ECPAC Newsletter – April 2021
As the pandemic begins to subside and things open up, the focus in the legislature has turned to the extremely dry conditions and water supplies. We can’t stress enough that 2021 is a very “Critical” Water Year. Water supplies are tight, allocations across the state have been cut back and the scrutiny on water rights is intensifying. This is a time when we need to engage with our urban partners, Legislators, regulators and the public. We need to educate and inform all stakeholders about our water rights system and how important it is to everyone that we preserve this valuable asset. To be most effective, we are working on scheduling legislative visits as well as inviting key elected officials for tours.
Please read below. You will find information on our next Membership Meeting, Federal Program, Resources as well as a Legislative Update from Dominic Dimare, ARC Strategies. We appreciate your support and look forward to moving our efforts forward.
Our next Membership meeting will be Tuesday, May 25th at 6:00 p.m. at the Delta Party Barn. Based on current COVID restrictions, we can safely accommodate fifty people. Reservations are required – please visit https://www.ecwaterpac.com/membership-meeting/ to register. We encourage you to reserve a spot early and guests are welcome. It has been quite some time since we were able to meet in person and enjoy each other’s company. A separate email will be sent once our speaker is confirmed.
Our Federal efforts have never been more critical. In addition to the drought and water cutbacks, there are serious issues on the table impacting water reliability, property rights, climate change initiatives and more. ECPAC needs to raise significant Federal Program funds to address these and other emerging issues. Your financial support allows us to continue to directly support the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors legislative priorities, including water rights, property rights and policymaker education. If you have not yet made a recent contribution or can help again, we urge you to make a Federal contribution today. For ways to give and contribution guidelines, visit https://www.ecwaterpac.com/support/.
If you have not already made your annual contribution, we respectfully ask that you make a Federal donation. Federal contributions are limited to individuals and there is a $5,000 maximum yearly limit; other restrictions apply. For more information, mailing address or online contribution options, visit https://www.ecwaterpac.com/support/.
Your financial support allows us to continue to directly support the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors legislative priorities, including water rights, property rights and policymaker education. The ECPAC is now able to accept contributions online. Visit https://www.ecwaterpac.com/support/ and donate. Contribution guidelines are provided on the online payment form.
By Dominic Dimare, ARC Strategies
There are two bills that we have been following closely. The first is AB 377 (Rivas) State Water Board: impaired waters – OPPOSED:
Assemblyman Rivas presented the bill in the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials on Wednesday April 21. The Exchange Contractors are part of a large coalition of water agencies, local governments and other special distracts that oppose the bill. The coalition believes that there are no amendments that can fix the bill and are seeking to kill the measure outright. While it was a struggle, Assemblyman Rivas was able to scrape together enough votes to move the measure out of committee. His bill passed out on a “courtesy vote” from Assemblyman Muratsuchi who had said that he was opposed to the bill.
The second is SB 559 (Hurtado) Canal Conveyance Capacity Restoration Fund – SUPPORT:
This bill would establish the Canal Conveyance Capacity Restoration Fund in the State Treasury to be administered by Department of Water Resources. The bill would require all moneys deposited in the fund to be expended, upon appropriation by the Legislature, in support of subsidence repair costs, including environmental planning, permitting, design, and construction and necessary road and bridge upgrades required to accommodate capacity improvements. The bill would require the department to expend from the fund, upon appropriation by the Legislature, specified monetary amounts to restore the capacity of 4 specified water conveyance systems, as prescribed, with 2 of those 4 expenditures being in the form of a grant to the Friant Water Authority and to the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority. The bill would make these provisions inoperative on July 1, 2030 and would repeal the provisions as of January 1, 2031.
This measure has its first hearing on April 27 in the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water.
The Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee is holding a hearing on May 5, 2021 on the following subject: Is California Prepared for Another Drought. They are organizing testimony for the hearing and will likely have representatives from agricultural and urban water agencies as well as environmental representatives.