CA senate bill pushes for canal repairs to save water amid drought

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Central California lawmakers, growers and advocates are calling on the state to invest in canal repairs that they say will help improve water security.

The call for funding comes as the state experiences the third year of drought.

SB 559, known as the State Water Resiliency Act, aims to fix canals that deliver water across Central California fully.

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Currently, $200 million has been allocated in the 2021 and 2022 budgets.

But the bill's author, State Senator Melissa Hurtado of Sanger, said that funding would only cover limited repairs.

"We have broken canals in the state of California. We know that," Hurtado said. "But until full repairs are made we will continue to lose way too much precious water as it travels through the canals. Water we cannot afford to lose in this climate."

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Valley Water is hoping recycled wastewater can be the future of drinking water as California's drought continues to reduce supplies.

Hurtado and the bill's supporters are concerned a lack of water infrastructure could mean growers may have to cut jobs if they can't get enough water. There's also concern that communities would struggle with access to clean drinking water.

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