LaMalfa introduces the Protect Our Water Rights Act

Today Congressman Doug LaMalfa  introduced H.R. 289, the Protect Our Water Rights Act. This bill will give certainty to agriculture producers and irrigators during dry years and hold the Bureau of Reclamation accountable for proper water delivery.

“Building water storage, delivering irrigators their water that is lawfully theirs, and ensuring fresh water is not wasted are the priorities of rural California,” LaMalfa said. “This is especially critical in California agriculture, where severe water mismanagement has exacerbated the crippling drought. Responsible water management means higher food production and lower prices for all Americans, while keeping farmers in business. I’m looking forward to passing this bill and protecting our water rights.”

This bill:

  • Mandates 100 percent contract water deliveries to water districts by Reclamation in normal or above normal precipitation years and guarantees additional water in dry years.
  • Requires in-person field briefings and outreach, in each county where a Central Valley Project water contractor is located, after Reclamation’s initial allocation announcements and before the allocation announcement for April is made.
  • Reduces or eliminates the operation and maintenance payments required to be paid by CVP water contractors, based on reductions in water allocations.
  • Requires the Bureau of Reclamation to assess and report on what debt is still owed by the irrigators of the Klamath Project.
  • Prohibits the Bureau of Reclamation from releasing stored water created by the Klamath Project in Upper Klamath Lake, except for agricultural and refuge purposes associated with State-adjudicated water rights, and to otherwise maximize total storage volume in Upper Klamath Lake.