Lawmakers offer competing water bills

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- US lawmakers were in recess but when they return to Capitol Hill one of the issues they'll take up involves competing water bills.

When it comes to water, common ground between democrats and republicans has always been hard to find.

Four years of drought. Two different approaches. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced a $1.3 billion dollar drought relief bill focused on recycling, storage and desalination projects.

Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) compared Feinstein's bill to one Rep. David Valadao(R-Hanford) was able to get passed in the house.

Costa explained, "I think the language on Senator Feinstein's measure on storage is stronger and creates a greater possibility to add both surface storage as well as groundwater storage."

But Costa added the operational flexibility to ease federal restrictions and pump more water to Valley farms was stronger in Valadao's bill.

Valadao said, "We have to make sure we're able to capture water in non-drought years so that it's in storage and held so that when we do hit these periods of drought we're not behind the ball and trying to catch up."

Both believed a compromise can be reached especially when it comes to pumping in the delta. But Valley ranchers and farmers have been frustrated by the inaction.

Fresno County Farm Bureau executive director Ryan Jacobsen said, "We need to see something come very quickly. This cannot be something that's going to drag out and take place over the next two years."

Costa remained confident President Obama would have a bipartisan water bill to sign come November.

Senator Lisa Murkowski(R-AK) will hold a hearing in September to discuss the water needs of western states.

Copyright © 2019 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.