California Republican Rep. David Valadao, who lives on his family's dairy farm in central California, says he's concerned that a new agreement to curb the use of the Colorado River could lead indirectly to higher water prices for producers in his district.  

On Monday, three lower basin states reached an agreement to conserve 3 million acre-feet of water from the Colorado River. Arizona, Nevada and California put forth a water conservation plan that extends until 2026.

California alone agreed to conserve 1.6 million acre-feet of water. The agreement would only directly affect growers in the Imperial Valley, well south of the San Joaquin Valley and Valadao's 22nd District, which stretches from Tulare to Bakersfield.

But speaking on this week’s Agri-Pulse Newsmakers, he said the Colorado River agreement could ultimately add pressure on water resources in his district, especially for farmers.

“As they lose some of that Colorado River going into Southern California, they'll start to look for other places to take water from and compete with us,” said Valadao.

In January, Valadao reintroduced the WATER for California Act, which aims to “provide long-term water supply and regulatory reliability to drought-stricken California.” Speaking to Agri-Pulse, Valadao said the bill was needed for long-term water certainty in the state.

“We need to invest more infrastructure. We need more water storage and some of that is going to be reservoirs, some of that's going to be below-ground storage, that's going to be rules and regulations that allow us to move water through the Delta,” Valadao said.

The California delegation has long been at odds over how to manage the state’s limited water resources. With the divide along party lines, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has previously proposed differing legislation on water storage and long-term management.

Dennis Nuxoll, vice president of federal government affairs for Western Growers, also appeared on the program and said he suspects managing the waterway will be a reoccurring issue for stakeholders. 

“I think everybody concedes that, you know, in two or three or four years we're going to have to come back and do another round of this,” Nuxoll said.

Although it took time, Nuxoll said a voluntary agreement stemming from the states in the watershed was the right move.

“All of us want state governments to engage with each other to come up with voluntary solutions rather than having the federal government impose a solution,” Nuxoll said.

This week’s Agri-Pulse Newsmakers, which also features a discussion about agricultural labor research with Sara Neagu-Reed, director of advocacy and government affairs with AmericanHort, can be viewed on

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