Costa Legislation Aims to Improve Water Quality and Supply

May 12, 2021
Press Release

(WASHINGTON) -  At a time when California is facing severe drought conditions that triggered Governor Gavin Newsom’s declaring a state of emergency and providing more than $5 billion dollars for water infrastructure and drought response funding, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) introduced bipartisan legislation to address California water supply and water quality goals:

“If we are to successfully weather repeated droughts in California, we must find new ways to store and deliver water to our communities," said Rep. Costa. "My legislation will build our water resiliency and ensure farmers and farm communities have the water they need to survive the severe impacts of climate change. The future of our state depends on it. Climate change is real and it’s happening now.” 

H.R. 3023, the Restoring WIFIA Eligibility Act,  which is co-sponsored by Representative John Curtis (R-UT-04), would amend the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, a program that accelerates investment in our nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects. The bill would clarify that federally owned infrastructure managed and operated by non-federal entities, such as the San Luis Delta-Mendota Water Authority, are eligible for WIFIA financing.

H.R. 3022, which is co-sponsored by Representatives Tom McClintock (R-CA-04), David Valadao (R-CA-1), and Devin Nunes (R-CA-22), will allow necessary improvements to the Redbank and Rancher Creek water projects in Fresno County. The improvements would help capture up to 15,000-acre-feet of water each year and recharging underground aquifers. One acre-foot of water is enough to supply a family of four for one year.

Together, these bills provide flexibility for the San Joaquin Valley water users to meet water quality standards and improve water storage.

“The San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority applauds Congressman Costa and Congressman Curtis for their efforts to expand the accessibility of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program,” said Federico Barajas, Executive Director. “Expanding access to funding programs like WIFIA is a common-sense way to help fund necessary improvements to California’s water infrastructure – improvements that support California’s vibrant agricultural economy that feeds the nation, its technological hub in Silicon Valley, and the critical habitat that endangered species and migratory waterfowl depend on for their survival.”

"The Fresno County Stream Group (Fresno County, Cities of Fresno & Clovis, Fresno  Metropolitan Flood Control & Fresno Irrigation District) applauds the joint efforts of our Congressmen (Costa, Valadao, McClintock & Nunes) with the introduction of this legislation to allow the Stream Group to establish conservation pools in the Big Dry Creek Reservoir and Fancher Creek Reservoir. This provides essential drought relief and multiple benefits like water storage and recharge within Fresno County” – Fresno County Stream Group

Helping to solve California’s complicated water issues is a top priority for Rep. Costa, who accompanied Gov. Newsom Monday at San Luis Reservoir to discuss drought solutions.

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Rep. Costa speaks during Governor Newsom Press Conference at San Luis Reservoir

In addition, last month Costa introduced H.R. 2552, the Canal Conveyance Capacity Restoration Act, a bill that authorizes more than $653 million to restore the capacity of three San Joaquin Valley canals. Restoring these canals would improve California’s drought resilience and help farmers comply with limits on groundwater pumping under the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

At a recent hearing with the Natural Resources Committee, Costa spoke about the need to invest in water infrastructure for the future sustainability of California. You can see his remarks from the hearing, here.