Water changes were needed months ago: Better late than never, but the pattern of slow action continues

Congressman Doug LaMalfa commented on the Bureau of Reclamation and California Department of Water Recourses’ announcement that they have issued a Temporary Urgency Change Petition to California water operations. The new order allows DWR and BOR to conserve more water in Shasta and Oroville, reduce Delta outflow requirements for salinity and reduce the mandatory minimum flows in the river to save water. There had been a TUCP in place for much of the fall, however, BOR and the DWR allowed it to lapse in January. Congressmen LaMalfa, Kevin McCarthy, Tom McClintock, David Valadao and David Calvert had asked for this additional flexibility to be issued in February in order to store additional water during the winter months.

“I’m happy to see the state finally taking our drought conditions more seriously,” LaMalfa said. “The flexibility to store additional water and reduce outflows that was issued today was needed months ago when fresh water was needlessly being flushed out to the ocean unused. I have been pleading with the BOR and DWR for months to issue this order. Unfortunately, we won’t be getting the wasted water back. Had the state acted in February when I and other members of Congress asked them to, our state would have significantly more water now. I continue to be troubled that even now, the state continues to plan to use this “saved” water not to provide necessary drinking water or feed our country through growing crops, but for making the rivers colder this fall for ‘fish flows.’ It’s a drought. If not for the existence of man-made dams, there wouldn’t be this cold water, or much of any water, this fall naturally. Why are we wasting the water we will store to artificially lower temperature by one degree when towns are having their water for personal consumption reduced and food isn’t being grown to feed Americans? Even the president is warning of coming food shortages. We are facing a real crisis that will hit economically struggling rural and urban families the most. While I’m happy this action was finally taken, California really needs to look at priorities for the water we do have. I think that should mean water for people, and water for growing food. Unfortunately, the state still thinks it means water for their unsupported scientifically, environmental goals.”