Remake of Central Valley water rights moves to vote

WASHINGTON, D.C.
February 15, 2012 6:57am
Comment Print Email

•  UPDATED @ 11:03 a.m. and 1:06 p.m. with additional reaction

•  House of Representatives expected to vote soon

•  Supported by San Joaquin farmers; opposed by Delta farmers


How water is divvied up in the Central Valley would be remade under a bill authored by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, and co-sponsored by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, that is expected to get a floor vote soon in the House.

Mr. Nunes says the House Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a markup on Thursday for H.R. 1837, dubbed the “Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act.” A markup is usually one of the last committee votes on a measure before it moves to a floor vote.

“This legislation is a comprehensive regional solution to water shortages that have been caused by failed government policies, not actual shortages of water,” says Mr. Nunes. “We have crafted a good bill that not only restores the flow of water but will ultimately make unnecessary the construction of a $12 billion canal to bypass the Bay-Delta.”

But that’s not how everyone sees it.

“Congressman Nunes’ HR1837 is specifically designed for a full on water grab from the Delta. It not only over rides the public trust as defined in the California Constitution and state water laws, it seeks to promote a large corporate agribusiness economy, all at the expense of Delta family farmers,” says Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, a nonprofit that works in the areas of public education and outreach “so that all Californians recognize this region as part of California’s natural heritage, deserving of restoration.”

Ms. Barrigan-Parrilla says the recently released Economic Sustainability Report authored by the Delta Protection Commission shows that the Delta agriculture economy is worth $4.2 billion annually and produces tens of thousands of jobs.

“Nunes wants to make sure that water flows to his supporters like Stewart Resnick of Paramount Farms, and the 40 families or so who run the Westlands Water District, rather than for the benefit of middle class Californians and for fisheries which support working fishermen,” she says.

According to Mr. Nunes, his bill would end what he calls policies that have failed for 20 years as well as restore water rights, cut costs, and pave the way for “measurable environmental improvements.”

And a fellow Valley congressman, Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, whose district includes much of the Delta, is crtical of the bill.

“This bill is yet another example of a water scheme created behind closed doors and without the input of the Delta communities,” he says. “This bill is deeply-flawed, and it will rob the Delta of clean water and reduce the quality of the water that remains. To steal water from one community to benefit another is unconscionable and would have disastrous consequences for the Delta communities.”

The view from a Fresno congressional seat is different.

“The Central Valley has gotten the short end of the stick for far too long,” says Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno. “This bill addresses a number of issues that move us toward our shared goal of restoring a sustainable and reliable water supply for Valley farmers. However, without a willingness to engage others in the process, this legislation will never bring more water to our Valley because it is not bipartisan and won’t see the light of day in the Senate.”

The bill is also co-sponsored by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Modesto.


Comment Print Email

Comments on this story


Chris Gulick 2/15/12 10:51 AM
I urge all readers to actually read this bill and further to contact your elected representatives demanding that they denounce in no uncertain terms this blatant water grab.


Adrian 2/15/12 1:51 PM
This article has informed me only that there is a bill, and that the bill has supporters who say positive things, and opponents who say things negative things.


Corey Cate 2/15/12 1:54 PM
The Central Valley has gotten the lion's share for a long long time. The honorable Costa forgets time and money and the vast quantity of product that has resulted from the subsided water that has been part and parcel of the profit and growth of the area he represents... OR he conveniently forgets the ecological disaster downstream that has been ALSO part of the result over time, due to profit of Central Valley agricultural business and the merits of success. NO ONE I KNOW bemoans the success of the food producing industries, but they do bemoan the impacts to others, and insolent obstruction of facts when it comes to true costs and true damage. The cost of food is part of the equation, but the cost of damaged rivers and the health of Californians must be recognized in any legitimate dialog. Nunes or Birmingham are not what I would call good at dialogue. They are good at getting what they want and making others pay for their benefit.


calvin smith 2/20/12 7:40 AM
Trying to understand how this hurts delta farmers when the water will continue to flow by their irrigation pumps as it travels to the State/Federal pumps near Tracy. Is the water somehow unavailable for diversion? I thought the Delta farmers had riparian rights?














  • How to compete against Wal-Mart
  • Stockton mom turns a need into a business
  • The entrepreneur is in
  • Writing her own success story
  • Growing a small business the family way
  • The future pencils positive for this company
  • Niche marketing -- Italian style
  • Sipping success with niche marketing
  • Roasting a business out of his passion
  • Success as an independent consultant takes more than expertise
  • Avoiding the traps of employee law violations
  • Cracking the voice-over market
  • The American Dream realized, one package at a time
  • Female winemaker plunges into business
  • A new take on nurse education
  • Family sees moving business success
  • STEM thrives in pockets of education innovation
  • STEM goes solar in Stockton
  • Quick! There’s a robot in my pool
  • Retiring seniors can mean new business
  • Predawn biotech class trains next generation of science workers
  • Staying ahead of the competition the old fashioned way
  • Central Valley sees mismatch between high-tech jobs and job seekers
  • STEM starts young
  • Get ready – the future is here now
  • STEM Education: Growing the Valley's Future
  • They’re low power in wattage only, not ideas
  • Thinking success spawns Successful Thinkers
  • Small business success can mean finding the right niche
  • This franchise has real muscle behind it
  • Getting the scoop on small business success
  • Reshoring could rebuild America's manufacturing
  • Marketing that’s deliberately anchored to the past
  • Guitar artist plays his way to success
  • Paralysis no handicap for this entrepreneur
  • Boost sales with better communication
  • Making sandwiches sexy with a franchise
  • Going solar without spending a lot of money
  • They’re cute and cuddly. But are they a business?
  • Opportunity sails forth in the Delta
  • How bad etiquette on the job could kill your career
  • Growing their way out of hunger and poverty
  • Finding small business success from floor to ceiling
  • Why he’s public enemy #1 – for gophers
  • Running a home-based business successfully
  • Your boss needs a vacation – really
  • Couple makes transition from big corporations to small business
  • Carving a small business niche with a better idea
  • Calm is the goal of computer service and education franchisor
  • Developer squeezing new life into downtown with juice franchise
  • Signs of a recovering economy
  • How to keep a family business in the family
  • Ford dealership expands despite the Great Recession
  • Utility Telephone connects with customer service
  • Crowdfunding basics
  • The roar from crowdfunding is getting louder
  • California water wars’ bulldog
  • Water wars heat up in California
  • Helping businesses grow with a stronger STEM
  • How to retain your best employees
  • Small business runs success up the pole
  • Winery expands in Lodi
  • Lodi wineries tapping into growing Chinese market
  • Has the jobs picture brightened for the Valley for 2012?
  • The right education will be needed for 21st Century jobs
  • Where new jobs for San Joaquin will come from
  • Developing jobs for San Joaquin – Part 2
  • Developing jobs for San Joaquin
  • Fruits of his labor
  • Helping grow food security in the Valley of plenty
  • Doing a business turnaround despite the recession
  • Keeping customers loyal helps build her business
  • Expo exposes businesses to utility contracting ideas
  • Drink mix maker taps expertise to blend success
  • Entrepreneur finds success in a basket
  • Tips for catching resume fraud
  • There’s no checking out for this small business owner
  • Entrepreneurs take Valley sports play-by-play to the world
  • Starting a winery from scratch
  • Job hunting tips for the long-term unemployed
  • In the Central Valley, opera isn’t always the Grand Ole Opry
  • Branding ideas for small businesses
  • The ump’s not blind, but the players are
  • Finding success by tapping your brain in a new way - Part Two
  • Finding success by tapping your brain in a new way
  • Machines talking to machines is the future
  • Getting involved in the fight against AIDS
  • Franchised divorce says it’s a better way
  • Small business owner is brewing a success story
  • To beat the Great Recession, they’ve expanded
  • Taking a swing at strokes
  • Alert your taste buds – here comes Taste of San Joaquin
  • This franchise has real muscle behind it
  • Passion for his city drives him
  • Vicente Fox speaks out on U.S.-Mexico relations
  • Give your support staff recognition and reap top performance
  • Central Valley baker gets top honors for Royal Wedding pie
  • Asparagus Festival ends on high note
  • Stockton close to annual ‘tipping’ point
  • Framing small business success
  • Small business sees Affordable Care Act helping its bottom line
  • What you eat – and when – helps local restaurants
  • Coping with the aftermath of foreclosure
  • How to raise charming children
  • Central Valley grad school goes all-iPads
  • Solution to Delta water wars voiced
  • Making sure your personal bottom line is covered
  • Small California winemaker is all family
  • Small winery relies on family and innovation to compete
  • Central Valley company says it has a better way to store solar power
  • What’s wrong -- and right -- about local TV news
  • What planning means to small business success
  • Making the leap to small business
  • Out of work at middle age? Experts offer advice
  • Small business marketing, one article at a time
  • Congress on your corner as it’s supposed to be
  • Central Valley city’s heritage rediscovered
  • Central Valley school is building students’ foundations
  • Job tips from the expert
  • Long-term jobless worker re-invents himself
  • Building a new power plant means jobs for Central Valley
  • Sacramento reaches for the stars with new science center
  • Lodi Chamber opens China’s doors to small business
  • Writing books for fun – and sometimes profit
  • Black Friday shopping? How to protect yourself from scams
  • California winemakers can find added rewards overseas
  • Wine makers tap overseas markets from Lodi
  • A new revenue stream for Central Valley small businesses
  • Food bank seeks more business support
  • Tips for finding a job in the Great Recession
  • State may solve some of its prison woes with new Stockton facility
  • A solution to underwater mortgages
  • Should public libraries be managed by private firms?
  • Central Valley moves ahead with critical water project
  • Dee Dee Myers and the increasing impact of women on small business
  • How women are growing their small businesses
  • A market with a mission
  • Retailer 'paints' solutions to cash flow challenge
  • An answer for the unemployed – return to school
  • A ‘golden’ small business success story
  • Central Valley winegrapes blessed
  • Rubbing out the recession with a franchise
  • Surviving the recession as a small business
  • It’s personal, union says of Stockton fire cuts
  • How old it too old to start a new business?
  • They've found the recipe for small business success
  • MBA students help revive Central Valley farmers market
  • Classic wooden yachts anchor in Stockton for weekend
  • Foreclosures, short sales – a bank president comments
  • The strength of family helps this small business compete
  • Festival spears success in Central Valley
  • Social media helps keep family business prospering
  • Central Valley students get training in ‘green’ futures
  • Knives readied as Valley cities slash services
  • Central Valley jobless picture still grim
  • Delta residents told to ready for water war
  • Opportunities outlined for Central Valley small businesses
  • Rewiring your brain for success
  • Central Valley no longer ‘shell shocked’ by recession
  • To fix California’s government, look to London
  • Taking your sales pitch to the next level