Costa Advances Legislation to Improve Water Reliability and Flood Protection
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a significant piece of water infrastructure legislation – H.R. 8, the Water Resources Development Act – by a vote of 408 to 2. Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) worked on a bipartisan basis to improve the legislation by including one provision that would increase water supply reliability in California’s San Joaquin Valley and another provision that could reduce permit compliance costs for utility ratepayers.
Rep. Costa’s first amendment incorporates into the Water Resources Development Act a bipartisan measure Costa has been leading in the House. The legislation would resolve a legal technicality that makes it more difficult to improve the structure and operations of water reservoirs than current law intends. This would have a real impact in the Valley, as it would allow Merced Irrigation District to move forward with a project to raise the spillway gates at New Exchequer Dam. When completed, this project will increase water supplies for eastern Merced County by 57,000 acre-feet during some years.
The second amendment Congressman Costa helped lead would make permanent a budget-neutral solution that has been successfully helping the Army Corps of Engineers work through its backlog of project permitting. Currently, the Corps has the authority to allow utility companies to pay for additional staffing to help the Corps complete its review process on the utility’s project. The amendment, which Rep. Costa cosponsored with fellow Valley Congressman Jeff Denham (CA-10), eliminates the expiration date on the Corps’s authority to accept such staffing support when offered. Accordingly, the Corps can continue to choose this option as a way to complete project reviews more quickly without reducing the quality or thoroughness of the review.
Costa described both amendments as “straightforward, commonsense solutions that address our daily water realities and infrastructure needs in the Valley and across California.”
For video of Congressman Costa calling on his colleagues to support his first amendment, which would improve reservoir operations at Lake McClure and across the U.S., click here:
For more on the Non-Federal Reservoir Operations Improvement Act, the bipartisan legislation Rep. Costa incorporation into H.R. 8 with his first amendment, click here.