FAIRFIELD — The California Constitution is usurped and the state loses control of its water in an emergency water delivery measure, Rep. John Garamendi says – while bill sponsor Rep. Tom McClintock says his legislation protects state water rights and that it’s time to reject the voices of the environmental left that have been listened to for 40 years.
“In California, the Democrats have not only obstructed the construction of new dams for the past 35 years,” said McClintock, R-Elk Grove, “they’ve also actively sought to tear down existing dams.”
Return to proven policies of abundance that produced the prosperity we once enjoyed, he said.
Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, said the congressional bill is an extreme measure and a water theft “wrapped up in a lot of nice words.”
In Congress, on Facebook and during broadcasts, Garamendi, who represents the 3rd Congressional District that includes Solano County, and McClintock, who represents the 4th Congressional District that includes El Dorado and Placer counties, battled over what to do about California’s drought.
McClintock called the state’s drought “nature’s fault” but said the failure to prepare for it is “our fault.”
His legislation, he said during a Capital Public Radio broadcast from Sacramento, is no threat to the California Constitution or the state’s control of its water. The Northern California Water Association, which represents water agencies, supports the measure that restores the Bay-Delta accords of the 1990s, said McClintock. The agreements promised allocations including 800,000 acre-feet of water to the Delta, he said.
An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons, or the amount of water needed to cover one acre with water a foot deep. It’s enough water to serve two California families for a year, according to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
McClintock’s bill also increases water storage capacity. He said 1.6 million acre-feet of water has been taken from Central Valley farmers to protect Delta smelt and that the water was dumped into the Pacific Ocean. The only water his measure would send south are such supplies, McClintock said.
Garamendi said the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Emergency Water Delivery Act will die in the Senate and that the bill delivers water to the Westlands Water District in Fresno but fails to fund storage projects.
“We’re going to need money,” he said – otherwise it’s just a bunch of happy talk.
Garamendi called the legislation, House Resolution 3964, which passed by a vote of 229-191, a “California water grab bill” that would cause massive economic upheaval.
“We should do everything we can to avoid a water war,” he said.
McClintock said talk of a water grab is unwarranted.
“The hyperbole and outright disinformation is absolutely astonishing,” the congressman said.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]