Senator Melissa Hurtado’s Bill to Invest in the Friant-Kern Canal Extended into a Two-Year Bill

September 11, 2019

SACRAMENTO, CA – Senator Melissa Hurtado’s (D-Sanger) legislation, SB 559, was extended into a two-year bill during its review in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The bill, which has received bipartisan support, helps secure California’s water supply by setting up a policy framework to invest in the Friant-Kern Canal, one of San Joaquin Valley’s most critical water deliver facilities.

“I am beyond proud of the work that my colleagues and I have partnered on to raise awareness about the needs in the Central Valley region. The bipartisan work on SB 559 is just a glimpse of what we can accomplish if we work together,” said Sen. Hurtado. “Although the extension of the bill wasn’t the outcome that we had anticipated, it will provide stakeholders across the board with more opportunities to continue fighting for long-term investments in clean water supply. I look forward to revisiting this conversation next legislative year with my colleagues,” continued Sen. Hurtado.

Currently, the Friant-Kern Canal’s conveyance capacity has degraded due to several factors, including severe land subsidence caused by regional groundwater overdraft. A portion of the canal, roughly 20 miles long, has subsided twelve feet below its original design elevation, including three feet of subsidence from 2014 – 2017. As a result, the canal has suffered the loss of 60 percent of its carrying capacity – constricting the delivery of water to some of California’s most vulnerable communities.

“This effort is of critical importance to cities, farms, and small communities that depend on water from the Friant-Kern Canal to recharge our groundwater aquifer,” said Jason Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of Friant Water Authority. “Although delaying passage of this bill until next year was not the outcome we were hoping for, we remain committed to working towards creating a successful partnership for funding, and Senator Hurtado’s efforts will be critical toward our success.”

The bill will be reconsidered in 2020.

About Senator Melissa Hurtado

Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) represents the 14th Senate district in California, which includes cities in Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties. Senator Hurtado was born in Fresno, California and raised in the City of Sanger.