Jul 09 2021
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced her support for the water infrastructure funding authorization levels included in the draft infrastructure funding bill released by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. These funds would be wrapped into the larger $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill whose framework was agreed upon by President Biden and a bipartisan group of senators last month.
Senator Feinstein for years has worked to secure funding to modernize California’s water infrastructure. She worked with Senate leadership this year to include funding for water in an infrastructure bill, and since the bipartisan infrastructure framework was announced in June she has worked closely with Western senators to further increase funding for water storage, recycling and ecosystem restoration programs and ensure California can effectively compete for the funds.
“Climate scientists predict that climate change will cause droughts to be longer and more severe. They also say overall precipitation in the West will remain steady, but it will be concentrated in fewer, larger storms. That means we must do more to store and otherwise stretch the use of water in wet years so we have more to use in dry years,” Feinstein said.
“Today’s proposal includes $8.3 billion for critical water infrastructure modernization programs. I worked closely with Chairman Manchin, Senators Sinema and Kelly and other Western senators who understand all too well the challenges we face from historically bad drought conditions and the urgent need to bring our outdated water systems into the 21st century.
“The water storage funds in this proposal will help us plan for worsening droughts and allow for the recharge of aquifers after large storms. Water recycling and desalination program will help California stretch supplies without diverting more water from rivers and the Delta or harming the environment. And ecosystem restoration, water conservation and water-use-efficiency funds will help us more wisely use what water we do have.
“These programs don’t just benefit cities, homes, businesses and farms – they also help protect and restore the environment and threatened species. More cold water in storage helps preserve salmon species through droughts and reduces the odds that large numbers of endangered salmon eggs are destroyed.”
Funding authorization levels for key water infrastructure programs in the plan released today:
- $1.15 billion for water storage projects to hold more water in wet years and after major storms for use by communities and for environmental benefit.
- $1 billion for water recycling projects to help stretch water supplies without increasing diversions from rivers and the Delta or harming the environment.
- $250 million for desalination projects to provide a drought-proof water supply and demonstrate improving desalination technologies.
- $980 million for environmental programs for Western water, including $580 million for ecosystem restoration programs and $400 million for water conservation and water-use-efficiency programs, including through the use of natural infrastructure.
- $3.2 billion to help reduce the backlog in Bureau of Reclamation infrastructure repairs.
- $500 million for dam safety that would allow seismic repairs to BF Sisk Dam, a critical hub for California’s water delivery system.