Summary of “Drought Resiliency and Water Supply Infrastructure Act”
Expands and updates Bureau of Reclamation funding authorizations in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act (Public Law 114-322). Authorizes the following funding (all at the fiscal year 2019 level extended over 5 years):
--$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 at 30-year Treasury rates (currently about 2.6%) for water supply projects known as the Reclamation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (RIFIA):
--The $150 million authorized funding level would make available $8 to $12 billion in lending authority for the low-interest loans
--The loans would use existing criteria under the successful WIFIA program (the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act)
--The Bureau of Reclamation would recommend which projects should receive funding and EPA would administer the loans, per an agreement they are required to complete by October 2019 under existing law
Authorizes $140 million for restoration and environmental compliance projects, including forest, meadow and watershed restoration projects with water benefits and projects to help restore threatened and endangered species affected by Bureau of Reclamation water projects.
Provides a fiscally realistic way for Reclamation to assist with drought resiliency projects. o Given federal budgets, the federal government can no longer pay up front the full cost of western water projects under the traditional Bureau of Reclamation model.
--At much lower federal cost, the bill facilitates water supply projects by combining:
-grants for up to 50% of the cost of federally-owned projects and up to 25% of the cost of state and local-led projects, with
-loans at the 30-year Treasury rate (currently about 2.6%) to help water districts afford their cost-share for state, local, and tribal projects. Repayment can be deferred until 5 years after substantial completion of the project, and the loans’ duration is 35 years.
Because Congressional authorization for each individual project typically adds many years to the already lengthy process for project approval, allows Congress to approve funding for each project more expeditiously through the existing appropriations process.
The bill also includes two offsets:
--It extends the existing WIIN Act provisions allowing water districts to prepay their outstanding capital debts and convert to indefinite length water supply contracts.
--It sets up a process to deauthorize inactive water recycling project authorizations.
About the bill, per Senator Feinstein's Website:
“The effects of climate change are here to stay, and one enormous effect on the West is more – and more severe – droughts,” said Senator Feinstein. “As California continues to recover from a historic drought, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory now estimates that the Sierra snowpack, a primary source of water for California, will decrease by 79 percent by the end of the century. If we fail to prepare for this contingency, life in California will be forever altered. Longer and more severe droughts will change the face of our state, undermine our economy, result in more wildfires, devastate our agriculture sector and require draconian water restrictions. To counter this, we must act now, and this bill will help toward that goal.”
“In Colorado and the West, combatting drought requires a comprehensive approach. Storage and conservation are key parts of our water resource management,” said Senator Gardner. “Tens of millions of people in the western United States rely on Colorado rivers to provide water for agricultural, municipal and consumptive use, as well as support for our growing recreation economy. In the face of these challenges, I’m proud to be joining this bipartisan legislation that will aid efforts to prevent severe water shortages.”
Here is a current list of supporters of the bill:
The Association of California Water Agencies The California Farm Bureau WateReuse CalDesal Family Farm Alliance California Association of Sanitation Agencies Western Growers American Public Works Association Northern California Water Association National Association of Clean Water Agencies National Water Resources Association National Water Research Institute National Association of Water Companies
California Water Districts and Water Providers:
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission San Diego County Water Authority South Valley Water Association Contra Costa Water District The San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Valley Water (Santa Clara Valley Water) Friant Water Authority Tehama Colusa Canal Authority Monterey Peninsula Water Management District Irvine Ranch Water District Municipal Water District of Orange County Central Basin Municipal Water District Eastern Municipal Water District City of Escondido City of Riverside City of Rio Rancho Dublin San Ramon Services District Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District Las Virgenes Municipal Water District Leucadia Wastewater District Marina Coast Water District Olivenhain Municipal Water District Orange County Water District Padre Dam Municipal Water District Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency Palmdale Water District Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District San Elijo Joint Powers Authority Santa Margarita Water District Scotts Valley Water District Soquel Creek Water District Truckee Meadows Water Authority Vallecitos Water District Walnut Valley Water District Water Replenishment District of Southern California West Basin Municipal Water District California-American Water
The California Legislature states, in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy Act of 2010, "The Delta’s history is rich with a distinct natural, agricultural, and cultural heritage. It is home to the community of Locke, the only town in the United States built primarily by early Chinese immigrants. Other legacy communities include Bethel Island, Clarksburg, Courtland, Freeport, Hood, Isleton, Knightsen, Rio Vista, Ryde, and Walnut Grove. "
These towns each have played their part in the historical and agricultural development of the Sacramento Valley and retain an individual culture and community.
We encourage you to visit these one-of-a-kind communities and see why they're worth preserving.
Locke Historical Photograph by James Motlow
We know many Delta residents and businesses suffer from this decades-long battle. It’s exhausting. It’s frustrating. It’s costly. It’s divisive.
But this is not the time to relent.
Help us organize and set the agenda for a united effort to stop the tunnels. Help us organize the Delta Legacy Communities to execute an agenda and a strategy that represents those of us who live and work in the Delta. Participate in executing a strategy to stop the tunnels; a strategy which envisions a sustainable Delta future.
Please join us as we discuss, debate and organize around a new entity – DELTA LEGACY COMMUNITIES, INC. a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt corporation.
Next Public Meeting: July 24th
Location & Time: 6:30pm, Bartley Cavanaugh Golf Clubhouse, Freeport
Please invite your friends and neighbors who are interested in a unified voice that speaks for the DELTA.
At our initial meeting on April 3rd, we discussed the need for a Delta-wide organization, our objectives, and what comes next. At this next meeting, we plan to introduce our initial board members, formalize our Goals & Objectives and discuss additional details. At our follow up meeting, we seated our initial board members including representatives from Freeport, Clarksburg, Hood, Courtland, Locke, Ryde and Bethel Island, approved our Bylaws and will move forward with finalizing our incorporation and obtaining a tax id number as a 501(c)(4).
The Delta consists of approximately 57 reclaimed islands and tracts, surrounded by 1,100 miles of levees that border 700 miles of waterways. The southwestern side of the Delta lies at the foothills of the California Coast Ranges, while to the northwest sit the lower Montezuma Hills. Most of the Delta lies within Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano and Yolo Counties. The total human population of the Delta was 515,264 as of 2000.
Altogether, the Delta covers 1,153 square miles, with 841 square miles, or nearly 73 percent, devoted to agriculture. About 100 square miles of the Delta area is urban and 117 sq miles are undeveloped land. The rivers, streams, sloughs and waterways of the Delta total about 95 square miles of surface, although this fluctuates greatly with seasons and tides.
The main source rivers include the Sacramento River from the north, the San Joaquin from the southeast, and the Calaveras and Mokelumne Rivers from the east. The Calaveras and Mokelumne are both tributaries of the San Joaquin River. The Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers join at the western end of the Delta near Pittsburg, at the head of Suisun Bay, although they are linked upstream by the Georgiana Slough, which was first used by steamboats in the 19th century as a shortcut between Sacramento and Stockton. The southwestern part of the Delta is also transected by the Middle River and Old River, former channels of the San Joaquin. These rivers transport more than 30 million acre feet (8.9 cu miles) of water through the Delta each year – about 50 percent of all California's runoff.
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