Today, Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) issued the following statement regarding a bi-partisan letter she sent that urges the California Water Commission to prioritize water storage projects in the Central Valley when assessing how to reallocate funds from Proposition 1:
“California is facing a water crisis and a potential food crisis, one that could have been avoided had the California Water Commission invested in water infrastructure,” said Senator Hurtado. “The California Water Commission needs to do the right thing now and ensure voter approved funds are allocated to the disadvantaged farmworker communities who would have been served by Temperance Flat. Water is a human right, and every individual deserves access to clean, reliable water. We can no longer maintain the status quo on water—we must improve and safeguard California’s water systems and invest in additional water storage.”
California is currently in a state of emergency due to drought. As a result, the amount of water allocated to Central Valley farmers has been greatly reduced. California farmers produce two-thirds of the United States fruits and nuts, and one-third of its vegetables, and have had to fallow their fields due to lack of water. This will cause a reduction in the crops yielded, and may lead to a food crisis.
Senator Hurtado is author of SB 559—The State Water Resiliency Act of 2021. This act will allocate $785 million to repairing vital water delivery systems that provide drinking water to communities throughout California and water to sustain the state’s leading agricultural economy. The funds would go to fixing the Friant-Kern Canal, the Delta-Mendota Canal and major portions of the California Aqueduct, all of which have degraded and are losing water as a result of subsidence – the actual shrinking of land.
The Senator is also a co-author of the Water Innovation Act of 2021, which will create the Office of Water Innovation at the California Water Commission-furthering new technologies and other approaches within the water sector. The Senator has also introduced Senate Bill 464, which will expand the eligibility for state funded food benefits to undocumented immigrants, ensuring all residents can access food assistance. Senator Hurtado’s SB 108, which will declare it to be state policy that all people have access to sufficient, healthy food.