Denham Introduces Bill to Expand Water Supplies
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) today introduced legislation allowing Oakdale Irrigation District and South San Joaquin Irrigation District (Districts) to enter into a Warren Act Contract with the U.S. Bureau Of Reclamation to store up to 100,000 acre feet in New Melones Reservoir.
In the early 1980s when Old Melones was inundated following construction of New Melones, the Districts lost the ability to store nearly 200,000 acre-feet of water at the Old Melones Dam and reservoir, which the Districts built and owned. Since construction of New Melones, the Districts have performed millions of dollars worth of system improvements which have enabled them to convey and use water more efficiently. By improving efficiency, the Districts’ customers can now grow more with less water. The water savings is thus temporarily available for further use outside of the Districts until such time as their internal demand increases.
“Allowing local districts to use New Melones is an inexpensive and easy way to increase water supplies,” said Rep. Denham. “Working together with the Bureau of Reclamation helps lessen the blow of the dry conditions the Valley is experiencing. I will work to enact this common sense legislation into law as quickly as possible.”
Warren Act contracts are very common through the Central Valley Project (CVP) system. By allowing the Districts to store their non-CVP water in New Melones, they will be in a position to store water year-round as they anticipate their future needs. This legislation will also enable them to provide water to those with need by taking advantage of pumping windows that avoid impacts to threatened and endangered species.
Rep. Denham’s district includes both Oakdale and South San Joaquin Districts, and more information on each district can be found at http://www.oakdaleirrigation.com and http://www.ssjid.com, respectfully.