The Friant-Kern Canal. File photo.

published on December 22, 2020 - 1:25 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

The Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project will receive $206 million in funding as part of the Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations and Covid-relief package passed by Congress.

Once signed by President Trump, the appropriations would provide timely funding for the project as construction is expected to start in early 2021.

Earlier this year, the Department of the Interior initially requested $71 million in project funding, which is authorized under the Water Infrastructure Investments for the Nation Act of 2016 (WIIN Act), as part of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 recommended projects list required by the WIIN Act. But, in early December, the Department augmented that request by $135 million for a total budget request of $206 million, which is nearly half of the Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project’s estimated cost of about $500 million.

“Since we began working to restore the Friant-Kern Canal’s capacity more than three years ago, one of the most common questions we’ve been asked is how we plan to finance the project, and whether the Federal government would be a meaningful funding partner for fixing this Federally-owned facility,” said Friant Water Authority (FWA) Chief Executive Officer Jason Phillips. “Today, the answer to that question became clear. Once again, we’ve seen the President and his administration prioritize and follow through with actions and projects that will deliver actual water supply benefits for the San Joaquin Valley’s communities and farms.”

“Speaking on behalf of our members and the more than 15,000 farms and dozens of communities who rely on the Friant-Kern Canal, I want to extend deep gratitude and appreciation to our representatives in Congress, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Devin Nunes, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Jim Costa and Rep. TJ Cox for their work to advocate for and advance the needs of the Friant Division,” said FWA Chairman Chris Tantau. “This funding will keep FWA on schedule to award a construction contract and begin implementing the project early next year.”

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