Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced legislation to improve the safety and upkeep of important water supply infrastructure. The Contra Costa Canal Transfer Act (H.R. 432/S. 93) would transfer the title of the Contra Costa Canal System from the Bureau of Reclamation to the Contra Costa Water District (CCWD), enabling the CCWD to undertake necessary upgrades to the system.
“The aging Contra Costa Canal is in need of critical safety and structural improvements to prevent accidents, water leaks, and water quality degradation,” said Congressman Mark DeSaulnier. “By transferring ownership of the canal from the federal government to the Contra Costa Water District, we can help streamline these improvements and revitalize the land surrounding the canal for the enjoyment of local residents. I thank Senator Feinstein for her partnership on this legislation, which promises to benefit our local communities.”
“This is commonsense legislation to facilitate much-needed safety improvements to the Contra Costa Canal,” said Senator Feinstein. “If the water district is willing and ready to make these improvements, there’s no reason the federal government should stand in the way. Transferring the title will help save lives and modernize the Contra Costa Canal system.”
Built between 1937 and 1948, the Contra Costa Canal delivers water both to homes and businesses throughout Contra Costa County, and also to the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys for irrigation. The 48-mile canal system is currently exposed, but following the transfer the CCWD will work to enclose it in a surface tunnel. Since the Contra Costa Canal has been operational, 81 people have drowned in the canal. H.R. 432/S. 93 would help eliminate safety risks while maintaining recreation opportunities, including restoring land located in the Concord Naval Weapons Station.
“Gaining title of the Contra Costa Canal is so very important as we look at the future of this critical facility,” said Lisa Borba, President of the Contra Costa Water District’s Board of Directors. “We thank Congressman DeSaulnier and Senator Dianne Feinstein for all the work they are doing to move this bill to a successful outcome.”
“The Contra Costa Canal Transfer Act has the Park District’s support and ensures the existing recreation agreement for Contra Loma Regional Park and Contra Costa Canal Trail continues and is recognized in the legislation. We thank Rep. Desaulnier and Sen. Feinstein for their leadership to pass the Contra Costa Canal Transfer Act and continued support for the East Bay Regional Parks,” said Robert Doyle, General Manager, East Bay Regional Park District.
During the 115th Congress, both Congressman DeSaulnier and Senator Feinstein introduced similar legislation. The House version of the bill unanimously passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.