SB 559, landmark legislation by Senator Melissa Hurtado that would provide state funding to address infrastructure issues that exist on the Friant-Kern Canal achieved its first victory, passing 7-0 out of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee.
The bipartisan-supported legislation in its current form would secure California’s water supply by investing $400 million to restore the Friant-Kern Canal to its full capacity.
A portion of the canal, roughly 20 miles long, has subsided twelve feet below its original design elevation, including three feet of subsidence from 2014 to 2017. As a result, the canal has suffered the loss of 60 percent of its carrying capacity – constricting the delivery of water.
“This problem threatens about 350,000 acres of highly productive farmland below the damaged portion of the canal, and also limit opportunities to maximize groundwater recharge projects that will be very important to helping the Valley comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act,” said Jason Phillips, CEO, Friant Water Authority in a press release announcing the bill.
CCM applauds Senator Hurtado and the principal co-authors Senator Andreas Borgeas, Assembly member Devon Mathis, Assembly member Joaquin Arambula and Assembly member Rudy Salas for their active engagement on this issue and their work to provide solutions that benefit the growers and communities that rely on the Friant-Kern Canal.
We further applaud and support the efforts of Friant Water Authority to secure a funding source to make the necessary fixes to the canal.
SB 559 will next go to the Senate Appropriations Committee. After Senator Appropriations, it will go to the Senate floor and then to the Assembly.