Padilla Delivers Keynote Address at Southern California Water Summit, Pushes for Funding to Improve Clean and Reliable Water for All Californians

WATCH: Padilla highlights water affordability and infrastructure challenges and initiatives

COSTA MESA, CA — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife, delivered the keynote address at the 2024 Water Infrastructure Networking Summit (WINS) alongside water leaders from across Southern California. WINS hosted water industry leaders, water advocates, private entities, and elected officials from five Southern California counties — Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties — to advance solutions to California’s water infrastructure challenges.

The summit’s theme of “The New Politics of Water” aimed to foster collaboration among key decision-makers to navigate challenges and forge solutions to California’s water affordability and infrastructure crises amid rising water rates. The event, convened by the Moulton Niguel Water District, focused on the need to increase water infrastructure investments across California, which have fallen behind transportation, energy, and broadband infrastructure for decades.

“We know that California has long been a pioneer when it comes to water investments, but more can be done to bolster our water infrastructure against the climate crisis and ensure that every resident in Southern California has access to reliable, clean drinking water and sanitation,” said Senator Padilla. “The historic funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law must be a down payment to help us address the challenges before us, because more investment will be needed if we are going to deliver on our commitment to ensure water for all Californians. I’ll continue working collaboratively with our federal, tribal, state, and local partners to ensure that California has the support needed to scale up our efforts and continue to be good stewards of California’s water for future generations.”

“I applaud Senator’s Padilla’s leadership because for decades, water infrastructure projects have fallen behind broadband, transportation and electricity, impacting water affordability, the need to replace aging infrastructure, water conservation issues, and toxic PFAs,” said Joone-Kim Lopez, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer at the Moulton Niguel Water District.

Last year, Padilla was named Chair of the EPW Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife, where he leads federal efforts to improve water resiliency and oversees implementation of the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act. Padilla recently introduced the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) Establishment Act, legislation that would establish a permanent, nationwide water assistance program to help struggling families afford their water bills.

Padilla recently announced $159 million in transformational investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for three large-scale water recycling projects in Southern California. He and Representative Mike Levin (D-Calif.-49) previously introduced the Water Efficiency, Conservation, and Sustainability Act of 2023, bicameral legislation that would authorize $550 million for states, municipalities, water systems, and tribal nations to implement water-efficiency upgrades and establish programs to repair leaks, especially in areas experiencing severe drought and in low-income communities.

Watch Padilla’s full remarks at the summit here.

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