Congressman Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, introduced a bill Wednesday that would extend “critical water supply provisions” in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act for the next seven years in an effort to improve California’s access to water.
On Wednesday, Garcia introduced a bill that would enact a seven-year extension for “critical water supply provisions” in the WIIN Act, which became law at the end of 2016.
“These provisions ensure that California has the storage capabilities and operational flexibility necessary to provide Californians the access to water they deserve and need,” Garcia said in a statement Wednesday. “Allowing these provisions to expire would put the state at great risk during future droughts.”
California has experienced below-average precipitation over the past five months, a trend that is expected to continue throughout the year. Officials say that these indicators point to a critically dry year, making Californians’ access to water particularly essential.
“We would like to thank Congressman Garcia for recognizing the importance of investing in the nation’s water infrastructure,” said Matt Stone, general manager of Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency, in a statement Wednesday. “This legislation will reauthorize important water storage and water recycling programs at the Bureau of Reclamation that benefit SCV Water and its ratepayers, and this bill will protect public health, promote economic development, and improve the quality of our environment.”
The WIIN Act was originally put into place in 2016 by Republican Representative Kevin McCarthy and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein following one of the most severe droughts in the history of California.
During that drought, Californians were forced to significantly reduce their water consumption, causing “massive devastation to the state’s economy, and most importantly the agricultural sector.”
“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 in a statement Wednesday. “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.”
In addition to McCarthy, the bill was co-sponsored by the entire House Republican California delegation.
“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.”
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