Senator Padilla Secures Water Infrastructure Wins for California

Key California infrastructure projects passed in the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, applauded the passage of the bipartisan Water Resources Development Act of 2022 (WRDA), which was included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (NDAA). The legislation includes several projects championed by Padilla to authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works activities, including flood control and dam safety, navigation, and ecosystem restoration throughout California and across the country.

“Now more than ever, Californians depend on reliable and resilient water infrastructure. This legislation will help protect our communities and ensure we are strategically conserving our most precious resource,” said Senator Padilla. “I’m pleased to see this bill include critical projects for California communities facing increasingly higher risks of catastrophic floods and rising sea levels, as well as robust investments in our ports, that are essential to the supply chain and to California’s leadership as the fourth largest global economy.”

Padilla secured key provisions in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 to:

  • Increase authorization levels for water and sewer projects, referred to as “environmental infrastructure,” in counties and cities across the State, including for water recycling, groundwater recharge, and stormwater management;
  • Construct coastal levees and restore tidal marsh habitats to protect residents and businesses along the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline;
  • Construct and modernize levees along the American River and Lower San Joaquin River;
  • Improve and construct new levees along the Lower Cache Creek to protect schools, utilities, and communities along the I-5 in Yolo County;
  • Prevent coastal flooding in high seismic hazard areas, including the Port of San Francisco;
  • Deauthorize federal portions of the Los Angeles County Drainage Area to better facilitate continued operation by Los Angeles County;
  • Restore more than 600 acres of habitat along the Santa Ana River and protect groundwater water within San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange counties within the Prado Basin;
  • Support the planning, design, and construction of urban stormwater treatment facilities, watershed science, and environmental restoration in Lake Tahoe;
  • Construct the Port of Long Beach deep draft navigation project to improve navigation and safety for large shipping vessels;
  • Update levee capacity for the San Diego River Levee System;
  • Include the Feinstein/Padilla/Speier “San Francisco Bay Restoration Act,” which would authorize the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s San Francisco Bay Program to help clean up the San Francisco Bay.

WRDA 2022 is a biennial bill that includes much-needed investments in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects and programs across the country. For the first time since 2007, the bill authorizes new environmental infrastructure projects and modifies existing authorizations. It also directs the Corps to expedite the completion of several ongoing studies and projects that are critical to addressing coastal and inland flood risk mitigation, navigation, and ecosystem restoration.

With both chambers having passed the conferenced version of WRDA, the bill will now head to President Biden’s desk for signature.

The Senate-passed WRDA legislation will be the legislative vehicle for the passage of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The full text of the NDAA is available here. The final WRDA provisions negotiated between the House of Representatives and the Senate appear in Division H, Title LXXXI (starting on page 3,160).

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