Washington—Fifty-two California water districts and organizations announced their support for S. 1932, the Drought Resiliency and Water Supply Infrastructure Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) to improve the nation’s water supply and drought resiliency.
The full list of supporters can be found here.
The legislation builds on Senator Feinstein’s 2016 California drought legislation that was included in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act.
“This broad support for our bill shows that Californians understand we must begin preparing now for the next major drought,” Senator Feinstein said. “I’m proud to work with our water districts and agencies to support investments in water storage, water recycling and desalination projects. Climate change means more and more severe droughts are coming and we must be ready.”
“ACWA applauds Senator Feinstein for her continued leadership on California water policy,” Dave Eggerton, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies said. “This comprehensive legislation provides critically important investments in water infrastructure at a time when the need is as great as it’s ever been with the challenges of adapting to climate change.”
“Water supply in chronic drought areas like the West need a portfolio approach with drought resilient water projects like desalination to sustain economic vitality and community resiliency,” Paul Kelley, executive director of CalDesal said. “The Drought Resiliency and Water Supply Infrastructure Act of 2019 provides the tools needed for drought resilient projects like authorization and funding for desalination projects, funding for recycled water projects and a new water infrastructure loan program.”
“A clean and reliable water supply is the foundation of a community’s health, economy and sustainability,” Pat Sinicropi, executive director of WateReuse said. “Water reuse provides a drought-proof and secure water supply for communities, increasingly important in the face of more frequent and severe droughts and changing hydrologic conditions. We applaud Senators Feinstein, Gardner, McSally and Sinema for their vision and efforts in addressing one of our greatest challenges.”
“We thank Senator Feinstein for her ongoing efforts to improve the water outlook in California and throughout the West,” Jamie Johansson, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation said. “In this decade alone, California has experienced severe drought and torrential rainfall, and experts believe that may be the future trend for our state. That means we must improve investment in water projects to capture water when it’s available.”
“There is little argument that our existing water infrastructure in the West is aging and in need of rehabilitation and improvement,” Tom Nassif, president and CEO Western Growers said. “In order to meet the current and future demands on our water resources, we must continue to invest a diverse portfolio of water management tools, including conservation, recycling, desalination, conveyance, and surface and groundwater storage. This bill tackles these issues in a manner that is both environmentally sensitive and fiscally responsible, and will provide substantial benefits for all of the Western states.”
“Senator Feinstein gets California water and she gets climate change,” Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of Metropolitan Water District of Southern California said. “She knows we have to start now to adapt to the realities of decreasing snowpack, flashier storms and longer droughts. Thanks to her leadership, S. 1932 will provide essential tools to help us build the storage and drought-proof supplies we need to remain resilient in the face of a changing climate.”
“As drought becomes increasingly common, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is actively working to implement strategies to diversify our water supply,” Harlan L. Kelly, Jr., general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission said. “Therefore, we strongly support the Drought Resiliency and Water Supply Infrastructure Act that would create a new loan program known as the Reclamation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. This would provide a low-cost financing mechanism that would reduce the financial burden for infrastructure repairs and help us become more resilient in the era of climate change.”
“The San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies learned all too well the devastating impacts of drought and water shortages in the early 1990s, and because of that we have become strong advocates for achieving water supply reliability through diversification,” Jim Madaffer, chair of the San Diego County Water Authority said. “Once more than 95 percent dependent on a single source, the San Diego region today has achieved one of the most diversified and drought-resilient water supply portfolios in the nation. We applaud Senator Feinstein’s leadership to ensure that the federal government is a partner in these critical drought resiliency efforts and believe that her legislation is an important step to achieve this goal.”
“Valley Water is pleased to support this important legislation that will invest in critical water storage and supply projects in the West, helping to diversify our water sources and build drought-resilient communities,” Linda J. LeZotte, chair of the Santa Clara Valley Water Board said. “Here in the heart of Silicon Valley, a reliable supply of safe, clean water is essential to our economy and environment. This bill provides the robust investment we need in our water infrastructure to help ensure a more reliable water supply in the face of a changing climate. Valley Water particularly appreciates the potential this legislation holds for supporting the Pacheco Reservoir Expansion Project, which would create a new source of emergency water for Silicon Valley, helping to make our region more drought resilient. We look forward to working with Senators Gardner, Feinstein, McSally and Sinema to support this bill as it moves through the legislative process.”
The Drought Resiliency and Water Supply Infrastructure Act:
- Extends funding under the WIIN Act for an additional five years, including:
- $670 million for surface and groundwater storage projects, and supporting conveyance.
- $100 million for water recycling projects.
- $60 million for desalination projects.
- Creates a new loan program for water agencies at 30-year Treasury rates (currently about 2.6 percent) to spur investment in new water supply projects. Repayment can be deferred until five years after completion of the project.
- Authorizes $140 million for habitat restoration and environmental compliance projects, including forest, meadow and watershed restoration and projects that benefit threatened and endangered species.
- The legislation includes two offsets:
- Extends existing WIIN Act provisions allowing water districts to prepay their outstanding capital debts and convert to indefinite length water supply contracts to bring in additional revenue within the next 10 years.
- Creates a process to deauthorize inactive water recycling project authorizations.