Today’s water supply announcement from the federal Central Valley Project shows the resiliency of nature and the limitations of California’s water supply system, according to the president of the California Farm Bureau Federation. After a wintertime recovery in precipitation, CFBF President Paul Wenger said “it’s a shame” the CVP can’t assure full water supplies to all of its customers.
“Just look at the numbers,” Wenger said. “The Sierra snowpack stands at 186 percent of average. Most key reservoirs hold higher-than-average supplies for the time of year. If the CVP can’t assure full supplies to all of its customers this year, what would be needed for that to happen?
“We understand this is a fish-first system now,” he continued, “because federal fisheries agencies have the first and last call on CVP water. We know the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act that Congress passed last year will help. But we obviously need to take further action to modernize our water system, our laws and our policies.
“One wet year won’t erase our long-term surface water deficit, and the current fish-first policies have also harmed groundwater supplies—an impact that is both serious and inexcusable.
“Farm Bureau remains committed to achieving a water system that benefits both our environment and our economy. We believe that can be achieved and we believe we can learn from wet years such as this one as well as from dry years. We will continue to work with elected representatives and agency officials with that goal in mind.”
The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of more than 48,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.