Rep. Jeff Denham’s (R-Turlock) legislation to authorize financing of new water storage projects was included Monday evening in the comprehensive Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018 agreement. The House is scheduled to vote on this measure on Thursday, September 13, 2018. The language leverages non-federal investments to provide funding for expanding water storage and comes from Rep. Denham’s New WATER Act.
The final package is anticipated to pass the House of Representatives this week and be provided to the President for signature. This monumental success comes on the heels of major developments in combatting Sacramento’s water grab, including garnering the support of Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in combatting the state’s Bay-Delta plan and the House passage of the Denham amendment to stop it.
“We need new water storage in the Valley, period.” said Rep. Denham. “My bill will deliver the money to build new storage and keep water here in the Valley instead of flushing it out to the ocean.”
Rep. Denham’s New WATER Act is a crucial step in solving the Central Valley’s long term water storage crisis. The bill provides financing opportunities for water projects throughout the western United States, including new reservoirs, below ground storage projects, recycling and desalination projects. Rep. Denham’s provision in the WRDA bill authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency and the Bureau of Reclamation to finance projects under the Water Infrastructure and Innovation Act program and sets a one-year deadline for execution.
Additional Denham language included in the WRDA bill would significantly enhance flood protection in San Joaquin County by authorizing long-delayed and badly needed flood control protection efforts for more than 50,000 Valley residents and a number of critical infrastructure facilities. Rep. Denham also included language to expedite the feasibility study of Reclamation District 17, that includes the French Camp veterans facility. The project will yield an estimated 84 percent reduction in expected annual property damage, while enhancing security at 262 critical infrastructure sites, 12 of which are considered essential to life safety.
If signed into law, the Denham language included in the WRDA bill would provide a brand new tool for financing and building Central Valley water infrastructure that would make major water infrastructure improvements a reality. The bill is expected to be brought up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives later this week.
For more information about what Rep. Denham is doing to fight for water in the Valley, visit www.Denham.house.gov/water, where you can also sign up to receive periodic updates on his work in Washington to improve local water infrastructure, storage and delivery.