Congressman David G. Valadao Introduces Three Amendments to Alleviate California Drought


Congressman David G. Valadao introduced recently three amendments to the Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which funds various federal agencies. Each of which would make strides toward alleviating the devastating California drought. The House Committee on Appropriations is responsible for appropriating funding for most of the functions of the federal government.

Congressman Valadao’s first amendment would extend California water storage provisions of the WIIN Act — Subtitle J — for one year. Certain provisions of the WIIN Act are set to expire soon, or have already expired, creating an urgent need for specific extensions. The amendment would also extend the authorization of appropriations for water storage projects that the Secretary of the Interior finds feasible. This language complements the RENEW WIIN Act and NEED Water Act that the congressman introduced earlier this year.

california drought

The WIIN Act, which President Obama signed into law in 2016, directed the Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce to develop a new operations plan of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project, which was completed in February 2020. The resulting biological opinions (BiOps) provide flexibility and guidance to make use of California’s water to the fullest extent and avoid waste of this precious resource. The second amendment would codify the BiOps. These BiOps were independently peer-reviewed and informed by the most accurate, best available science. The corresponding operations plans for the Central Valley Project and State Water Project employs this science and data to ensure greater water reliability and availability for communities and farms across California, while continuing to protect at-risk species.


Congressman Valadao’s third amendment would provide funding to restore the conveyance capacity of canal infrastructure facilities to move flood flows to groundwater recharge areas in order to help farmers comply with new state laws related to groundwater pumping. Major San Joaquin Valley canals would benefit from this program.


House Appropriations Committee Democrats voted down all three amendments.


“When I meet with my constituents, the same issue arises: the desperate need for water. Today I introduced three amendments to address California’s crumbling water infrastructure, storage issues, and lack of operational flexibility for communities and farmers. Farmers across the Central Valley are being forced to tear up their crops to conserve water—crops that would have fed families across the United States and across the world. Communities in my district’s wells are drying up, if they aren’t already dry,” said Congressman Valadao. “Once again, my colleagues across the aisle refuse to acknowledge the fact that we have a crisis on our hands. I am incredibly disappointed that the Majority rejected my amendments — real people need our help, and it’s clear the Democrats are unwilling to provide it. I will not stop fighting to bring a solution to the Central Valley.”