Costa Legislation Another Win for Valley Water
Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed important legislation for water districts in California’s San Joaquin Valley and throughout the country, H.R. 3281, the Reclamation Title Transfer and Non-Federal Infrastructure Incentivization Act. This legislation, if enacted, would make it easier for local water districts to own their water projects, once debt on the project is fully repaid to the federal government.
Led by Valley Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA-16) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO-5), the legislation aims to both make it easier to repair and update water projects as well as allow these dams and other water facilities to be operated more efficiently and more in-line with local water realities.
“This is not a new idea, and is part of government reform that was initiated in the 1990s by the Clinton Administration to reinvent government,” said Rep. Costa. “This would save money and provide much needed funding for rehabilitating aging water projects, like the Friant-Kern Canal. I am pleased to see this legislation pass the House, and urge the Senate to follow our lead.”
The Friant Water Authority operates and maintains one of these water projects, the 152-mile-long Friant-Kern Canal which serves more than 1 million acres on the eastside of the San Joaquin Valley. “The Authority is exploring whether taking ownership of the canal and related distribution works would benefit water users in the Friant Division. But Reclamation’s current title transfer process is lengthy, overly complex, and costly for the non-Federal parties,” said Jason Philips, the Authority’s CEO. “H.R. 3281 would provide an incentive for the Authority and similar agencies to weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks of title transfer and to actively engage Reclamation in discussions that could produce benefits for water users and the Federal government alike.”
Rep. Costa, Democratic lead on the bill, called on his House colleagues to support the bill before it passed in the House by a vote of 233 to 184.
For video of Congressman Costa’s speech, click here:
Congressman Costa is working every day with local water districts to improve the Valley’s water supply.