Congressman DeSaulnier Successfully Passes Legislation to Make Safety Improvements to Contra Costa Canal

September 13, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) announced that his bill to improve the Contra Costa Canal unanimously passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, and now heads to the Senate for consideration. The Contra Costa Canal Transfer Act (H.R. 6040) would transfer the title of the 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.

“The aging Contra Costa Canal is in need of critical safety and structural improvements to prevent against water leaks, water degradation, and other forms of contamination,” said Congressman Mark DeSaulnier. “By transferring ownership of the canal from the federal government to the Contra Costa Water District, we can help streamline these improvements and revitalize the land surrounding the canal for the enjoyment of local residents. I am pleased that this bill passed with strong bipartisan support, and I look forward to continuing to work with our Senate colleagues to move the transfer forward.”

Built between 1937 and 1948, the Contra Costa Canal delivers water both to homes and businesses throughout Contra Costa County, and also to the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys for irrigation.

Since the Contra Costa Canal has been operational, 81 people have drowned in the canal. The 48-mile canal system is currently open and exposed, but following the transfer, CCWD will work to enclose it in a surface tunnel. H.R. 6040 would help prevent future accidents, limit water contamination, and improve recreation and land use in and around the canal by revitalizing land located in the Concord Naval Weapons Station.

“Gaining title of the Contra Costa Canal is so very important as we look at the future of this critical facility,” said Lisa Borba, President of the Contra Costa Water District’s Board of Directors.  “We thank Congressman DeSaulnier and our representatives for all the work they are doing to keep this bill moving to a successful outcome.”

“The Contra Costa Canal Transfer Act has the Park District’s support and ensures the existing recreation agreement for Contra Loma Regional Park continues and is recognized in the legislation.  We thank Rep. Mark Desaulnier for his outstanding leadership in passing the Contra Costa Canal Transfer Act and continued support for the East Bay Regional Parks,” said Robert Doyle, General Manager, East Bay Regional Park District.

Representatives Mike Thompson (CA-05) and Jerry McNerney (CA-09) are co-sponsors of the bill. Companion legislation was also introduced in the Senate by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.