Today, Federico Barajas, Executive Director of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, issued the following statement after the California Senate passed SB 559 – The State Water Resiliency Act – authored by Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) by a 34-1 vote:
“This year’s very real drought conditions reinforce the need for an all of government approach to drought response, both in the short and long-term. Today’s overwhelming vote, led by Senator Hurtado and the Valley delegation, puts the California Senate firmly in support of a strong state role in repairing California’s water conveyance infrastructure and increasing California’s drought resilience.
“The San Joaquin, San Benito, and Santa Clara Valleys need long-term water supply solutions if they are to remain global leaders in food production, high tech, and environmental stewardship. SB 559 offers a holistic, statewide approach to restore the conveyance capacity of California’s most critical water delivery infrastructure.
“We applaud Senator Hurtado for her leadership and support for increasing water infrastructure investments that better prepare us for future droughts by enabling the movement of water when Mother Nature provides it and look forward to working with the broad coalition of supporters urging passage of this bill in the Assembly.”
The State Water Resiliency Act of 2021 will allocate $785 million to repairing vital water delivery systems that provide drinking water to communities throughout California, water to sustain the state’s leading agricultural and technology economies, and wetlands of international importance. The funds would go to fixing the Delta-Mendota Canal, the Friant-Kern Canal, and major portions of the California Aqueduct, all of which have degraded and are losing water as a result of subsidence. Key facilities of the Central Valley Project that convey water to member agencies of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority have lost conveyance capacity over time due to subsidence. This lost capacity, combined with higher operational and power costs, results in millions of dollars of increased ratepayer expenses to convey less water through the system and reduces long-term climate resilience. The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority is a lead sponsor of a broad coalition supporting Senate Bill 559 (Hurtado) and S. 1179 (Feinstein) / H.R. 2552 (Costa), companion state and federal legislation designed to address this issue.