The Bureau of Reclamation's Central Valley Project (CVP)
The Bureau of Reclamation's Central Valley Project intersects three main watershed drainage areas, the Sacramento River, the San Joaquin River, and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, spanning over 400 miles. The multipurpose project primarily serves to deliver water contracts, delivering approximately seven million acre-feet of water annually for agricultural, urban, and wildlife use (one acre-foot is approximately 325,800 gallons, or enough water for a family of four annually). The project also serves to regulate rivers, improve flood control and generate 5.6 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually.
About 90 percent of the Central Valley Project water (5 million acre-feet) is used for agricultural purposes, irrigating 3 million acres of farmland. As of 2000, 25 percent of all jobs in the Central Valley came from farming or farm-related industries. Of California's top 7 agriculture-producing counties in 2007, six are served by the Central Valley Project producing crops and livestock worth almost $20 billion in 2007.
Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA)
On October 30, 1992, President George Bush signed into law the Reclamation Projects Authorization and Adjustment Act of 1992 (Public Law 102-575) that included Title 34, the Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA).
The CVPIA amends the previous authorizations of the California Central Valley Project to include fish and wildlife protection, restoration, and mitigation as a co-equal goal with project purposes of irrigation and domestic uses as well as power generation. To this day the CVPIA is controversial because it elevated the needs of the environment on par with agriculture in the Central Valley. The CVPIA has never been fully implemented, but at the same time, the CVPIA has NEVER been amended since enactment.
H.R. 1837, The San Joaquin Reliablilty Act
On May 11, 2011, Congressman Devin Nunes introduced the San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act. H.R. 1837 seeks to make sweeping changes to the CVPIA. H.R. 1837 also:
- Extends water contracts for a total period of 40 years in perpetuity without completion of any environmental mitigation or consideration for climate change.
- Removes tiered water pricing that encouraged water conservation and efficiency, and diminishes funds for restoration.
- Totally eliminates the co-equal goal of protecting the environment and providing the water deliveries for agricultural and municipal purposes.
- Repeals the San Joaquin Restoration Settlement Act, which represents over two decades of litigation and legislation worked on by all parties.
California Water Stakeholder Solutions:
There are state and federal processes underway that have been tasked with solving the complex issue of water realibility and protection of the environment