Assemblymember Salas Testifies in Support of Water Projects for the Valley

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) attended the California Water Commission hearing to testify in support of investments in water storage infrastructure in the Central Valley, such as the Temperance Flat Reservoir and Sites Reservoir project proposals. 

“Voters approved the Water Bond four years ago because there was specific funding included to increase water storage in California,” said Assemblymember Salas.  “The Temperance Flat and Sites projects will secure increased water storage and bring meaningful, long-lasting benefits to the Central Valley, where families and communities are hit hardest by drought and water quality issues.  It is imperative that we keep our commitment to voters.” 

Water infrastructure, water quality, and water reliability in California remain vulnerable, particularly in the Central Valley.  Critical investments in water infrastructure are long overdue.  The 10 largest reservoirs in the state, part of the water system for nearly 40 million people and the nation’s largest farm economy were all built between 1927 and 1979.   The Temperance Flat project would help strengthen and modernize the state’s water system to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population and changing climate patterns. 

The proposed Temperance Flat Reservoir would provide the Central Valley with more than twice its current the storage capacity, improve flood protection, increase recreational opportunities, replenish groundwater resources, and enhance environmental restoration.

The fluctuation from the worst drought in state history to a historic wet year has underscored the critical need for investment in water storage projects.  Millions of acre-feet are lost annually to the ocean that can instead be stored and used during dry years.  Temperance Flat would create 1.26 million acre-feet of new storage and ease flood risks along the San Joaquin River.

The Temperance Flat Reservoir is one of 11 projects that are seeking funding from the Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP), which was established by Proposition 1 (2014) to provide $2.7 billion in funding for water storage projects.  In preliminary evaluations by commission staff, all 11 project proposals from around the state were evaluated at less than one on their public benefit ratio (PBR).  The applicants’ PBR appeals are due to the commission this Friday, February 23.     

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Assemblymember Salas testifies at CWC hearing in support of water projects for the Central Valley