Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the groundbreaking of construction to restore conveyance capacity in the middle reach of the Friant-Kern Canal:
“Restoring the 152-mile Friant-Kern Canal to its original capacity is a critical component of our effort to modernize California’s water infrastructure. This is a landmark day for the Central Valley and ensuring we have enough water for the region.
“Built in 1951, the canal supplies water for 250,000 Californians, including those living in 55 disadvantaged communities, and more than 1 million acres of farmland. Unfortunately, 60 percent of its capacity has been lost to subsidence, resulting in a huge loss of water for homes, farms and other businesses.
“That is why I secured $308 million in federal funding for this project to help restore conveyance capacity of the middle section of the canal. Restoring the entire canal could provide as much as an additional 300,000 acre-feet of needed groundwater recharge in wet years. This project will be critical to help farmers restore depleted aquifers and maintain water supply while complying with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
“Climate change is increasing the frequency of severe drought in our state. We must take action now to ensure we’re ready and that the Central Valley will remain the most productive agricultural region in the country. Restoring the Friant-Kern Canal is part of that effort.”
As chair of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Feinstein has long fought for federal funding for the Friant-Kern Canal capacity correction, obtaining $308 million in federal funding over the past several years. This includes $261 million under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act and $47 million under the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act.
Senator Feinstein also introduced the Canal Conveyance Capacity Restoration Act, a bill that would authorize an additional $653 million for a one-third federal cost-share toward restoring the remaining reaches of the Friant-Kern Canal, the Delta-Mendota Canal and the California Aqueduct. The bill would also authorize an additional $180 million for restoring salmon runs on the San Joaquin River.