After long wait, House OKs Valadao’s water reforms

A bill featuring critical reforms for California water availability and access was approved by the House of Representatives after a lengthy wait.

After a lengthy wait, owing to the ouster of House Speaker Emeritus Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), the House of Representatives is getting back to business.

For Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford), the end of logjam is already bearing fruit, with critical water legislation getting approved on Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R–La.) first day in office.


Driving the news: The House voted to approve H.R. 4394, which includes Valadao’s Working to Advance Tangible and Effective Reforms (WATER) for California Act, a measure focusing on ensuring access to clean and reliable water supply in the Central Valley.

  • Valadao has long-emphasized the importance of a reliable water supply for farmers, ranchers, and producers in the Central Valley to grow food for the nation and support local economies.
  • The bill aims to address water shortage issues by providing funding eligibility for the Shasta Dam project and bringing accountability to water management.
  • It requires the Central Valley Project and State Water Project to be operated consistent with the 2019 Biological Opinions, which inform long-term operations plans and have been a source of uncertainty for Valley farmers.
  • The bill also seeks to ensure that stakeholders receive the water they contract and pay for, addressing the extreme water loss experienced by agricultural producers and rural communities.
  • Additionally, it provides eligibility for funding the Shasta Enlargement Project, which is a cost-effective water storage project in California.
  • Lastly, the bill reauthorizes the successful surface water storage project program and coordinated operations established by the WIIN Act, extending storage project authorizations and operations provisions.
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