Rep. T.J. Cox-D, who represents a portion of Southwestern Tulare County, introduced the Western Water Storage Infrastructure Act, an $800 million bill addressing surface and groundwater storage and water delivery.
The bill is another in a series of bills addressing water infrastructure in the Central Valley that have been introduced in Congress. California representatives Jim Costa-D and John Garamendi-D are co-sponsors of the legislation.
The bill is designed to essentially replace funding authorized by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation, WIIN, Act, which has been exhausted. The $800 million is more than double what was previously available. The bill also extends the operational and environmental authorities of the WIIN Act to provide continued water supply without adverse impacts to listed species.
Supporters of the bill include the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority, Friant Water Authority — which oversees the Friant-Kern Canal, Northern California Water Association, South Valley Water Association, Westlands Water District, San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority, the California Farm Bureau Federation, and Family Farm Alliance.
“Even during this difficult time, we can’t stop our work to bring everyone in the Valley the water they need,” Cox said. “Water supply reliability is incredibly important to the lives of Central Valley working families and for the entire world’s economy and food system.”
“The Western Water Storage Infrastructure Act comes at a time for California when many agencies like ours are working to fund critically needed projects that improve infrastructure to store or move water, such as the Friant-Kern Canal, and facing the additional challenge of achieving sustainable groundwater basins and sustainable economies into the future,” Friant Water Authority CEO Jason Phillips said. This bill not only authorizes funding for critical projects but also continues use of the funding and approval process s
et up by the WIIN Act, and thus avoids creating new processes that could slow down efforts to fund projects that desperately need it during the next three years.”