In a landmark win for the Central Valley, Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) recently announced that $14 million in investments has been secured for Central Valley and regional water projects in the bipartisan year-end funding deal. Harder has been pushing these projects both publicly and privately during House deliberation earlier this year and during the drafting of the final deal this month. These projects were also included and supported in Rep. Harder’s SAVE Water Resources Act. The bill is expected to pass the Senate and be signed into law this week.
“These investments are a huge win for the Valley – and they show that when we fight for our water at the national level, we can get our fair share. In fact, more than 10 percent of the national funding for water projects is now coming right back to California and our district,” said Rep. Harder. “We’re at a deficit of something like two million acre-feet per year in the Valley – together, these projects will provide enough storage capacity to cover that shortfall. Getting this across the finish line was my top priority for the final funding bill, and it’s the result of almost a year of work across the aisle and with members of the committee.”
Representative Harder was credited by Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) for ensuring the funding was included in the House funding bill earlier this year.
“The Energy and Water Development appropriations bill funds critical infrastructure projects throughout the country. I am especially pleased that our bill includes four projects — the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program, the Sites Reservoir, the Los Vaqueros Reservoir, and the Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir — that will make a difference in the lives of Californians. These projects would not have been included without the hard work of Representative Harder and I commend him on his steadfast advocacy for his community,” said Congresswoman Kaptur, Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.
Some of these projects were originally authorized in 2016, but this is the first time many were included in a full annual allocation of an appropriations bill.
Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir
Del Puerto Water District will receive $1.5 million for the proposed Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir. The project will expand off-stream water storage up to 85,000 acre-feet for Del Puerto Water District (DPWD), which is based in Patterson. The first step in the project is to conduct a feasibility study, which this investment will fund.
North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program
Over $4.1 million was secured for this project, which provides water for agricultural customers in DPWD. The cities of Turlock and Modesto provide treated recycled water to DPWD, which then distributes that water to local farmers. Water supplies have been impacted by drought and pumping restrictions in the area, making it difficult for farmers to access the water they need. The project provides as much as 30,600 acre-feet of water per year.
Six million dollars in new funding will go to the Sites Reservoir project. Sites is an innovative and modern off-stream water storage project, helping the Valley better prepare for droughts while preserving the environment. This project will add over 1.8 million acre-feet of storage to the Northern Central Valley, on average, supplying water to over 1 million homes.
Los Vaqueros Reservoir expansion
More than $2.1 million was secured for this project, which currently stores up to 160,000 acre-feet of water. The expansion will add another 115,000 acre-feet of capacity. The project also provides water to wildlife areas south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The package also includes funding for key programs that invest millions in water projects in California. These programs include funding for rural drinking water, flood control, WaterSMART projects, and water recycling and reuse projects.
In April, Rep. Harder introduced the Securing Access for the Central Valley and Enhancing (SAVE) Water Resources Act. The bill provides an all-the-above approach to addressing water issues facing the Central Valley and California by increasing storage opportunities, spurring technological water innovation, and making long-overdue investments in aging water infrastructure. The SAVE Water Resources Act received a hearing in June. He also worked alongside a bipartisan coalition of members of Congress to ensure the program that provides the financial support for these projects is fully funded. Harder introduced bipartisan legislation to support water institutes across the nation developing long-term solutions to improve water quality and supply, including the California Water Research Institute, which helped California almond growers cut their water use by 33 percent. The freshman Congressman also introduced legislation to protect water infrastructure from nutria, an invasive species of swamp rat which threatens area farmers.