Senator Padilla’s Address at NCWA Annual Meeting: A Call to Invest in Water Infrastructure

Wednesday, Apr 10th, 2024

We gathered at Sierra Nevada Brewery on March 8 for our Annual Meeting, and we continue to cherish the discussions and insights shared during that event. Among the many highlights of the gathering was a compelling address by Senator Alex Padilla, whose remarks resonated deeply with our shared commitment to safeguarding California’s water resources.

Read the excerpt from Chairman Bryce Lundberg’s introduction and watch Senator Padilla’s address below.

BRYCE LUNDBERG – This past year we lost one of California’s greatest public servants and a good friend to the Sacramento Valley. Senator Dianne Feinstein helped us with Sites Reservoir, fish screens and other salmon projects, the Agreements to Support Healthy Rivers and Landscapes, the completion of the Sacramento River Settlement Contracts, and advancing floodplain reactivation. Importantly, Senator Feinstein served as a mentor to our next U.S. Senator, Alex Padilla, who had hoped to be here today, but is in Washington D.C. attending the State of the Union and Senate session today. Although Senator Padilla could not be here, he has sent a video address. We hope you will watch.

Senator Padilla, we will have a pint for you today in your honor! We look forward to seeing Senator Padilla soon and we truly appreciate his leadership on water issues throughout California. As you heard, Senator Padilla has been a champion for water management in the Sacramento Valley, including safe drinking water, groundwater recharge, and he has been leading the funding for Floodplain Forward. Please thank him when you see him. I also want to acknowledge Roger Gwinn and the Ferguson Group, who represent us in Washington DC, and have been very successful in working with Senator Padilla and across Capitol Hill and the Executive Branch.

We also wanted to share Senator Padilla’s remarks about the appropriations bill that was signed into law last month by the president includes $205.6 million for the Sites Project. “As California rebounds from years of historic megadrought, now is the time to invest in our infrastructure to ensure we are more resilient against future droughts,” said Senator Padilla. “Congress and the federal government continue to step up and fund critical resilience projects like Sites Reservoir, which will increase our water storage capacity so we can take advantage of wet years, like we just experienced, for use in future droughts. Sites Reservoir is an important component of California’s diverse water supply strategy to bolster access to clean drinking water, provide certainty for farmers, and protect our imperiled fish and wildlife. I’m glad to have helped secure this critical funding.”

These were previously appropriated funds under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act) storage program, which provides grants to improve water infrastructure throughout the United States. This funding for Sites is the largest single WIIN Act award for a storage project in history.

Senator Alex Padilla’s video address and his remarks on funding for the Sites Project represent crucial steps toward fortifying California’s water infrastructure, both nature-based solutions and Sites. These developments underscore the importance of investments in ensuring resilience against future droughts. With Senator Padilla’s advocacy and federal support, we move closer to a future where water security is prioritized, benefiting communities, agriculture, and the environment.

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