Federal Officials Moving Forward on Friant-Kern Canal Repairs

Brian German Agri-Business, Water

Friant-Kern Canal Repairs

The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) is moving forward on critically important Friant-Kern Canal repairs. A Record of Decision was signed last month authorizing repairs to a 33-mile portion of the water conveyance system. The move comes after the Trump Administration invested nearly $5 million to begin working on the Friant Kern Canal Project. Areas of the canal have been subsiding at an average of one inch every month for the past six years.

“Since day one, the Trump Administration directed Reclamation to modernize infrastructure to ensure water reliability for California’s farms and communities,” BOR Commissioner Brenda Burman said in a news release. “I am delighted Reclamation reached another of the Administration’s critical milestones for the San Joaquin Valley and look forward to seeing shovels in the ground in the near future.”

The bipartisan Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act played a significant role in helping the project advance. The WIIN Act established a process for water infrastructure projects to receive federal assistance of up to 50 percent of the overall cost. Repairs will enable more reliable water delivery to 250,000 residents and more than a million acres of farmland.

“For the first time in decades, the federal government has provided the Valley steadfast support against the radical environmentalists’ crusade against agriculture,” said Congressman Devin Nunes. “Today’s decision to advance this crucial infrastructure project — the Friant-Kern Canal restoration — is yet another historic victory for the Central Valley.”

The subsidence over the past several years has caused the canal to lose approximately 60 percent of its overall capacity. Multiple attempts to make important Friant-Kern Canal repairs have been undertaken at both the state and federal levels. Most recently, an effort led by Senator Melissa Hurtado was vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom. Senate Bill 559 initially sought $400 million for infrastructure repairs when it was originally drafted.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West