Rep. Paul Cook Votes to Mitigate California's Drought
WASHINGTON- Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) voted for HR 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act. This bill is designed to mitigate California’s drought by immediately increasing the available water supply and streamlining the federal approval processes to build and improve aging infrastructure. Cook was an original cosponsor of this bill.
This bill immediately increases the amount of available water by updating the pumping regulations of the California Delta, the main source of water collection for the canals and aqueducts that flow to Central and Southern California. The pumping will be increased during the days of high rainfall to capitalize on available water and will maintain a level of pumping that is both safe for the fish of the Delta and the maintenance of the farms of Central and Southern California. This bill commissions regular studies of the delta water composition to ensure it is safe for the native wildlife that call the delta home.
Currently, the Central Valley Project (CVP) and State Water Project (SWP) are in desperate need of modernization and expansion, but they are regulated by multiple federal agencies. The CVP and SWP were originally intended to support 22 million people. Today, California is home to 38 million people and this is expected to double by 2050. This bill puts the Bureau of Reclamation in charge of facilitating project approvals, timelines, and feasibility studies to identify where additional storage sites can be built and where improvements to the existing infrastructure are necessary.
Cook said, “California is facing the worst drought in a century. It’s inexcusable that the Bureau of Reclamation continues to drag its feet on new water storage projects to help capture rain and snow melt and relieve the drought. After years of inaction, it’s past time to complete these vital projects to increase our water storage capacity. In drought-stricken California, humans are the endangered species. California agriculture is vital for keeping our nation’s food supply secure, producing over half of America’s fruits, vegetables, and nuts. We must pass this bill to protect California, bring water to our communities, and maintain California’s role as a vital source of American food production.”