Despite the support of a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, businesses and local agencies, legislative Democrats in Sacramento rejected funding to repair the state’s water infrastructure that was severely damaged as a result of the failure of the Oroville Dam spillway.
Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama) and Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) led an alliance to obtain money in the state budget to repair California’s critical levees in Northern California, which are used by the State Water Project to deliver water to the Central Valley and Southern California.
“The failure to prioritize our state’s infrastructure is incomprehensible,” said Senator Jim Nielsen. “Millions of Californians depend on water that passes through these critical water conveyance systems.”
Senator Nielsen added, “Our request would have provided for an investment in the state’s water infrastructure, which would protect lives, preserve property and save the state billions of dollars in emergency repairs.”
On February 7, the Oroville Dam spillway failed causing nearly 200,000 people and their pets to be evacuated. In addition, water system levees suffered significant damage that may prevent them from functioning properly in the next high-water event unless emergency repairs are completed this year.
The $100 million funding request was also supported by Senators Bill Dodd (D-Napa), Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and the following organizations*:
Ø Central Valley Flood Control Association
Ø Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency
Ø Northern California Water Association
Ø Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Ø Western Growers
Ø California Farm Bureau Federation
Ø Yuba Flood Control District
Ø Yuba City
Ø Operating Engineers Local 3