Drought Legislation (SB 2533)
In her effort to alleviate some of the impacts from the current drought, Senator Feinstein’s bill has caused contention between proponents and environmentalists. Opinions aside, Californians are using more water than nature would produce without a drought. https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/california-has-given-away-rights-far-more-water-it-has
Feinstein’s bill would change Delta cross-channel gate operations in order to maximize pumping. This would impact federally protected juvenile salmon, diverting their path toward the Delta pumps. The loss of this species would also impact the fishing industry and other businesses that rely on this natural resource, as well as the Endangered Species Act. This concern has been raised previously in hearings last fall.
Another contested provision to this bill would raise Shasta Dam. This action would not only harm salmon, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but would also flood sacred cultural sites of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe.
Benefits of this bill would be the implementation of projects integrating water management, recycling, habitat restoration and improved efficiency in agricultural and urban water use as well as water supplies for wildlife refuges.