President Signs Rep. Jeff Denham’s Water Storage Legislation

President signs Denham Water Storage Legislation

News Release Edited By Patrick Cavanaugh

 President Donald Trump signed into law recently legislation written by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) to authorize financing of new water storage projects as part of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (WRDA).

 “With the signing of this bill into law, we are bringing water home to the Valley,” Denham said. “I’ve been fighting since day one in Washington to build more water storage for our farmers and neighbors. Today, we celebrate future generations having access to the water they need and deserve.”

 Denham’s New WATER Act provides financing for water projects throughout the western United States, including new reservoirs, below ground storage projects, recycling, and desalination projects. For Sites Reservoir alone, this policy will save hundreds of millions of dollars in construction costs and significantly lower prices for water users.

Rep. Jeff Denham

In California and across the west, this means billions of dollars saved as we build the necessary infrastructure to capture the plentiful run-off from the Sierras, which can be used to irrigate the Valley and save for the dry years. During the rains of 2017, we saw how our inadequate storage quickly filled reservoirs, wasting water, and led to flooding and levee breaches—issues Denham secured language for in the WRDA bill.

Additionally, the bill enhances long-delayed and badly needed local flood protection for more than 50,000 Valley residents. Rep. Denham hosted the highest ranking civilian responsible for water infrastructure in the Army Corps of Engineers, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Rickey “R.D.” James, in Manteca recently to ensure quick completion of ongoing construction and prioritization of the projects in the bill.

The Army Corps is responsible for managing these projects, and R.D. James saw firsthand how critical water infrastructure is in Stanislaus and San Joaquin County, including the levees near Manteca that were breached in 2017. These levees are currently being restored with federal funding.

To build upon these infrastructure improvements, additional Denham language in the WRDA bill makes additional levee authorizations in San Joaquin County eligible for federal resources to protect our communities. Denham also included language to expedite the feasibility study of the Mossdale Tract, or Reclamation District 17, which includes the French Camp veterans treatment facility.

STATEMENT FROM CALIFORNIANS FOR WATER SECURITY

Californians for Water Security issued the following statement in response to the drought relief package announced today by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, and Republican Leaders Senator Bob Huff and Assembly member Kristin Olsen.

The following quote can be attributed to Robbie Hunter, President, State Building & Construction Trades Council of California:

“Today’s announcement shows the serious problems California faces in the midst of this historic and unrelenting drought. While the steps presented today would deal with the immediate drought, we also need to create long-term solutions to the systemic problems stemming from the state’s aging and sorely inadequate water distribution infrastructure. Our current system cannot accommodate the state’s current population, let alone expected increased demands of the future.

“That’s why we must move forward with implementing the plan to update and modernize California’s water distribution system through the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). There’s no time to waste. This plan will help us prepare for future droughts by using the water we have more efficiently and building a modern water distribution system that allows us to better move and capture water in rainy years. It will also address the severe vulnerabilities inherent in our state’s outdated water infrastructure, including the threat of earthquakes and floods.”

The plan was drafted after nearly a decade of extensive expert review, planning and scientific and environmental analysis by the state’s leading water experts, engineers and conservationists. It is the only viable plan supported by leading scientists, water agencies, engineers and other experts.

The BDCP plan will:
– Improve the safety of our water system by fixing aging infrastructure using the most innovative technologies and engineering practices.
– Protect water supplies by delivering them through a modern water pipeline rather than relying solely on today’s deteriorating levee system.
– Build a water delivery system that is able to protect our water supplies from earthquakes, floods and natural disasters.
– Improve the ability to move water in wet years to water storage facilities throughout the state so we can capture it for use in dry years.
– Restoring habitat and more natural water flows above ground in rivers and streams in order to reduce impacts on endangered fish and other wildlife.
– Build a water system that can reliably deliver water to people and businesses, while also protecting water supplies for the environment, fish and wildlife.

About Californians for Water Security:
CWS is a new and growing coalition of residents, business leaders, labor, family farmers, local governments, water experts, environmentalists and others who support the plan to fix California’s broken water distribution system through the implementation of the BDCP, which was drafted after nearly a decade of scientific review and analysis by leading water experts and conservationists and has received input from leading scientists and engineers. The coalition is waging an active advertising, grassroots lobbying, social media and public advocacy campaign to support this important project to fix our aging water distribution infrastructure and improve water reliability and security throughout the state.

For information on Californians for Water Security, visit: www.watersecurityca.com