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SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) released a statement after SB 1219— the State Water Resiliency and Modernization Act passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee 5-0:


“California is experiencing a water shortage, one that touches on all aspects of our life,” said Senator Hurtado. “California is home to the fifth largest economy in the world, yet we have a fractured, antiquated water system that is leaving more and more families without access to clean water. Poor water management and lack of investment over the years has left Californians paying more for water, and now they will be getting less. Families will feel the impacts at the grocery store, in their own health, and overall quality of life. We have the ability to lead the world in becoming more water secure but we must acknowledge our deficiencies and aim to do better. The laws of water of the 1890’s don’t make sense today.”


“Coming from a family of farmers, and representing an agricultural community, I know that our drought affects livestock, crops – the food we need to nourish our communities,” said Senator Dave Cortese (D-Silicon Valley.) “While in the midst of our worst drought since the late 1800’s, we must work to tackle the structural and political challenges that exist around water use as well as water shortages. A more resilient agriculture-water system can better sustain itself and serve our most disadvantaged communities that are disproportionately burdened by our drought emergency. With the habitat issues we are witnessing that are caused by extreme drought and climate change, the committee will have a generational opportunity to work with local communities and environmental stakeholders on real reform.”


California’s drought conditions continue to worsen, and every part of the state will be impacted. The state is seeing an increase in water restrictions—in some districts for the first time ever. Approximately 6 million people will be affected by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s recent decision to declare a water shortage emergency and order outdoor usage restrictions.


In Mendocino County, water theft is leaving rivers and streams dry throughout the Russian River waterways. The problem is so serious in one district, there are concerns about the availability of water to fight fires, and locks have been put on fire hydrants to prevent further water loss.


In the Central Valley drought has led to an increase in the price of agricultural production and farmworker job losses, affecting the food system as a whole.


Many towns across California have faced massive water curtailments, and have seen their wells run dry forcing them to jump through hoops and hurdles in order to receive just enough water to live. Safe drinking water and freshwater resources are central to the health of California’s economy and communities


A number of agencies manage California’s water, each have their own individual and disparate responsibilities, and were established many decades ago.  

As California experiences changes in our climate, and has seen an increase in the number of dry years and droughts, there is a need for a 21st Century solution—one that the antiquated agencies have been unable to provide. Adapting to the existing needs, and modernizing the administration of water management to provide adequate solutions to help meet these changes is much needed. 


SB 1219 will prioritize the preservation and sustainability of California’s water systems by creating a water committee that will provide guidance for a more integrated water resource management framework that assesses the whole ecosystem, uses technology, and accounts for all infrastructure needed for efficient water use, flood control, redistribution of water, and preservation of water quality




About Senator Melissa Hurtado


Senator Melissa Hurtado represents a new generation of Latina leaders, as the youngest woman ever elected to the California State Senate and as a product of immigrant parents. Senator Hurtado represents the 14th Senate District and focuses on rural community issues that often go unheard — access to clean air and water, food insecurity and poverty, inequities in environmental policies, agriculture and access to health care. In July 2020, she was appointed to the national Biden Latino Leadership Committee alongside former Labor Secretary and current Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis – the only two California Latinas on the Committee.


For more information, visit Senator Hurtado’s Website here or find her on Twitter at @Senator_Hurtado