President Signs Water Bill with Drought Provisions

Taylor HillmanDrought, Water

water bill
A national water bill with drought provisions for California was signed into law which means increased water deliveries to San Joaquin Valley and Southern California farms and businesses.

President Barrack Obama signed the bill into law today. The bill allocates $558 million toward drought relief in California. Water deliveries will increase south of the delta and funding will be allocated to infrastructure projects. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said those projects should help California secure water supplies in the future.

The President said the following about the California sections during the signing.

“Title III, Subtitle J, of the law has both short-term and long-term provisions related to addressing the continuing drought in California. In the long-term, it invests in a number of water projects to promote water storage and supply, flood control, desalination, and water recycling. These projects will help assure that California is more resilient in the face of growing water demands and drought-based uncertainty.

Title III, Subtitle J, also includes short term provisions governing operations of the federal and state water projects under the Endangered Species Act for up to five years, regardless of drought condition. Building on the work of previous Administrations, my Administration has worked closely with the State of California and other affected parties to address the critical elements of California’s complex water challenges by accommodating the needs and concerns of California water users and the important species that depend on that same water. This important partnership has helped us achieve a careful balance based on existing state and federal law. It is essential that it not be undermined by anyone who seeks to override that balance by misstating or incorrectly reading the provisions of Subtitle J. Consistent with the legislative history supporting these provisions, I interpret and understand Subtitle J to require continued application and implementation of the Endangered Species Act, consistent with the close and cooperative work of federal agencies with the State of California to assure that state water quality standards are met. This reading of the short-term operational provisions carries out the letter and spirit of the law and is essential for continuing the cooperation and commitment to accommodating the full range of complex and important interests in matters related to California water.”