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California's 40th District

Mar 7, 2021 | In The News

WASHINGTON — Rep. Mike Garcia introduced a bill Wednesday to extend the bipartisan California water provisions of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act through fiscal year 2028.

Garcia’s bill would enact a seven-year extension for critical water supply provisions in the WIIN Act and thus improve California’s access to water.

The bill is co-sponsored by the entire House Republican California delegation — Kevin McCarthy (23rd District), Doug LaMalfa (First), Tom McClintock (Fourth), Jay Obernolte (Eighth), David Valadao (21st), Devin Nunes (22nd), Young Kim (39th), Ken Calvert (42nd), Michelle Steel (48th) and Darrell Issa (50th)

In the past five months, California has had below average precipitation and will likely continue the dry trend throughout the year. These indicators pointing to an upcoming critically dry year makes ensuring Californians’ access to water particularly essential.

“We must ensure that the critical California water provisions in the WIIN Act do not expire, which is why I am proposing a reauthorization of these provisions through  fiscal year 2028,” said Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, who represents the 25th District, which includes much of the Antelope Valley.

“These provisions ensure that California has the storage capabilities and operational flexibility necessary to provide Californians the access to water they deserve and need. Allowing these provisions to expire would put the state at great risk during future droughts. California has experienced its fifth straight month of below average precipitation, setting the stage for what is likely to be a critically dry year for California and making this bill more important than ever.”

The WIIN Act was the result of a bipartisan deal put into place in 2016 by Republican Leader McCarthy and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, following one of the most severe droughts in the history of California. During the drought, Californians were forced to significantly reduce their water consumption. This reduction in water use caused massive devastation to the state’s economy, and most importantly the agricultural sector.

“California cannot afford to relive the devastation of recent droughts,” Garcia said. “We have to think ahead and maintain these water provisions to prepare for dry years to come.”

McCarthy praised Garcia’s leadership on the issue.

“California Republicans have a reputation of fighting for fair water policies, and our delegation is made stronger through Congressman Mike Garcia’s leadership,” McCarthy said. “Though Mike has been in Congress for less than a year, he understands the critical resource that water plays in our communities and our state’s desperate need for an extension of the California water provisions under the WIIN Act. California is home to one of the most agriculturally rich regions in the world and this bill will help to ensure that our family farmers and agricultural producers and workers – not to mention our communities – receive the water they contract and pay. I am proud to be working with Mike on this very important issue.”

Jeffery Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, said the WIIN Act provides vital funding for projects that help deliver water to millions of Californians.

“Metropolitan appreciates Congressman Garcia introducing legislation to extend these programs that are so critical to the people and businesses of our state,” Kightlinger said.

Dwayne Chisam, general manager of the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency, stressed the importance of maintaining a reliable, high-quality water supply in the face of threats such as drought, climate change and aging infrastructure.

It “requires a comprehensive approach,” Chisam said. “This bill would provide much needed funding for developing water storage and the infrastructure to maximize the use of our valuable water resources.”

Dennis LaMoreaux, general manager of the Palmdale Water District, said his agency supports Garcia’s efforts.

Matt Stone, general manager of Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency, thanked Garcia for “recognizing the importance of investing in the nation’s water infrastructure.

“This legislation will reauthorize important water storage and water recycling programs at the Bureau of Reclamation that benefit SCV Water and its ratepayers,” Stone said, “and this bill will protect public health, promote economic development, and improve the quality of our environment.”

Antelope Valley Press

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