Congressman Doug LaMalfa led a group of California Congressional members in a letter to the Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources requesting them to jointly resubmit a Temporary Urgency Change Petition for Water Year 2022 to the California State Water Resources Control Board to lower operational requirements over the next several months due to the worsening drought conditions. Members of the California delegation, including Kevin McCarthy, Ken Calvert, Tom McClintock, and David Valadao joined. Due to the current low reservoir storage levels, this year’s precipitation data and forecasted weather conditions the members are concerned about drought conditions worsening hydrologic operations and water flow releases unable to meet Delta outflow and salinity requirements. The TUCP would provide the necessary modifications to preserve upstream water storage due to precipitation and snowpack levels remaining low.
“Despite heavy storms in Northern California this December, state water storage levels are still well below their annual average. Lake Shasta is 580,000 acre-feet short of its storage total on this date last year, and remains at 37percent of total capacity and 52 percent of historical average. Lake Oroville is at 47 percent capacity, nearly 2 million acre-feet short of its storage total. I urge the DWR and Reclamation to quickly resubmit a TUCP to the State Water Board, this issue can’t wait. We must conserve the limited water supply we do have before regulators needlessly send the water to the ocean without any benefit to humans or species. With water levels this low we need to conserve every drop. Everyone is going to be affected by the lack of water and we can’t waste it hoping more miraculously shows up,” said LaMalfa.
“It’s critical that California continues to treat our available water like the precious resource it is. Our farmers and our communities throughout the state deserve nothing less. DWR and Reclamation must resubmit a TUCP to the State Water Board as soon as possible,” said Calvert.
“As I have long said, droughts are nature’s fault, but water shortages are our fault. This year, farmers and residents are again staring down the barrel of a government-imposed water shortage. We must now decide whether to store the water we do have, or continue to live in an era of unnecessary self-imposed scarcity. I’m pleased to join my colleagues in advocating for common-sense storage,” said McClintock.
“Flexibility in California water operations are necessary to ensure agricultural producers throughout the Central Valley have the water they need to produce food for the nation,” said Valadao. “Our farmers are once again facing devastating drought conditions this year. I urge Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources to immediately submit a Temporary Urgency Change Petition to provide these essential adjustments for our water storage.”