Environment
6:00 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

U.S. Senate Passes Emergency Drought Relief Act

Water levels in the Friant-Kern Canal in early May 2014.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The U.S. senate unanimously passed the Emergency Drought Relief Act Thursday evening. The bill provides federal and state water agencies with additional flexibility to deliver water to the most needy communities affected by California’s historic drought.  

Senator Feinstein released this statement saying:

“The drought in California is devastating and shows no signs of letting up. Snowpack is at 6 percent of its normal level and the state’s largest reservoirs are at or below half capacity. Congress must take immediate action to help alleviate the suffering of farmers, workers, businesses and communities throughout the state.”

The bill includes five key provisions for California that will maximize water supplies while still operating within environmental laws and regulations. Including federal agencies must open Delta Cross Channel Gates for as long as possible while Salmon aren’t migrating, the Bureau of Reclamation is required to monitor turbid water for fish attracted to cloudy  water close to pumps and the movement of voluntary water transfers will remain at a one-to-one ratio through May.

Feinstein says the the next step is  to work with the House to determine what measures can be agree on to improve water supplies.

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