BRANDED: Severe drought threatens America's farmers & food supply

May 18, 2022
Severe drought threatens America's farmers & food supply
By Rep. David Valadao (CA-21)

I’m proud to represent the farmers that feed the world. With less than one percent of our country’s farmland, the Central Valley supplies a quarter of our Nation’s food. Our well-deserved reputation as America’s breadbasket comes from the help of nature, and a whole lot of hard work and skill from our farmers, ranchers, and producers.
 
But without water, we can’t grow our nation’s food at all. 
 
The severe drought throughout the American West has been negatively impacting my constituents and local community for years. In the Central Valley, our farmers have had to turn to pumping groundwater to protect their high value crops. Towns have been forced to pump more and more groundwater to meet their community’s needs. Burdensome environmental overregulation has restricted available water and prevented aquifers from replenishing their supply. As a lifelong dairy farmer, I have experienced firsthand the challenges and frustrations surrounding the drought.
 
We can’t make it rain, and we can’t produce water. We have to work with the water we already have and apply commonsense solutions to make this water available to the communities doing everything possible to survive these conditions. I worked with republicans and democrats to get the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act signed into law in 2016. This bill increased operational flexibility for the Central Valley Project and State Water Project, and authorized millions of dollars for important water infrastructure projects.
 
The WIIN Act was critical in combating this detrimental drought to ensure families in rural communities and our farms in the Central Valley have access to clean, reliable water. The authorities under the WIIN Act expired in 2021, and I’ve introduced legislation that would renew the storage and operations provisions of Subtitle J and extend the authorization of appropriations for water storage projects. We need to pass this bill to provide relief for our agricultural producers, rural communities, and everyone feeling the impacts of the drought.
 
If we don’t work together in a bipartisan manner, and all look for ways to alleviate the consequences of this disaster, our entire country, not just those immediately impacted by drought conditions, will feel the consequences. Food prices are at a record high, and people are struggling to put food on the table. The ongoing war in Ukraine is destabilizing worldwide agricultural commodity production. Experts are warning about the very real possibility of a global food shortage. Now more than ever, we need to do everything in our power to support our domestic farmers, ranchers, and producers to provide much needed stability to our global food supply.  
 
Making sure our agriculture producers have access to safe, clean, and reliable water is critical. The impact of the Western drought will be felt nationwide if we don’t fix the complex and contradictory laws, court decisions, and regulations and improve water storage infrastructure to bring more water to the people who grow our nation’s food.
 
The livelihoods of my constituents and our global food supply depend on it.

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