SLDMWA Statement on Senate Bill 1

The following is a statement by
San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority Executive Director Federico Barajas
On Senate Bill 1, California Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2019


Los Banos, CA – “On the last day of this year’s legislative session, time ran out for parties on both sides to come together and forge a reasonable compromise for the benefit of California’s people and the environment. Our hope now is that the Governor will make the right decision to veto Senate Bill 1 with instructions for the Legislature to bring it back to his desk after more work.

“Public water agencies throughout California have expressed concern over their future ability to deliver water to farms, urban water users, the high-tech industry, and wetlands on managed wildlife areas.

“The critical element in SB 1 for farmers, urban water users and wildlife refuges in the San Joaquin and Silicon Valleys, is language that would make it impossible to adopt a set of Voluntary Agreements. These agreements are intended to provide sufficient water management flexibility to increase stream flows, further fund habitat improvements and restore threatened and endangered fish populations.

“SB 1 now creates an impossible roadblock on the path toward adopting the Voluntary Agreements, and ends the commitment to use new science for water management and species protection.

“Continuing to operate California’s water system under regulations that were originally instituted more than 10 years ago using decades-old science will be destructive to the state, regardless of what happens at the federal level.

“SB 1 also jeopardizes the timely and successful implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which requires California groundwater basins to be sustainably managed within the next 20 years. Making surface water deliveries more difficult under SB 1 means that SGMA’s water management goals will increase the harm to the communities served by the Authority’s member agencies and throughout California.

“Water users within the Authority service area are committed to efficient water management. Our diverse set of customers, from farms, high-tech businesses in the Silicon Valley, and critical wildlife refuges, require sustainable water supplies to meet their needs. SB 1, if implemented, will destabilize the water supplies our people need, leaving a wake of economic hardship and environmental uncertainty in its path. That’s why the Governor must get this right and send this back to the Legislature for additional refinement.”

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The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority serves 28 member public agencies, 26 of which contract with Reclamation for water supply from the CVP. These agencies deliver water to approximately 1.2 million acres of farmland, 2 million California residents, and millions of waterfowl dependent upon the nearly 200,000 acres of managed wetlands within the Pacific Flyway.

Banta-Carbona ID, Broadview WD, Byron Bethany ID, Central Calif. ID, City of Tracy, Columbia Canal Co. (a Friend), Del Puerto WD, Eagle Field WD, Firebaugh Canal WD, Fresno Slough WD, Grassland WD, Henry Miller RD #2131, James ID, Laguna WD, Mercy Springs WD, Oro Loma WD, Pacheco WD, Panoche WD, Patterson ID, Pleasant Valley WD, Reclamation District 1606, San Benito County WD, San Luis WD, Santa Clara Valley WD, Tranquillity ID, Turner Island WD, West Side ID, West Stanislaus ID, Westlands WD