Statement by Federico Barajas, executive director of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority on funding for Jones Pumping Plant upgrades

The following is a statement by Federico Barajas, executive director of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority on funding for Jones Pumping Plant upgrades.

Sacramento, CA – “The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority (Authority) is pleased to have been invited to submit an application for a loan from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program. If approved, the funding will be used to refurbish the C.W. “Bill” Jones Pumping Plant (JPP) near Tracy.

“The JPP is a critical component of the Central Valley Project (CVP) and delivers irrigation water to 1.2 million acres of highly productive farmland, drinking water for 2 million Californians, Silicon Valley’s high-tech industry, and 200,000 acres of managed wetlands of critical importance along the Pacific Flyway.

“The funds would accomplish two important outcomes for the region. First, they would complement other funding secured by the Authority for the JPP improvements to provide the necessary maintenance to keep the JPP running at its optimum level. That means jobs and an immediate economic boost for the area. Secondly, they assure that the JPP is able to continue to reliably deliver water for the benefit of farms, rural and urban residents, high tech businesses, and important wildlife areas for many years into the future.

“The JPP consists of six pumps, each powered by a 22,500 h.p. electric motor with a lifespan of approximately 35 years. The units were last refurbished between 31 and 38 years ago and have deteriorated during the recent drought due to intermittent operation, which caused accelerated wear and tear. The potential for WIFIA funding will help to finance and reduce the expense of refurbishing the remaining four units. Earlier this year, the Unit 6 repairs were completed with a loan from the Bureau of Reclamation and work has begun on Unit 2, which is being funded by the Authority and its members.

“Federal support for projects like this are an investment in maintaining critical infrastructure that provides the foundation for California’s economy,” said Federico Barajas. “Ensuring the continued operations of critical infrastructure, like the Jones Pumping Plant, into the future, is vital for California’s agricultural economy, its managed wetlands and for the United States, which depends on California farms for more than 50 percent of the fruits, nuts, and vegetables produced nationwide.”

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