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IID Lends Support for Legislative Bills

-Editorial

The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors adopted positions in support of federal and state bills that have a direct impact on water issues. This action took place at their July 26 meeting.

IID’s Federal and State Legislative Committees discussed various priority bills and their potential impact on the district or its operations.

S.2162 (Feinstein) Support to Rehydrate the Environment, Agriculture, and Municipalities Act (STREAM Act).

This bill would authorize water infrastructure funding and provide programmatic authorizations for California’s non-Federal Bureau of Reclamation water projects. The provisions in the STREAM Act will address the need for funding for surface water storage projects, environmental restoration projects, and other critical water infrastructure. Furthermore, the STREAM Act will allow the Department of the Interior to provide funding to construct certain permanent features to implement emergency drought relief projects.

The STREAM Act would authorize $750 million for surface and groundwater storage and conveyance projects. It would authorize grants for storage and conveyance projects that include environmental benefits, drinking water benefits for disadvantaged communities, or other public benefits either as part of the project design or as part of a watershed restoration plan adopted together with the project.

It will have low-interest loans if they build storage and conveyance projects that solely provide irrigation and general municipal and industrial water supply benefits. Grandfathers’ storage projects receive construction funding from the $1.15 billion provided for storage in the bipartisan infrastructure law so they can receive storage funds authorized under this bill and they do not further authorization to complete construction.

Senate Bill 867 (Allen) Drought, Flood, and Water Resilience, Wildfire and Forest Resilience, Coastal Resilience, Extreme Heat Mitigation, Biodiversity and Nature-Based Climate Solutions, Climate Smart Agriculture, Park Creation and Outdoor Access, and Clean Energy Bond Act of 2024

This bill would authorize a $15.5 billion climate resilience bond be placed before voters at a future election. If passed by the voters, this bond will provide funding for projects and programs to help reduce the severity, frequency, and impacts of climate-related natural disasters including fires, drought, flood, and ware resilience programs. Of the funds available, $100 million will be available to implement the Salton Sea Management Program 10-year plan to provide air quality, public health, and habitat benefits.

The State Legislative Committee and staff propose that collaboration between the office of Senator Allen and Stakeholders take place to amend the bill as follows:

Ensure that $400 million be available to implement the Salton Sea Management Program 10-year plan as reflected in AB 1567, the climate bond authored by Assembly member Eduardo Garcia.  

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