Republicans introduce SB 890 to fund critical water infrastructure

Republicans introduce SB 890 to fund critical water infrastructure

Senators Jim Nielsen (R-Red Bluff) and Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno) introduced Senate Bill 890 to ensure millions of acre-feet of water is stored during wet years instead of being flushed out to sea.

“In 2014, California voters approved funding to build large, aboveground water storage,” said Senator Nielsen. “Because of bureaucratic red tape and a lack of sufficient funds due to increasing costs, we haven’t even turned a shovel on Sites Reservoir. That’s unconscionable. We have the money to fully fund that reservoir and now’s the time to do it.”

SB 890 advances the goals of Proposition 1 (2014) by making significant investments in California’s aboveground water storage and conveyance infrastructure. Specifically, SB 890 will establish the Water Storage and Conveyance Fund that will provide:

  • $2.6 billion to complete the funding of Sites Reservoir in Colusa County; and
  • $685 million to repair the Friant-Kern/Delta-Mendota Canals and the San Luis Field/San Joaquin Divisions of the California Aqueduct.

“California’s water storage and conveyance challenges transcend partisan divides and have been exacerbated due to the recent drought,” said Senator Borgeas, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee. “Clean, reliable water in California is not only critical to our country’s economy and food supply, but also our national security. Without proper storage and conveyance investments, California cannot continue to lead the nation in food production.”

Completion of Sites Reservoir would ensure an additional 1.5 million acre-feet of water is stored during wet years and made available to cities, farms and the environment during times of drought.

California’s Central Valley canals are in severe need of repair. Canal diversion and conveyance capacity have degraded due to substantial land subsidence caused by regional groundwater overdraft.

For example, the southernmost third of the Friant-Kern Canal has lost 60 percent of its ability to carry water. As a result, farms, cities and rural communities that rely on the canal are losing up to 300,000 acre-feet of water per year in deliveries. Similarly, the diversion capacity of the Delta-Mendota Canal has decreased from 4,600 cubic feet per second to 3,211 cubic feet per second at the terminus.

Read the full text of the bill or track the legislation here.

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