Enhancing water supply and quality
During 2014, Farm Bureau:
- Played a leading role in the coalition of business, labor and agricultural groups that encouraged California voters to pass the water bond, Proposition 1, which will lead to investments in new water storage.
- Ensured that new state groundwater-management laws included strong language to protect water rights, and advocated for other provisions to make the laws less burdensome.
- Sponsored successful state legislation to add flexibility to water use, by allowing a livestock pond to be registered both for domestic and irrigation purposes.
- Advocated for federal action on new water storage and emergency drought measures for California.
- Urged the state water board to respect water rights and to curtail post-1914 rights only on the basis of due process and sound flow data; created a special webpage to keep members informed on the curtailment process.
- Worked with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to delay electric rate changes that could have hampered effective groundwater management.
- Filed a court brief challenging a decision that would give wildlife agencies unfettered and unpredictable control over water project operations to accommodate delta smelt, regardless of economic damage.
- Took the lead in identifying costs of compliance with new regional water-quality standards, to help regulators understand the impact on farmers and ranchers.
- Engaged actively in the work of an expert panel that assessed existing agricultural nitrate-control programs and developed regulatory recommendations that would be less onerous while protecting water quality.
- Defended the constitutionality of a section of the state Water Code that allows a water district to charge lower groundwater extraction rates for agricultural uses than for municipal and industrial uses.
- Worked with the federal Risk Management Agency to make farmers eligible for drought assistance for crop losses suffered as the result of water shortages caused by government regulatory decisions.