SACRAMENTO – Facing a statewide drought that is rapidly draining reservoirs and agricultural supplies, the bipartisan California Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to streamline improvements to the state’s outdated central water delivery system.
“Water is the lifeblood of our state and the drought underscores the need to update our aging water infrastructure,” Sen. Dodd said. “This legislation will speed the contracting process to keep supplies flowing to our communities and farmers. I thank my Senate colleagues for approving this commonsense measure.”
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 Senate Wednesday on a 36 to 2 vote.
“The new project delivery methods proposed in SB 626 will improve DWR’s existing design-bid-build method and can help mitigate the effects of aging infrastructure and complex projects associated with climate change and habitat restoration,” said Jennifer Pierre, general manager of State Water Contractors, in a support letter signed by a dozen regional water agency managers.
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.