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California congressmen introduce bill to increase water storage

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This month, the Waterfowl Advocate spoke to Reps. John Garamendi (CA-3) and Doug LaMalfa (CA-1) about the bipartisan Sacramento Valley Water Storage and Restoration Act of 2014 they introduced to help provide more water storage in the midst of California’s drought. 

DU: Tell us about the need for water storage in northern California. How does your Sites reservoir help?

Rep. LaMalfa: It’s a dire need obviously. We have a record drought going on right now and the needs of California keep growing with more and more population, environmental needs and needs we’d like to maintain for agriculture, urban manufacturing, et cetera. So we’ve been on the case this year to make something happen about that.

Rep. Garamendi: The Sites reservoir is absolutely crucial. Droughts are common in California; we know we’re going to have another drought. You [would be] storing almost 2 million acre feet [of water] behind Sites reservoir. That water would be available, not all of it, but a good portion would be available for the rice industry, the other agriculture areas, and for the ducks that are going to show up in another seven months. So it’s not there now, but it’ll be there for the next drought.

DU: How will waterfowl and other wildlife benefit from reservoirs like Sites?

Rep. Garamendi: Sites reservoir is a major storage facility. I suppose there will be ducks on the reservoir, but more important, that water would be available for the environmental purposes of the Sacramento Valley and maybe even into the San Joaquin Valley. That water would flow back into the river and be there for the agriculture, the rice and that’s a direct benefit.

Rep. LaMalfa: If you have a yield of anywhere between 1.2 million acre feet or more of water available for any purpose, it’s going to be of benefit. Part of that will go to wildlife, you know it is. Whether it’s keeping rice fields full, and we have half a million acres of rice in California, that’s one of the best habitats [for waterfowl] coexisting with the economic factors of growing food so it’s a plus all the way around. There’s no way it can’t be good for wildlife of any type.

Watch the full video interview on the DU YouTube channel

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