BAKERSFIELD – Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015, on a bipartisan vote. The Kern County Water Agency (Agency) congratulates the bill’s authors and sponsors, Congressmen David Valadao (R-Hanford) and Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) on this significant step toward improving Kern County’s water supplies. Next, H.R. 2898 will move to the Senate for consideration.
The combination of drought and overly aggressive regulations have left Kern County and most of the state with little ability to improve water supplies. If passed into law, H.R. 2898 will restore some of that ability. The bill would increase the use of science-based monitoring and decision-making to allow federal and State agencies to move more water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in a way that continues to protect endangered fish species, which would benefit Kern County families, farms and businesses. The Agency believes every member of Congress should be able to support this type of balance.
“H.R. 2898 provides the best chance for Kern County to improve its water supplies during this extreme drought,” said Ted Page, Kern County Water Agency Board of Directors President. “We’d like to thank Congressmen Valadao and McCarthy for their leadership in developing and passing the bill. Kern County has prepared for extended droughts by developing a groundwater banking system that allows the storage of water in wet years for use in dry years. However, recent environmental regulations have worsened the effects of the drought by depleting those underground water supplies. H.R. 2898 gives the Agency a fighting chance to regain some of that lost water,” added Page.
The Agency applauds the success of Congressmen Valadao and McCarthy, and their colleagues, in getting H.R. 2898 passed, but there is still a long way to go in the Senate. The Agency is ready to provide any technical assistance necessary to assist Congress in reaching a compromise for the President’s signature.
The Kern County Water Agency (Agency) was created in 1961 by a special act of the State Legislature and serves as the local contracting entity for the State Water Project. The Agency, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011, participates in a wide scope of management activities, including water quality, flood control and groundwater operations to preserve and enhance Kern County’s water supply—the main ingredient for the well-being of an economy.