Valley Wins Big in House Water Resources Measure
Washington, D.C. – The San Joaquin Valley could see significant increases in water storage capacity due to water resources legislation that passed today in the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan and bicameral support.
Thanks to the leadership of Valley Congressmen Jim Costa (CA-16) and Jeff Denham (CA-10), America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) includes provisions that will support local irrigation districts and water agencies in their efforts to raise spillway gates, build new water storage facilities, and repair and expand dams, reservoirs, and other water projects.
Specifically, AWIA includes legislation introduced by Rep. Costa and co-led by Denham that will enable Merced Irrigation District to take the first steps forward with a project to raise the spillway gates at New Exchequer Dam. This would enlarge the storage capacity of Lake McClure, increasing water supplies for eastern Merced County up to 57,000 acre-feet.
The bill also extends funding for a program that is being used to restore the seismic stability and eventual expansion of the San Luis Reservoir, and it creates a pilot program in the Russian River Basin to develop a system for incorporating weather forecast into reservoir operations.
“This legislation creates a pathway for the first new surface water storage in the Valley in decades,” Costa said. “This is a victory for Merced County and the people of the Valley.”
Additionally, AWIA includes another provision led by Congressmen Denham and Costa that expands financing options for water storage projects and incentivizes investment in new water storage.
For video of Congressman Costa advocating for his measure to allow for improved reservoir operations, including those at Lake McClure, click here: