Congressman David Valadao of Hanford Friday introduced legislation in the United States House of Representatives to improve water storage capabilities in California.
HR 2749, the Dam Authorization, Maintenance and Safety (DAMS) Act, amends the Reclamation of Safety of Dams Act of 1978 to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to develop additional project benefits if certain provisions are met.
The average age of the 84,000 dams in the United States is 52 years old. In order to avoid dam failures, which would cause substantial economic damage, and more importantly, loss of human life, significant investment and regular maintenance is necessary.
Under current law, the Bureau of Reclamation may only identify dam repairs and modifications which result from “new hydrologic or seismic data” or those actions that are “deemed necessary for safety purposes.” The Secretary of the Interior is not allowed to authorize additional assessments of the dam unrelated to the qualifying issue, meaning repairs or modifications resulting from normal deterioration or lack of maintenance are prohibited.
If such a repair or modification was identified by the Bureau of Reclamation, Rep. Valadao’s legislation would allow the Secretary of the Interior to not only address the specific issue, but to also evaluate whether additional modifications could be made to the dam facility to increase water storage capacity.The bill would allow the bureau to take proactive measures to maintain and improve our national water infrastructure more efficiently, preserving resources and taxpayer dollars. In doing so, this would increase California’s water storage capabilities.
“California’s water crisis is a multi-faceted issue caused by naturally occurring weather patterns, destructive environmental regulations and burdensome government bureaucracy.” said Rep. Valadao. “While government cannot make it rain, congress can expand our water infrastructure and storage to ensure a reliable supply for future years.”
The bill was introduced by Valadao, with Congressman Jim Costa as the Democratic lead. Original co-sponsors of the legislation include Representatives Ken Calvert, Paul Cook, Kevin Cramer, Rodney Davis, Jeff Denham, Darrell Issa, Stephen Knight, Cynthia Lummis, Kevin McCarthy, Tom McClintock, Devin Nunes, Dana Rohrabacher, Edward Royce, Greg Walden and Mimi Walters.