SACRAMENTO – As California’s drought deepens, depleting reservoirs and agricultural wells, legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to expedite improvements to the state’s outdated central water delivery system cleared a key committee hurdle.
“California is updating its aging water infrastructure to meet the growing needs of a state that is now in the grips of drought,” Sen. Dodd said. “But it’s not happening fast enough. My bill helps meet demand by allowing more flexibility in contracting to expedite this process and keep the water flowing to our communities and farmers.”
California’s 60-year-old water delivery system, known as the State Water Project, serves more than 27 million people and 750,000 acres of farmland through its 700 miles of aqueducts, canals and pipelines. It is the largest state-owned and operated water system in the world. The Department of Water Resources is pursuing a number of projects to improve the system through the use of contractors.
Senate Bill 626 would authorize the department to streamline the contractor selection process to get the most qualified experts at the lowest cost. It is supported by State Water Contractors, a nonprofit representing 27 public water agencies throughout the state.
The bill passed the Natural Resources and Water committee yesterday with overwhelming support.
“Adapting and updating this 60-year-old system is essential to building a more resilient water supply for the future, one that can withstand the long-lasting impacts of climate change while delivering the public benefit of clean, reliable and affordable water,” Jennifer Pierre, general manager of State Water Contractors, said yesterday in committee testimony. “This is why I’m here today to express strong support for SB 626 by Sen. Dodd.”
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. You can learn more about the district and Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.