence of “corporate agriculture.” That may remain a concern for some parts of California, but not in Westlands or any of the other farming region served by the federal Central Valley Project. When Westlands was created in 1952, major industrial interests, including Standard Oil of California and Southern Pacific Railroad, did indeed own large tracts of land within its water service area.

But that ended in 1982 with the passage of Congressman Miller’s Reclamation Reform Act. That act redefined the qualifications for receiving water from a federal reclamation project; as a result, large corporate entities sold out, the large tracts were broken up, and today in Westlands there are nearly 2,250 landowners and the average farm size is 710 acres. “Corporate agriculture” has lost its meaning. Any corporate structure for today’s family farmers in Westlands is likely to have a mom as its vice president and her child as its treasurer.

Water use remains a constant concern for our farmers. That’s why farmers in Westlands have invested more than $1 billion in water saving techniques and technology. Indeed, even Westlands’ harshest critics have acknowledged that the men and women who today farm in Westlands are among the most efficient users of irrigation water in the world. Westlands is a leader in water conservation, and agricultural experts from all over the world come to the District to learn how its farmers are able to accomplish so much with the limited, and often uncertain, water supplies they have to work with.

Our interest in water use efficiency has become even more important in the 22 years since Congressman Miller’s Central Valley Project Improvement Act, and a host of new regulatory restrictions redirected more than a third of the water that cities and farms used to receive from the federal project, dedicating it instead to serve a wide range of new environmental purposes. Today, on an annual basis, the federal project manages more than 1.5 million acre-feet of water for fishery flow, waterfowl habitat, to protect listed species, and other environmental uses.

In hopes of restoring reliability to the water system as a whole, Westlands is working with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and other public water agencies throughout the state to support Governor Brown‘s Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

Drainage was a major issue on the westside of the San Joaquin Valley for decades before Westlands’ creation. That is why when Congress authorized the construction of the San Luis Unit of the Central Valley Project, it mandated that the Bureau of Reclamation provide Westlands with both a water supply and a drainage system. Initially federal officials planned to dispose of the drain water in the Delta. But Congress stopped that project when the drain being built by Reclamation reached Kesterson, and it was Washington as well that decided to designate this new terminus for agricultural waste as a wildlife refuge.

The resulting biological catastrophe should have been predictable. In the years since, the drainage system in Westlands has been plugged, and not a drop of drain water has left Westlands after 1986. Instead, Westlands has helped to fund the development of new methods for recycling drain water. And it has taken nearly 100,000 acres of the most vulnerable farmland out of production. Some of those lands are being converted to solar power development, with the support of numerous environmental organizations.

The drainage problem, however, persists. Federal courts, including the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, have repeatedly ordered that federal officials fulfill their obligation to provide drainage. But even though Westlands farmers pay every year for drainage service, the government has done nothing to resolve the problem in Westlands. And the government is facing a mandatory injunction, which it estimates will cost more than $2.7 billion to satisfy.

To avoid that cost, the government approached Westlands to assume the responsibility to manage drainage water within its boundaries. In addition, Westlands would compensate those landowners who have been damaged by the government’s failure to act. As part of a settlement, which is not yet final, Westlands would receive some financial consideration, albeit significantly less than the cost of performing the obligations that Westlands would assume. But there is nothing secret about either the negotiations or the proposed settlement. In fact, federal officials and Westlands have briefed interested Members of Congress and non-governmental organizations on the proposal. And there is no process that is more public than the process that federal officials and Westlands will have to pursue to obtain the congressional authorization needed to implement the proposed settlement.

We remain hopeful that these ideas can still form the basis for a long-term resolution of the drainage debate. This would put an end to more than fifty years of litigation, relieve the federal taxpayers of a substantial obligation, and enable us to move forward with an environmentally sustainable approach to the problem.

Whether that happy outcome would also put an end to the criticism of Westlands, however, is not for us to say.

Don Peracchi was born in Fresno, California to second generation Northern Italian immigrants. His family has lived and worked in Central California over 100 years. He has been farming since 1982 alongside his wife, two sons and daughter in Westlands. He has been involved in career-related board positions including banking, insurance, agriculture and water. He currently is the Board
President of Westlands Water District.

Food donations underscore drought impact

By Kate Campbell; Ag Alert

Central Valley farmers and businesses donated and shipped about 30 tons of fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts last week to help address food shortages at California food banks. A newly organized grassroots coalition, “California Water Feeds Our Communities,” was joined by the California Community Food Bank, Westlands Water District, the California Water Alliance and El Agua Es Asunto De Todos to bring valley-grown produce to those in need across the state.

Fresno County farmer Bill Diedrich said the impact of fallowing hundreds of thousands of acres of irrigated cropland in the San Joaquin Valley this year translates into significant economic losses for the valley’s small farming communities.

“It’s the people—and the communities that depend on agricultural production—that are getting hurt,” Diedrich said at a news conference in Fresno to announce the donations. “For example, the schools are being hurt. If people are moving on, there’s no reimbursement for (school) attendance and the children of those families who’ve stayed are losing out. Besides the school districts, cities and counties also are being affected and their ability to help in this crisis is reduced.”

Diedrich said that when he drives through the valley’s small towns, he sees workers standing around idle, “because there’s so much fallowed ground there isn’t the normal demand for labor. We’re looking at a disaster and we’re hoping for regulatory relief,” noting that Congress will be considering drought-relief bills in coming weeks.

Kym Dildine with Fresno-based Community Food Bank said one in four people in Fresno, Kings, Madera, Kern and Tulare counties copes with food insecurity, a situation made worse by the ongoing drought.

Prior to the drought, she said the agency was serving about 220,000 people a month. With the drought, that number has increased by another 30,000 people a month in the five-county area.

“Every food bank we’ve spoken to is really grateful to be receiving an entire truckload of fresh produce grown right here in the valley,” she said. “Because less fruit is available, they’re having a harder time accessing it.”

To help address the problem, 15 trucks were loaded with boxes of fresh produce at Simonian Fruit Co. in Fowler before heading to food banks in Fresno, Merced, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Watsonville, Salinas, Santa Maria, Oxnard, Riverside and San Diego.

“The food we grow here extends far and wide,” said Gayle Holman of the Westlands Water District. “In fact, most people don’t even realize the food they may be eating in other parts of the state, or across the United States, actually originates here.”

The Fresno County Farm Bureau, along with many valley farms and businesses, supported the food donation effort, as did irrigation districts and service groups such as the Girl Scouts of Central California-South and the Fresno Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, as well as California State University, Fresno.

Participants said the coalition hopes not only to bring attention to the impact of the drought and how far-reaching it is, but also to set the stage for future food donation drives as the crisis deepens during the winter. Diedrich said the effort also brings attention to the fact that an unreliable water supply jeopardizes everyone’s food security.

“The drought has impacted California’s food banks because they can no longer adapt to the spike in food prices resulting from a lack of water for farmers,” said Cannon Michael, president of Los Banos-based Bowles Farming Co. “This campaign has been launched to feed the needy and raise awareness about how the drought hurts the most vulnerable people in the state.”

Drought-related land fallowing brings “many unintended consequences,” Michael said.

“We hope raising awareness about the drought will bring all stakeholders together to find short- and long-term solutions,” he said.

Westside farmer Sarah Woolf said the coalition will continue to support food banks.

“This was just one small aspect of how we’re trying to help,” she said.

When the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced a zero water allocation for farm customers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, Mendota Mayor Robert Silva said his community knew it was facing “a terrible situation.” But he said the city learned from the drought in 2009 and immediately began preparing.

“We got service agencies and utilities to come in and set up assistance programs right away,” Silva said. “We’ve added recreational opportunities for our youth to keep them busy and we’ve been finding ways to support our schools.”

In 2009, Silva said water shortages led to severe social problems such as domestic violence and higher school dropout rates that might have been eased with adequate social services. The unemployment rate in Mendota today is in the range of 35 percent, he said, compared to 50 percent at the same time in 2009.

“Unemployment is still high, but not as bad as we feared,” Silva said. “But we’re not out of danger yet. I understand it’s going to be a short growing season this year, harvest is nearly over, and that means more people will be unemployed for a longer time. We haven’t seen the worst yet.”

He said Mendota residents have been planning ahead and “trying to get the resources they’ll need to get by until they can go back to work next year,” and more agencies are prepared to help.

“But it’s going to be a long winter,” Silva said.

 

California water bond: The burning questions

Source: Jeremy B. White; The Sacramento Bee

Having passed an on-time budget and concluded their committee hearings, California lawmakers have escaped Sacramento for a few weeks and retired to their districts for a July recess. When they return, much of the remaining legislative session will be devoted to trying to get a new water bond on the November ballot.

Water policy remains one of the most complex and potent topics to engulf the state Capitol. Here are some answers to the key questions in the water bond debate:

What happened to the other water bond they passed?

In the dwindling days of the 2009 legislative session, lawmakers and then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger compromised on an $11.1 billion bond offering. That bond has been delayed twice and is now scheduled for the November 2014 ballot.

But the general Sacramento consensus now holds that the $11.1 billion bond is a goner: too large and too full of specific allocations redolent of pork. Gov. Jerry Brown has told lawmakers he is concerned about the 2009 proposal passing muster, and lawmakers argue it would be dead on arrival.

So what are they doing instead?

Even if they don’t like the existing bond proposal, many lawmakers still want something on the ballot. A historically intense drought can be a big motivator.

Several lawmakers have floated proposals for a new bond. Only one has made it as far as a floor vote. That measure, a $10.5 billion proposal by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, could not garner enough votes to get out of the Senate. On the day lawmakers adjourned for recess, senators announced a diminished $7.5 billion proposal.

Assembly members are hammering out their own compromise measure. They were close to introducing one earlier last week but had to go back to the drawing board. It now looks more likely they will unveil a pact once legislators return from summer recess.

What does the governor think?

For much of this year Brown declined to weigh in on a water bond. But he finally broke that silence recently and has begun meeting with lawmakers. Since the governor would need to sign any new bond, his opinion matters.

In keeping with his image as California’s responsible fiscal steward – a reputation he would like to burnish in an election year – Brown has advocated a bond that is smaller than both the $11.1 billion measure and the alternative bonds lawmakers are floating. These numbers are more starting points for negotiations than hard ceilings, but Brown suggested a bond worth $6 billion overall, with $2 billion for storage.

Surface Storage? What does that mean?

The term “surface storage” generally refers to big projects like dams and reservoirs. If California has more places to stash water in wet years, the thinking goes, it will be better equipped to survive the dry stretches. But storage could also encompass money to replenish or clean up supplies of groundwater, which California relies on more heavily in dry years.

Determining where storage dollars might go spurs fierce disputes over what types of projects could be eligible. Since all taxpayers are subsidizing them, bond-funded storage projects must carry broad public benefits.

Defining those benefits can be a problem. Bonds that list recreation as a benefit, for example, are a red flag for dam-averse environmentalists. As they note, you can’t take a boat out on groundwater.

Will a bond help with the drought?

One thing lawmakers can’t do is create more water. If rain is scarce and the Sierra snowpack is diminished, that means there’s less to go around. If big storage projects are advanced, it would still take years for construction to finish and yield results.

Other money could bolster access to drinking water. Proposals would offer grants to treat drinking water contaminated with nitrates or other chemicals, money for recycling and reusing wastewater, funding to repair water infrastructure in disadvantaged communities and support for capturing more stormwater.

What about the Delta tunnels? Will a bond pay for those?

This is a tricky one. Understanding the answer requires a brief explanation of the so-called “co-equal goals” of Brown’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

The centerpiece of Brown’s legacy water project would be a pair of massive water tunnels capable of funneling water to southern parts of the state without needing it to flow through the Delta. It’s very controversial. But the project isn’t just tunnels. It would also need to pay for sweeping environmental restoration to help the Delta’s teeming habitat, what’s known as “mitigation.”

That imperative of spending money on Delta habitat is affecting the water bond debate. None of the bonds would allocate money to build the tunnels. But they all offer money for the Delta. Senate President Pro Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and others point to polling suggesting that any bond that is not “BDCP-neutral” will rally the opposition and falter before voters. Brown also believes a bond must be divorced from the tunnels.

Would a bond with money for the Delta ecosystem help Brown build the tunnels? Depends who you ask. For now, Delta advocates and environmentalists believe Wolk’s bond is the most tunnel-neutral option. But some observers believe that Delta plan skeptics could frame any bond with Delta money as a boon to Brown’s tunnel dreams and hurt its chances for passage.

Are special interests involved?

Assuredly. With billions of dollars at stake, various interest groups have been making their priorities known to lawmakers. That includes environmentalists, agricultural interests, organizations like the Alliance of California Water Agencies, major urban water agencies like the Metropolitan Water District and prominent agricultural water providers like the Westlands Water District.

For the environmentalists, a key point of contention is what sort of projects a bond could fund. They don’t want to see preference given to new large-scale reservoirs, expressing skepticism that the new dams would be cost-effective and warning about environmental degradation.

Most pressing for many water districts and agencies is more money for storage. Their customers are thirsty, something they hope a bond can address. Since Brown’s tunnels have become bound up with the bond conversation, it’s worth noting that significant support for the Delta tunnels comes from exporters that would like to see a steadier flow of water.

When is the deadline?

The statutory deadline to get a new water bond on the ballot has come and gone (it was June 26). The Legislature can still waive various laws to put something before voters in November.

But elections are complex undertakings, and the civic machinery has already started whirring. The secretary of state’s office has begun assembling the voter guides that must go on public display by July 22 before being printed and mailed to voters. County election officials typically start ordering ballots to be printed in August. Those ballots have to be translated into nine other languages.

Lawmakers have options. Administrators are already allotting space for the $11.1 billion bond, so swapping out that language for a new bond would be simpler. If lawmakers take too long striking a new bond deal, they could end up having to print a second, separate voter guide. That would cost more money, potentially millions of dollars.

So the short answer is: there is no immutable deadline. But the longer lawmakers take, the more complicated and expensive it gets.

Westlands Water District Announces Recipients of the West Side Scholarships

Six outstanding high school seniors from communities on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley have been selected to receive scholarships offered by the Westlands Water District.

The 2014 scholarships are offered by Westlands under a program to recognize and reward exceptional academic achievement and leadership by graduating seniors at area high schools.

The recipients of the 2014 scholarships are:

Jose Arias, a senior at Firebaugh High School. Mr. Arias is an honors student who plans on attending University of California, Davis to pursue a degree in biochemistry and molecular biology.

He was involved in soccer, track and field, and cross country. Additionally, he has received a number of awards including a Certificate of AP Scholar Award, Student of the Month and Certificate of Academic Excellence.

Jorge Santillan, a senior at Mendota High School. Mr. Santillan plans to attend University of California, Santa Barbara to pursue a degree in psychology. He is an honors student and has been an active member of MESA, AVID, Leadership, was President of Lend-A-Hand and an ASB Treasurer. As President of Lend-A-Hand, he helped organize blood drives, food drives and toy drives.

John Desfosses, a senior at Coalinga High School. Mr. Desfosses plans to attend University of California, Berkeley to pursue a degree in history. He is an honors student who was a President and former Vice-President of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and former Vice President and Treasurer of the California Scholarship Federation.

Emma Larson, a senior at Lemoore High School. Ms. Larson plans to attend University of California to pursue a career in agricultural communications. She is an honors student and a member of the California Scholastic Federation. Additionally, she has been an active member of Future Farmers of America holding several leadership positions.

Alexis Garcia, a senior at Tranquillity High School. Mr. Garcia plans to attend University of California, Berkeley to pursue a degree in integrative biology. He is an honors student involved in Future Farmers of America, ASB Leadership and basketball.

Rianne Banuelos, a senior at Riverdale High School. Ms. Banuelos plans to attend Westmont College to pursue a degree in art and English. She is an honors student who was actively involved in Link Crew, Physics Club, Student Government and Leadership Class. Additionally, she has participated in a considerable amount of volunteer work.

Each scholarship recipient will receive $1,000 to be used for community college or university expenses. Applicants were judged on their academic performance, school activities and community leadership. Each applicant submitted an essay on an agricultural-related topic.

“Westlands is honored to provide this assistance for these outstanding student leaders,” said Tom Birmingham, general manager of Westlands. “These scholarships represent a small gesture of thanks and support to the communities on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley that make our region such a productive and vibrant place.”

Cal Ag Today would like to congratulate each of these outstanding students on their achievements and wish them the best of luck on their future endeavors.

Senate Drought Bill Passes, Westlands Expresses Appreciation

This evening, the United States Senate passed, by unanimous consent, the Emergency Drought Relief Act, a bill to provide federal and state water agencies with additional flexibility to deliver water where it is most needed during California’s historic drought. The legislation, sponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (both D-Calif.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.), must now be reconciled with a separate bill passed by the House of Representatives.Dianne_Feinstein_official_Senate_photo_2

“Getting this bill passed was a true team effort.” Senator Feinstein credited the individuals above and added,  “Senator Murkowski, ranking member of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, displayed true bipartisanship in working across the aisle to address this disaster.”

Other cosponsors of the drought bill include Senators Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Senator Feinstein commented, “The drought in California is devastating and shows no signs of letting up. Snowpack is at 6 percent of its normal level and the state’s largest reservoirs are at or below half capacity. Congress must take immediate action to help alleviate the suffering of farmers, workers, businesses and communities throughout the state.”

Westlands Water District Round LogoWestlands Water District General Manager Thomas Birmingham issued the following statement on the drought bill passage:

“Passage of this legislation by the Senate marks an important milestone in the effort by members of California’s congressional delegation from both sides of the aisle to provide some relief from the disastrous human and economic impacts of drought and restrictions imposed on operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project under the Endangered Species Act and other federal regulations.

The fact that this bill passed by unanimous consent is a testament to the hard work of Senator Feinstein, with support from Senator Boxer and members of the House of Representatives, to explain to senators from other states the urgent need for and the importance of this legislation to the people of California.”

“Westlands Water District expresses its great appreciation for the hard work of Senator Feinstein and her colleagues in obtaining passage of this legislation. We look forward to working with Senator Feinstein and Members of the House in their efforts to reconcile this legislation with legislation that has already passed in the House.

It is Westlands’ hope that this process can begin quickly, and we are confident that Senator Feinstein and her colleagues in the House will be able to identify common sense solutions that will restore water supplies, while providing reasonable protections for fish.

The tens-of-thousands of people who otherwise will be unemployed and the welfare of people around the state depend on a meaningful compromise being reached quickly.”

 

Photo Credit: Westlands Water District Ranch on loopnet.com