Last week Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) introduced legislation aimed at providing more than $750 million to restore California’s water delivery infrastructure and repair aging roads and bridges.
Senate Bill 559, State Water Resiliency Act of 2021, will fund repairs to the Friant-Kern Canal, Delta-Mendota Canal, San Luis Canal and California Aqueduct – California’s main state and regional water conveyance infrastructure.
“An investment made in the Central Valley and California’s water infrastructure is an investment made for the Nation and all Californians,” said Senator Hurtado. “This investment is critical for our country’s food supply chain, public health and ultimately the livelihoods of our farmworkers and families in rural communities. Restoring this infrastructure is essential to withstanding the long-lasting impacts of climate change while delivering clean, reliable, affordable water for hundreds of disadvantaged communities across California.”
Parts of the State Water Project (SWP) and Central Valley Project (CVP) infrastructure have lost anywhere between 15-60 percent of their carrying capacity over time due to subsidence – resulting in an additional $15-30 million per year in higher operational and power costs, damaging infrastructure and threatening water supply for millions of people, farms and businesses at a time when we need it most.
“Let’s face it, our climate is changing,” said Jennifer Pierre, General Manager of the State Water Contractors. “As we seek to increase our resiliency to climate change, restoring the capacity of California’s water conveyance systems will help to secure our state’s limited water resources, both now and into the future.”
According to a statement on the Senator’s website, SB 559 would:
- Provide affordable, clean water to at least 31,000,000 people in the state, including approximately 1,250,000 people living in disadvantaged communities served by the CVP and 3/4 of all disadvantaged communities that receive some or all of their water from the SWP.
- Irrigate nearly 2,500,000 acres of farmland that receive water from the CVP and over 750,000 acres of farmland that receive water from the SWP.
- Maintain the state’s $3-trillion-dollar (2019) economy, protect thousands of jobs annually and create hundreds of new state jobs each year.
- Bolster California’s resilience to the impacts of climate change by helping local public water agencies to develop additional sources of water supplies, recharge groundwater basins, generate renewable energy and reduce reliance on water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in dry years.
- Support critical habitat and ecosystem restoration efforts already underway to protect California’s threatened and endangered species.