The Man-Made California Drought

Dried Crops

California’s San Joaquin Valley is the salad bowl of the world, providing the majority of fruits and vegetables for the entire nation. But, with another man-made drought looming, the San Joaquin Valley is in danger of becoming a dust bowl unless immediate action is taken to change policies that put the needs of fish above the livelihood of people.

House Republicans have a bipartisan, comprehensive solution to end future man-made droughts, bring job and water supply certainty to the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys in California and decrease reliance on foreign food sources.

Get the Facts:

  • California’s water storage and transportation system designed by federal and state governments includes 1,200 miles of canals and nearly 50 reservoirs that provide water to about 22 million people and irrigate about four million acres of land throughout the state.
  • In May 2007, a Federal District Court Judge ruled that increased amounts of water had to be re-allocated towards protecting the Delta smelt – a three-inch fish on the Endangered Species List.
  • Because of this ruling, in 2009 and 2010 more than 300 billion gallons (or 1 million acre-feet) of water were diverted away from farmers in the Central Valley and into the San Francisco Bay – eventually going out into the Pacific Ocean.
  • This man-made drought cost thousands of farm workers their jobs, inflicted up to 40 percent unemployment in certain communities, and fallowed hundreds of thousands of acres of fertile farmland.
  • Unemployment remains at a regional average of 17%. With current precipitation at near-record lows, the same regulations will be imposed pushing unemployment even higher.
  • The Pelosi-led Congress did nothing to reverse the plight of the San Joaquin Valley and even obstructed repeated Republican actions to reverse the situation. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act reflects Republican promises to avoid another man-made drought.

This article was originally posted on the Committee on Natural Resources website, click here to read this feature in its complete version.

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