This week, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Kamala Harris and Congressman Mark DeSaulnier introduced legislation to transfer federal ownership of the Contra Costa Canal System to Contra Costa Water District (CCWD), taking an important step toward modernizing the aging water supply aqueduct. CCWD is pleased to strongly support the introduction of this legislation.
The canal system serves as the primary water delivery system for 500,000 people in central and eastern Contra Costa County. It was first constructed in 1937 as part of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project.
The canal system includes the 48-mile Contra Costa Canal, the Shortcut Pipeline, two reservoirs, and other related facilities. Under the companion bills, CCWD receives ownership of assets it has operated since 1972 and has 100% paid off (principal plus interest) since 2010. Ownership of the canal system on the local level means CCWD can more efficiently operate and maintain the system and will reduce federal administrative burdens and associated costs.
In addition, CCWD would be more secure in investing millions of dollars to modernize the aging canal. CCWD is studying options to modernize the main canal that stretches from Rock Slough Intake near Oakley to Concord. “For those investments to be made,” said CCWD Board President Lisa Borba, “CCWD is awaiting ownership of the canal system.”
Because the canal system is currently owned by the federal government, title transfer requires an act of Congress. This canal system is an ideal unit for title transfer because, its single beneficiary, CCWD, has paid for the facilities and will continue to operate for the benefit of customers currently served.
“The canal system has reliably served the people and businesses of our community for 80 years,” President Borba said. “We appreciate the leadership from Senator Feinstein, Senator Harris and Congressman DeSaulnier to help us gain ownership of a system we can modernize to serve our customers for the next century.”
The canal system also includes recreational trails, Contra Loma and other facilities that will be maintained for recreation with the transfer. This action has gained support from local recreation managers, including East Bay Regional Park District and the cities of Walnut Creek and Antioch.
To learn more about studies to modernize the Contra Costa Canal System, visit www.ccwater.com/688