Lessons Learned 25 Years After Landmark California Water Reform Law

News Deeply –

California’s most important  federal water reform law – the Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA) – celebrated its 25th anniversary on October 30. The landmark law, signed by President George H.W. Bush, was a historic effort to protect and restore California’s wetlands, rivers, migratory waterbirds, salmon and other fish species, and also to promote more sustainable water supplies for a drought-prone state.

Before the CVPIA’s passage in 1992, Central Valley rivers, wetlands and salmon runs had been severely damaged by the construction and operation of the federal Central Valley Project (CVP), a water system including 20 dams and 500 miles of canals.

The CVPIA was an ambitious effort to move toward balanced and sustainable water policy. A quarter century later, it’s instructive to review the impact of this legislation, what we’ve learned and what these lessons suggest for future efforts to protect wildlife and natural areas.

Let’s begin with some of the CVPIA’s ambitious provisions.

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