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Westside Growers Will Get To Keep Last Year's Banked Water

Jan 30, 2014

Congressman Jim Costa (D-Fresno) speaks to the media today about California's drought
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Westside farmers who banked excess water last year in San Luis Reservoir anticipating a drought won't have to give it up, according to an announcement today from the US Bureau of Reclamation. 

The farmers had faced the threat of losing that water to other farmers who hold senior water rights, such as the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors. 

The Bureau was facing political bipartisan political pressure against reallocating the water. But the move could leave the door open to lawsuits. 

Congressman Jim Costa says that farmers across the valley need to come together during this drought crisis.

Costa: "We've got to sit down and figure out how we work together. Because the water supply is so desperate right now that suing each other isn't going to bring any more water here to this valley."

Costa also says he's yet to make up his mind on a proposal from his Republican colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives that would change water regulations in the Delta and on the San Joaquin River.