For Bakersfield Congressman and House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, this season's most treasured gift in California's Central Valley may be a precious commodity: Water.
In an op-ed sent to 23ABC News on Friday, McCarthy laid out the reasons he supported S. 612, known as the "Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act" (WIIN Act):
Californians are getting a long-awaited present just in time for the holidays this year: water.Years of careful, diligent, and at times contentious negotiations between all sides of the California water issue and in both the House and Senate yielded the largest reforms to our state's water policy in almost a generation. These reforms were made law last week.With this historic law, our state can better take advantage of winter storms, and enough additional water could flow to potentially supply the yearly water needs for 446,000 California households of four. It will allow development of water storage projects to store up to an additional 1.5 million acre-feet, or nearly 489 billion gallons of water. More water can now be pumped to seize water following storms, leaving behind the days of unfettered loss to the ocean. Also included in the law are provisions promoting water desalination, recycling, conservation and efficiency, as well as rejuvenating the Delta smelt and Chinook salmon populations.The impacts of this law will reach far beyond the Central Valley and the California state line. Americans everywhere may not feel it immediately, but our food security - especially in the produce section - has been strengthened.This is a win-win for our community and environmental stewardship. While there is much yet to be done, this legislation represents a harbinger of hope not just for our Central Valley communities, farmers and families whom unnecessary regulatory burdens have harmed, but also for the end of gridlock that has gripped Washington for the past decade and made it difficult for commonsense solutions to be enacted into law. I look forward to building upon this success in the future as the tides change in Washington and to provide more water relief to California in the years ahead.