SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwire -03/30/12)- The Federal Affairs Committee of the statewide Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) voted today to maintain a "watch" position on H.R. 1837 and form a work group to develop constructive ideas for addressing Endangered Species Act implementation issues.
H.R. 1837, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act, was approved by the House of Representatives on Feb. 29. Authored by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-21) and co-sponsored by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-19) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-22), the bill would make far-reaching changes to California water policy.
Though it has been amended since its initial introduction, the bill remains controversial with ACWA's membership. The decision by the Federal Affairs Committee to maintain a "watch" position but engage on the issue reflects ACWA's strong interest in promoting ways to improve the way the ESA is being implemented, ACWA President Randy Record said.
"The recent debate in Congress revealed sharp differences over how to address our state's long-term water problems," Record said. "Those problems are complex, but one of the key issues is that ESA is not working. There is a constructive role for ACWA to play by engaging in the process and providing specific ideas on how to better administer the ESA."
The committee will convene a work group of members to develop ideas for actions that might be taken on a bipartisan basis to provide assistance to local water agencies and others working to comply with requirements of the ESA while maintaining water deliveries to cities, farms and businesses.
ACWA's Board of Directors has adopted policy principles on ESA implementation that call for a comprehensive, ecosystem-based approach that recognizes the co-equal goals of water supply reliability and ecosystem health and utilizes a much more diverse set of management tools.
ACWA is a statewide association of public agencies whose 440 members are responsible for about 90% of the water delivered in California. For more information, visit www.acwa.com.