Water legislation introduced by Valley Congressman moving to US Senate

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As soon as HR 23 passed Wednesday, Congressman David Valadao said he received calls of congratulations from the White House. (KFSN)

As soon as HR 23 passed Wednesday, Congressman David Valadao said he received calls of congratulations from the White House. The bill, introduced in January, is officially called the Gaining Responsibility on Water Act of 2017, and basically, it aims to bring more water to the Central Valley.

Valadao argues that precious water resources have been mismanaged due to complex state and federal laws-- with trillions of gallons of water flowing out into the ocean. He, along with co-sponsor Jim Costa, believes the Grow Act can help bring water back to Valley farmers and communities.

"And so making sure that we get surface water into the Central Valley, it helps the economy of the Central Valley-- but it also helps the overall water table in the Central Valley because you're bringing in more surface water and relying less on pumping," said Valadao.

"So in California it's either feast or famine, and we've got to use all the water tools in our water management toolbox, and I've been trying to do that. Congressman Valadao's legislation helps move that effort along. There are challenges within it as it relates to conflict, I believe, within state law that are going to have to be worked out," said Congressman Jim Costa, (D) Fresno.

By streamlining permit processes, the bill also looks to move storage projects forward, such as Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat.

Kings County Supervisor and walnut grower Doug Verboon said he supports the bill because additional water storage is needed for wet years.

Verboon said, "Human life needs to be introduced into the biological opinion ahead of some of the species of fish."

On Monday Senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein announced their opposition to the Grow Act, saying they will fight to defeat it in the Senate. As part of a statement they said Valadao's legislation would, "Preempt existing California environmental laws and regulations, giving the Trump administration greater control over water management in our state."

"If they don't agree that there is a problem with our water situation they don't understand what's going on in the Central Valley," said Valadao.

Valadao said he will do whatever he can to get senators on board with the bill so that it has a better chance of going to the White House, and becoming law.

Related Topics:
politicswatersenatecentral valleyFresno CountyTulare County
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