Bi-Partisan Support for Salas’ Key Water Bills

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Bills to help locals with technical support for water delivery and groundwater management plans

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Rudy Salas’ (D-Bakersfield) Assembly Bill (AB) 935, AB 937 and AB 1201 - unanimously passed the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee.

“We are in one of the worst droughts in California’s history,” said Assemblymember Salas. “We need to do whatever is necessary to increase water delivery, ensure our groundwater is sustainable, and see that our local water districts have the support and resources to make sure we have clean drinking water for our valley.”

These bills take a practical approach to solving some of California’s key water concerns, including: ensuring sustainable groundwater practices and increasing water delivery while protecting the environment for Central Valley families and farms.

Specifically, AB 935 would provide funding for the planning, design, and construction of a local and regional conveyance project, to move water to and from the state and federal water delivery systems. This project would help increase water availability and expedite deliveries of surplus water in wet years to groundwater and banking facilities.

“This project will give us the flexibility we need to move water East and West within our region,” said Mario Santoyo of the Friant Water Authority. “I applaud Assemblymember Salas for doing all he can to deliver us the water that we so desperately need.”

AB 937 would require the Department of Water Resources to provide technical assistance to disadvantaged communities so they may participate in groundwater planning, included regional groundwater banking.

“Small, disadvantaged communities are feeling the brunt of this devastating drought,” said Omar Carrillo, Senior Policy Analyst for Community Water Center. “As such, we applaud Assemblymember Salas' efforts to create targeted technical assistance aimed at helping those most in need to protect their water supplies and participate in local groundwater planning efforts.”

AB 1201 would require the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop a science-based plan to help address predation of native endangered species in the Delta.

Kathleen Cole from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California expressed her support for AB 1201 before the Committee. “There’s much we don't know about threats to native fisheries in the Delta.  But one thing is clear, the native species will have a tougher time surviving if we ignore the non-native predators that are eating them.  We continue to believe that a comprehensive solution is necessary to improve the Delta ecosystem, one that addresses climate, toxics, operations and predation of the very species we are trying to protect.”

"Predation on native endangered salmon and delta smelt is a critical factor in the ongoing decline of the Bay-Delta estuary,” said Michael Boccadoro, Coalition for a Sustainable Delta. “Addressing this issue is critical not only for species recovery and survival but also for the farms, farm workers, residents and businesses who depend on the delta for their water."

“Enhancing our water availability and protecting our limited groundwater resources is vital for the valley’s future,” concluded Assemblymember Salas.

Assemblymember Salas represents part of the City of Bakersfield, the cities of Arvin, Avenal, Corcoran, Delano, Hanford, Lemoore, McFarland, Shafter, Wasco, and the communities of Armona, Buttonwillow, Home Garden, Kettleman City, Lamont, Lost Hills, Stratford and Weedpatch.