Funding for much needed repairs at least in the short-term for the Friant-Kern Canal continues to move closer to becoming reality.

The House of Representatives last week passed H.R. 7617, the 2020-2021 appropriations bill needed to fund the federal government during the next fiscal year. The bill is a six-bill appropriations minibus, including the energy and water development minibus.

Included in that minibus is $71 million for repairs to the Friant-Kern Canal during the next fiscal year. In its request for the funding the Bureau of Reclamation stated the repairs would help reduce the sinking of the canal due to the overpumping of groundwater, also known as subsidence, as well as increase water delivery from the canal.

The appropriations bill contains $225 million for canal repairs. There's $200 million for repairs for canals, including the $71 million for the Friant-Kern Canal and also funding for the Delta-Mendota Canal. The bill includes $89 million in funding for six projects in California.

The Friant-Kern Canal has lost up to 60 percent of its water delivery capacity while the Delta-Mendota Canal has lost 15 percent.

 

We all know that water is important, but to the Valley? Water is our lifeblood. Generations of Valley families have tilled the earth to produce food for the world, and yet, there is hardly enough water to keep those crops alive,” said U.S. Rep. TJ Cox-D, who represents a portion of Southwestern Tulare County. Cox has led the effort to increase funding for Valley water infrastructure projects. “This funding is long overdue, so I am thrilled to share that the Friant-Kern Canal will finally have an opportunity to secure much of the federal funding required to address land subsidence. With these funds, the Valley would take a major step toward greater water supply reliability.” 

 

Cox's Move Water Now Act, which would authorize $200 million for long-term repairs of the Friant-Kern Canal is included in the Moving Forward Act which passed the House. That legislation still needs to be passed by the Senate and signed by President Trump to become reality.

 

Also included in the House appropriations bill is $79 million in new funding for water storage from the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act.

 

The Senate must now pass its version of the appropriations bill. The differences between the two bills then are negotiated on their way to being enacted.

 

 

 

 

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