Analysis of H.R. 5781, California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014 [December 11, 2014] [open pdf - 1MB]
"California is experiencing serious water shortages due to widespread drought. Both of the state's large water infrastructure projects, the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) and the State Water Project (SWP), have had to reduce water deliveries in 2014 to the farmers and communities they serve. Dry hydrological conditions, in combination with regulatory restrictions on water being pumped from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Delta confluence with the San Francisco Bay (Bay-Delta) to protect water quality and fish and wildlife, have resulted in water supply cutbacks for CVP and SWP water users throughout their respective service areas and historic cutbacks to senior water rights in some areas. The effects are widespread and are being felt by many economic sectors, including agriculture, urban areas, and fish and wildlife resources. Several bills have been introduced in the 113th Congress to address California water supply and drought in particular. The most recent of these was H.R. 5781, the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014, introduced on December 2, 2014. It contains three titles that aim to increase water supplies for users through approving modifications in water conveyance operations and certain water projects. Under the bill, these actions are to be consistent with existing laws and regulations. It also would aim to protect water rights and existing water allocations for users under certain circumstances, and would aim to prohibit any 'redirected adverse water supply or fiscal impacts.' The proposed legislation would expire on either September 30, 2016, or on the date that the governor of California suspends the state of drought emergency declaration, whichever is later."
CRS Report for Congress, R43820
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html