Feb 4, 2020
Press Release

(FRESNO, CA) - In their ongoing efforts to improve water quality and reliability in the San Joaquin Valley, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) and Representative TJ Cox (CA-21) introduced a package of legislation to address California’s water issues. 

Congressman Costa introduced the Conveyance Capacity Correction Act, legislation that would provide $400 million dollars to complete repairs to the Delta-Mendota Canal and the California Aqueduct.  Built in 1951, the 117-mile-long Delta-Mendota Canal, and the 400-mile-long and California Aqueduct, built in 1963, are vital but aging pieces of water infrastructure responsible for carrying water supplies to residents and farming communities of the central San Joaquin Valley:

“The availability of a clean and reliable supply of water is the foundation of our valley economy. Farmers need water to feed the world and life becomes near impossible for residents who lack clean drinking water,” said Costa. “Critical to these water deliveries are the Delta-Mendota Canal and the California Aqueduct, which are decades old and showing their age. This bill will provide funding for the necessary repairs to restore and increase their resiliency. We need to invest in our water infrastructure now, for the future sustainability of our state.”

Introduced by Rep. Cox, the Western Water Storage Infrastructure Act, would provide additional funding for surface storage, groundwater storage, and the supporting conveyance facilities. This bill is needed to reauthorize more water storage funding now that WIIN Act storage funds have been capped out:

“This has been a transformative session for Central Valley water. My new water storage bill, the third water bill I’ve introduced this Congress, is going to tackle one of the trickiest parts of fixing our supply crisis, said Cox. By investing $800 million in badly needed projects over the next 5 years, we can finally get on track to long-term supply stability, through wet and dry years.”

Taken together with H.R. 5316, the Move Water Now Act introduced by Rep. Cox, which funds repairs on the Friant-Kern Canal, these two bills will contribute the necessary resources to perform vital repairs to the San Joaquin Valley’s main water conveyance facilities. 

In addition, Rep. Costa is working with State of California and San Joaquin Valley water users to introduce legislation in February that will fund environmental compliance and restoration projects aimed at groundwater recharge, watershed health, restoration infrastructure and flood plain restoration. These pieces of legislation, in addition to the Disadvantaged Community Drinking Water Assistance Act, and Securing Access for the Central Valley and Enhancing (SAVE) Water Resources Act, make up a package of bills championed by Reps. Costa, Cox, and fellow valley Congressman Josh Harder (CA-10). 

Without action to restore lost surface water supplies, in the very near future the San Joaquin Valley’s annual water shortfall of 2.5 million acre-feet will cause permanent fallowing of approximately one million acres of the world’s best agricultural land," said Jason Phillips, the CEO of Friant Water Authority."Lost alongside it will be hundreds of thousands of Valley jobs and billions of dollars in wages that support our regional economy. These two bills, if passed and funded, would represent a meaningful step to prevent some of the severe economic hardships and human suffering that could result from the Valley’s water imbalance. Thank you to Congressman Costa and Congressman Cox for their leadership and introducing these important measures.

"The funding in this legislative package is important to maintain the Central Valley Project's and the State Water Project's ability to continue to meet the needs of Californians," said Federico Barajas, Executive Director of the San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority. "Every drop of water is important, and ensuring the continued efficient operation of the Delta-Mendota Canal and California Aqueduct, as well as supporting efforts to enhance surface and groundwater storage, is vital for California's economy, its managed wetlands, and for the United States."