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Dealing with California's manmade drought

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The author of this entry is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or
May 18, 2011 | 2,644 views | 2 comments

By Congressman Kevin McCarthy

This year we've seen heavy amounts of rain and snow in California that have led to a near-record snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. After three years of drought, this surplus of water is welcome.

Unfortunately, government overregulation continues to limit water our farmers and ranchers need to create jobs and produce the crops that feed America. Even with the snowpack peaking at 165 percent of average this year, some of our farmers are only getting 80 percent of their allocation. In fact, according to the Kern County Water Agency's General Manager Jim Beck, our farmers are getting a full 10 percent less water this year than they otherwise would because of scientifically unfounded regulations. This is unacceptable.

Our farmers, ranchers, families and small businesses cannot continue to live year-to-year, praying the government will release the water needed to support our economies and keep people working. That's why I joined Rep. Devin Nunes and Rep. Jeff Denham last week in introducing legislation that would address the causes of California's man-made drought and get water flowing in our communities again.

The San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act would knock down onerous and unfounded government regulations that are limiting water deliveries to our communities. Specifically, this legislation would return Delta pump operations to the historic and bipartisan 1994 Bay-Delta Accord, which had the support of Republicans, Democrats and environmental groups alike; replace the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement with a more environmentally reasonable and economically feasible habitat restoration program; and reform the Central Valley Project Improvement Act to create more accountability and increase water supplies.

If enacted, this legislation would deliver an estimated additional 300,000 acre-feet of water annually to State Water Project contractors, including Kern County. This additional water would support tens of thousands of acres of farmland in our local communities. In addition, this legislation could create up to 30,000 jobs in our region and save American taxpayers up to $1 billion. We cannot delay any longer in taking aggressive action to address our man-made drought, and this is common sense action to do just that.

Tomorrow, I will be holding a press conference in Bakersfield to discuss how the San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act can turn the faucet back on for our local farmers and ranchers who have suffered severely from our man-made drought. And on June 2, the Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the legislation. I am committed to moving this legislation forward and ensuring that Congress and those here at home are well aware of the urgency with which we must act to get water flowing in our communities again. We must get people back to work in our communities.

I know that water is vital to the livelihood of many in our communities and would like to hear your feedback on this issue.
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Your Opinions and Comments

Alvin Charmaine  
May 20, 2011 8:21am
It's worth noting that speculators are buying water rights like crazy... there's a lot of profit to be made in drought. T Boone Pickens owns a ton of water rights. It would be naive to think these billionaires don't lobby... More ›

Elaine K.  
May 18, 2011 6:24pm
New commentary posted.

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