How vulnerable are Bureau of Reclamation facilities? Dems want to know.

By Jennifer Yachnin | 07/02/2024 01:43 PM EDT

Lawmakers are requesting a Government Accountability Office review following a water theft case in California.

Grand Coulee Dam.

A view of the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington, run by the Bureau of Reclamation. Nicholas K. Geranios/AP

House lawmakers are expressing concern about potential water theft from Bureau of Reclamation facilities, following revelations about a decadeslong heist in California.

House Natural Resources ranking member Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee, asked the Government Accountability Office to open a review of the agency’s operations.

The lawmakers want details about Reclamation’s process for monitoring water data for “water loss and theft across its infrastructure,” including dams, reservoirs, canals and hydroelectric power plants across 17 states.


The congressional inquiry follows federal prosecutors accusing a California water official of stealing an estimated $25 million worth of water from the Central Valley Project’s Delta-Mendota Canal over two decades, as detailed in reporting by the Los Angeles Times.