WALNUT GROVE, CA – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), a Member of the House Committee on Natural Resources and former Deputy Secretary of the Interior, praised the Coalition to Support Near Term Delta Projects on reaching an agreement for 43 projects to help meet California's water needs. The Congressman forcefully advocated for several initiatives that the group presented, including crucial levee improvements to prevent a flood, water recycling, and the Rio Vista Estuarine Research Station (RVERS).
The RVERS project would consolidate 160 Delta-focused agency employees into a new scientific research and monitoring station on 10 acres of a former Army base located on the Sacramento River. This consolidation will enhance opportunities for first-class collaborative scientific partnerships, while improving efficiency and reducing costs over time.
"The RVERS project will give Rio Vista jobs, needed revenue, and help restore our local economy," said Rio Vista Mayor Jan Vick. "It will also create an important state and federal Delta research center. Congressman Garamendi has been instrumental in bringing all the parties together and moving this very important project forward. Without the Congressman's help, we would not be where we are today in the process."
"Congressman Garamendi's support was absolutely essential in helping develop the Rio Vista Estuarine Research Station to a point that it could be included in Delta Near Term Projects," said David Okita, General Manager for the Solano County Water Agency. "The Research Station is important for the Delta and for the local economy."
"As with the baseball playoffs, sometimes you have to play small-ball, focusing on small but very important steps, before hitting a home run," said Congressman Garamendi. "I want to thank the Coalition to Support Near Term Delta Projects for employing an inclusive approach and reaching agreement on projects to help all Californians use our most precious resource: water."
Congressman Garamendi also recently introduced the SAFE Levee Act
(H.R. 6484) to require a rigorous study of the statewide costs and benefits of the Peripheral Tunnel proposal and to authorize a stream of federal funding for Delta levee improvements, such as those proposed by the group.
Greg Gartrell, Assistant General Manager at the Contra Costa Water District and one of the signatories of the agreement, added, "Contra Costa Water District has been a strong advocate for immediate action on projects that improve Delta levees, water quality, supply reliability and the ecosystem. The District is very pleased to be joining with the other supporters of this effort to move these important projects forward."
Garamendi continued, "It is my hope that this compact will encourage a collaborative approach toward overcoming the remaining challenges in California water management."
For decades, Garamendi has encouraged a comprehensive plan that emphasizes water storage, recycling, conservation, habitat restoration, and levee improvements.