Legislation introduced by Representative David Valadao seeks to enhance certain aspects of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. The Responsible, No-Cost Extension of Western Water Infrastructure Improvements (RENEW WIIN) Act is Valadao’s first legislative action since his return to Congress. The legislation is designed to extend the general and operations provisions of the WIIN Act.
“The RENEW WIIN Act is a commonsense measure that will serve not only communities and industries that rely on water supplied by California’s two major water projects, but California’s environment,” General Manager of Westlands Water District, Tom Birmingham said in a written statement. “The WIIN Act has worked exactly as envisioned when it was signed by President Barack Obama in 2016. It restored flexibility to operations of the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project, restored water supplies, and resulted in better informed decisions on actions to protect native at-risk fish species. In fact, since enactment of the WIIN Act, returns of listed salmon species have improved dramatically.”
The RENEW WIIN Act would bolster communication related to coordinated operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project. It will broaden the authorization of appropriations for water storage projects if found practicable by the Secretary of the Interior. Water agencies such as the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority, Friant Water Authority, and Irvine Ranch Water District have all expressed support for extensions to the WIIN Act.
“The Act’s provisions – including increased operational flexibility for the Central Valley Project and State Water Project and increased federal investments in water storage, water recycling, and desalination – are all critical components to increasing the resilience of water supplies to our member agencies and the communities and ecosystems reliant on the water they deliver,” said Federico Barajas, Executive Director of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. “The WIIN Act has worked – it has restored operational flexibility and improved protections for native at-risk species – and Congress should act to extend its provisions.”