Congressman Kevin McCarthy today issued the following statement after it was announced that the allocation for State Water Project (SWP) contractors will be reduced from 60 to 50 percent:
"California is looking at another dry year. The snowpack is far below normal and allocations are already being cut back. Action is needed now to ensure our farmers and ranchers receive every possible drop of water. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act can provide that action. It eliminates causes of California's man-made drought, which compounds the impacts of California's current dry weather, which has wreaked havoc on our local economies and crops so that our communities can continue to feed America. We can't control the weather, but we can control whether or not a tiny fish gets precedence over the livelihoods of the hardworking men and women in the Central Valley."
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act was passed out of the House Committee on Natural Resources on February 16. Congressman McCarthy was one of the three original co-sponsors to H.R. 1837, which was introduced in May 2011. This legislation is expected to increase annual water deliveries to San Joaquin Valley farmers and ranchers by 1.4 million acre-feet of water (one acre-foot equals 326,000 gallons) and would deliver an estimated additional 300,000 acre-feet of water annually specifically to State Water Project contractors, including Kern County, which could support tens of thousands of acres of farmland. To put that in perspective, a typical family of four in the Central Valley uses about 1.3 acre-feet of water per year and it takes about three acre-feet to irrigate an acre of farmland.