Voluntary Agreements Signed, What’s Next?

On 3/29, California and federal officials announced completion of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the State and Federal government and several water suppliers.  The MOU was signed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency, the CA Department of Water Resources and the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife, State Water Contractors, Kern County Water Agency, Metropolitan Water District, Westlands Water District, Glenn Colusa Irrigation District, Yuba Water Agency, and several other Sacramento Valley districts. Multiple San Joaquin Valley Water contractors did not sign the MOU, including the Friant Water Authority (FWA).  FWA indicated in a press release on Tuesday that, “due to several outstanding issues that remain unresolved, FWA is unable to execute the proposed memorandum of understanding at this time.”  For the full response click here.

The Voluntary Agreements (VA’s) were initiated by the Newsom Administration as an alternative to the State Water Resources Control Board’s flows only proposal in the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan.  The MOU by the signatories is just the first step in a long process that several prominent environmental organizations are already opposed to.  Additional discussions will continue to be had with the non-signatories and additional analysis will occur through the State Water Board’s adoption process that is expected to take multiple years.

CCM will continue to collaborate with water agencies in citrus districts to understand the intricacies of the negotiations and provide lobbying support to preserve water supplies for citrus growers under this agreement.  During a drought stakeholder meeting that CCM had with the Secretaries of CDFA, CNRA, Cal-EPA and the Regional Director of the Bureau of Reclamation, CCM President Casey Creamer stressed that this agreement has a long way to go to bring all the necessary parties to the table and that the time is now for the State and Federal government to seriously invest in water infrastructure to preserve agriculture and the rural communities that rely on us.  Creamer further elaborated that the impacts he expects to see in the Southern part of the State will be dire and that there is plenty of water within the State if we properly invest in storage and rely on updated science.

For more information about CCM’s involvement on this issue and the overall drought relief efforts, please don’t hesitate to contact Casey Creamer by phone at (559) 592-3790 or by email at  casey@cacitrusmutual.com.

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