Congressman DeSaulnier Secures Funding and Introduces Bill to Upgrade Contra Costa’s Water Infrastructure

June 8, 2018
Press Release
Initiatives Will Help Improve Safety, Recreation, and Concord Naval Weapons Station Land Use

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) successfully secured funding for the maintenance and repair of existing fish screen equipment located in the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta in the House Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2019 (H.R. 5895). By improving fish screens in the Bay-Delta Watershed, migrating fish, including the endangered species of Chinook salmon, steelhead, and Delta Smelt, will be better protected from being drawn into water supply systems. H.R. 5895 passed in the U.S. House of Representative by a vote of 235-to-179.

“Maintaining and repairing our local water infrastructure is essential to protecting the ecosystems in the Delta. Fish screens help reduce the impact of our water supply systems on wildlife, especially the endangered species that migrate through the Delta,” said Congressman DeSaulnier. “In addition, to allow for necessary safety improvements and to help revitalize land for recreation and development, ownership of the Contra Costa Canal should be transferred from the federal government to the Contra Costa Water District.”

To assist with canal improvements, Congressman DeSaulnier introduced the Contra Costa Canal Transfer Act (H.R. 6040), which would transfer the title of the Contra Costa canal system from the Bureau of Reclamation to the Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) to allow for the CCWD to make necessary safety improvements to the canal. Since the Contra Costa Canal has been operational, 81 people have drowned in the canal. The 48-mile canal system is currently exposed, but following the transfer CCWD will work to enclose it in a surface tunnel. H.R. 6040 would help prevent these accidents improve recreation and land use in and around the canal system by revitalizing land located in the Concord Naval Weapons Station.

“The canal system has reliably served the people and businesses of our community for 80 years,” said Lisa Borba, Board President of Contra Costa Water District. “We appreciate the leadership from Senator Feinstein, Senator Harris and Congressman DeSaulnier to help us gain ownership of a system we can modernize to serve our customers for the next century.”

Congressman DeSaulnier was joined in introducing the Contra Costa Canal Transfer Act with Representatives Mike Thompson (CA-05) and Jerry McNerney (CA-09). Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris. The bill also has the support of the East Bay Regional Parks District.