Funding Provided by the Legislature as Part of 2021-22 State Budget is a Down Payment Towards Restoring Conveyance Capacity Amidst Historic Drought & Climate Change Impacts
Sacramento, CA – The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced today that it has initiated a $100 million funding program to restore conveyance capacity to key portions of the California Aqueduct, the San Luis Canal, the Delta-Mendota Canal, and the Friant-Kern Canal that have been lost due to subsidence. This initial $100 million investment reflects the Legislature’s commitment to getting these repairs done for California and aligns with the suite of actions proposed by Governor Newsom in the Water Resilience Portfolio to address the impacts of drought and climate change to the water Californians need to ensure a thriving statewide economy and support ecosystem functions south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta.
This first round of funding included in the 2021-22 state budget came with the promise of another $100 million next year. While Senate Bill 559 (Hurtado), a bill to establish a funding mechanism for subsidence repairs, did not progress to a full vote of the legislature last session, the bill sponsors remain committed to ensuring funding is available to restore these facilities and continuing efforts to pass legislation next session. These four major canal systems are critical to California’s water resiliency – they provide water to 29 million people, 2.9 million acres of farmland, and 130,000 acres of wetlands. Unfortunately, their conveyance capacity has been reduced due to subsidence resulting from groundwater pumping prior to the implementation of the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). This impact has resulted in a 15-60% reduction of design flow capacity and at least $15-30 million per year in higher operational and power costs.
Joint Statement by SB 559 Bill Sponsors “This first $100 million isn’t just an investment in water infrastructure, it is a down payment on California’s future. We know that much more funding is necessary to restore the full capacity of these facilities, and we applaud the Governor and the Legislature’s commitment to responsible investments in California’s future, specifically by doing the necessary work of investing in the current and future viability of the water delivery infrastructure that will always be necessary to meet California’s water needs. While this initial funding will help to leverage federal and local dollars so that repairs can begin, additional funding along with the political will to see it through will be necessary if we are to truly meet the water supply challenges ahead of us. We have learned that droughts and flooding no longer come in cycles, instead they are simply our new normal. This initial funding and the leadership from elected officials like Governor Newsom, State Senator Hurtado and the San Joaquin Valley delegation, and federal officials like Senator Feinstein and Congressman Costa, represent actionable steps California must take if we are to adapt to that new normal and deliver on the promise of clean, affordable water for all.”