California may have extended water provisions to prepare for dry years ahead under a new bill introduced by Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita.
The bill, which has not yet received a number, would elongate the authorities under the 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act from Jan. 1 of this year to Jan. 1, 2028, by “providing operational flexibility, drought relief and other benefits to the state.”
“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 in a prepared statement. “These provisions ensure that California has the storage capabilities and operational flexibility necessary to provide Californians the access to water they deserve and need.”
The WIIN Act was signed into law in 2016 after one of the most severe droughts in California resulted in water restriction measures. It authorized vital water projects across the country to restore watersheds, improve waterways and flood control, and improve drinking water infrastructure.
Allowing the provisions to expire would put the state at great risk during future droughts, the congressman added.
California is en route to have a “critically dry year” as the state experiences its fifth consecutive month of below-average snow and precipitation, according to the Department of Water Resources. Water content of the state’s snowpack was 61% of the March 2 average, and 54% of the April 1 average, read the agency’s snow survey released Tuesday.
“As California closes out the fifth consecutive dry month of our water year, absent a series of strong storms in March or April we are going to end with a critically dry year on the heels of last year’s dry conditions,” Department Director Karla Nemeth said in a statement Tuesday. “With back-to-back dry years, water efficiency and drought preparedness are more important than ever for communities, agriculture and the environment.”
The state may not see any water restrictions this year but water conservation is especially encouraged as almost all of the state is in some level of drought, according to Dirk Marks, director of Water Resources with the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency.
The agency is in the process of developing a groundwater sustainability plan, which will be tailored to the resources and needs of the SCV community and must be adopted by January 2022, according to officials.
A virtual workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, March 10, at 4 p.m. To learn more, visit scvgsa.org/sustainable-management-criteria-workshop.