A bill moving through the state legislature looks to make repairs and enhancements to the Friant-Kern Canal. Senate Bill 559 was authored by Senator Melissa Hurtado, representing the 14th Senate District, and was co-authored by several other San Joaquin Valley lawmakers. The legislation recently advanced through the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water with a vote of 7 to 0.
The canal moves water south from Friant Dam through 152 miles of canal to the Kern River in Bakersfield. The canal has been shown to be suffering from subsidence issues as a result of over drafted groundwater basins. The bill seeks to appropriate $400 million dollars from the General Fund to require the Department of Water Resources to grant the funding to the Friant Water Authority to restore the Friant-Kern Canal to its full capacity. Along with receiving bipartisan support, the legislation is also being supported by both the Fresno and Tulare County Farm Bureaus, as well as the Western Growers Association.