Rep. Jim Costa released the following statement following news that over 700,000 acre feet of water had been lost from the slowing of water exports through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31. The supply was drastically reduced in response to reports that 232 Delta smelt had been lost during that time period.

“In a year when we are already facing a tight water supply, the situation has been made even more absurd and devastating to our water users by this regulatory decision,” said Costa. “Had the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and the proposed tunnels been completed, our agricultural water service contractors would not have lost a drop of precious water that could have supplied billions of dollars in economic benefits to the people of our Valley. This is another example of how our water system is broken and in need of a permanent solution.”

(See related: Water cuts slam agriculture, jobs and economy)

“For our region to compete in the 21st Century, we must bring real water reliability to the Valley, and the only way to do that is by completing and implementing the BDCP for our long term water needs. There is no other path forward to protect and grow our economy.”

The Bay Delta Conservation Plan proposed twin intake tunnels that would carry water beneath the Delta to the existing pumping stations south of the Delta. The two tunnels when completed would convey 9,000 cubic feet of water per second.

(See related: Californians must pull on the same oar to address water crisis)