Family Water Alliance - Learn more
About Us
Our Issues
Flood Control
You Can Help
Photo Gallery
Contact us
Green Ribbon Reports
Visit the Fish Forum
Green Ribbon Reports

October 2004


On October 6th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2828, a bill authorizing $395 million for the CALFED program. Included in the projects to be specifically funded in the bill is the Family Water Alliance (FWA) Sacramento River Small Diversion Fish Screen Program. CALFED, the state and federal water program designed to address California’s water supply, water quality, levee stability, and environmental problems in the Delta, has prodded along in recent years without federal funding due to lack of authorization from Congress. However, if the bill is signed into law by President Bush, as anticipated, it will, among other things, provide funding to further studies to promote much needed water storage in California.

Much of the debate in regard to the federal funding regarding CALFED centered around the imbalance with which the program had been functioning. Most of the CALFED resources to date have been allocated towards environmental restoration and land acquisitions, while ignoring the negative impacts caused on rural communities within the CALFED solution area (the Sacramento Valley), neglecting the furtherance of water storage, and providing little funding to improve levee stability. This belied the promises that this program would assure that "we all will get better together".

In the summer of 2003, FWA, at the request of Congressman Richard Pombo and Congressman Ken Calvert (authors of HR 2828), testified before a Congressional Subcommittee at a field hearing on these very issues.

What resulted from the field hearings was a bill that requires more balance in the program. The final version of the bill instructs the Secretary of the Interior to annually certify that all aspects of the CALFED Program are moving along together, thus assuring that storage cannot continue to fall by the wayside, otherwise the Secretary is to take steps to remedy the imbalance. What had been proposed by the authors, and unfortunately did not make it into the final version of the bill due to opposition in the Senate, was a mechanism of preauthorization for water storage projects.

FWA greatly appreciates the efforts of Congressman Pombo and Congressman Calvert, which hopefully will result in furthering the goal of new water storage to address the need of increased water supply reliability for agriculture, cities, and the environment.

Moreover, the passage of this bill will enable FWA to continue its Small Diversion Fish Screen Program, which has successfully screened 21 agricultural diversions to date. FWA was recently awarded the 2004 Environmental Stewardship Award by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for this Program, which serves to protect the fishery resource, while simultaneously protecting agricultural operations that rely on small riparian diversions without fear of coming into conflict with the Endangered Species Act.

This is the type of win-win solution that FWA believes promotes "responsible environmentalism", and that the CALFED program was created to foster.

Home | Top