SACRAMENTO — Senate Bill 559, authored by Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger), representing the 14th Senate District, advanced Tuesday through the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water by 7-0 vote.
SB 559 is principal co-authored by Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno), Assemblymember Devon Mathis (R-Visalia), Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno), and Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), today
The legislation, which received bipartisan support, would invest $400 million from the State’s general fund towards the Friant-Kern Canal, one of the Central Valley’s most critical water delivery facilities.
“I am pleased by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water’s commitment to support legislation that’ll restore access to clean water for California’s most vulnerable communities. Although this is only the first step to ensuring that SB 559 becomes a reality, we could not have accomplished this milestone without community advocates like Doug Deflitch of the Friant Water Authority and Bryce McAteer of the Eastern Tule Groundwater Suitability Agency who provided incredible testimonies today,” Hurtado said. “This bill addresses community issues beyond just access to clean water. SB 559 is an investment that will protect the health of the Central Valley’s economy, sustain groundwater resources, and preserve America’s breadbasket.”
“For 70 years, the Friant-Kern Canal has been the backbone of water delivery and regional groundwater sustainability on the San Joaquin Valley’s eastside,” said Jason Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of Friant Water Authority. “The canal’s conveyance problem is coming at the time when we need to be expanding, not contracting, our ability to deliver water for recharge to meet the state’s goals under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Without SB 559, our communities will face even more severe real economic consequences, beginning next year when the Valley starts implementing groundwater sustainability plans.”