U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) was scheduled to meet Tuesday, Nov. 27 with Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Rickey “R.D.” James, along with Reps. David Valadao (CA-21), Jim Costa (CA-16) and John Garamendi (CA-03), to announce a $449 million grant for the Sites Reservoir Project to bring more water storage to the Central Valley. This major announcement follows visits to the area by each of these key administration officials at Rep. Denham’s request to hear directly from locals and see the lack of adequate water storage firsthand.
In addition to announcing the grant, the group was slated to host a roundtable discussion and receive a briefing on the status of the Sites Reservoir Project. The group was also scheduled to tour Strain Ranches and host a roundtable discussion with California producers. First stop of the day on Tuesday was scheduled at the Sites Project Authority Office in Maxwell, CA followed by the tour and roundtable with California producers at Strain Ranches in Arbuckle.
At Rep. Denham’s request, Secretary Perdue, Secretary Zinke and Assistant Secretary James, in addition to Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, have visited the Central Valley over the past few months and have been actively engaged in policies to increase water storage for the state’s farmers and residents.
As a result of these efforts, President Trump signed a presidential memorandum in October to address hydroelectric relicensing, like what is currently happening at Don Pedro, and require agencies to consider local plans, like the Tuolumne River Management Plan developed by Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts, to avoid catastrophic water grabs at the hands of Sacramento Bureaucrats.
During his time in Congress, Rep. Denham has consistently fought to protect the Central Valley’s water interests. His New WATER Act (H.R. 434) was signed into law in late October as part of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (WRDA) to provide financing for water projects throughout the western United States, including new reservoirs, below ground storage projects, recycling and desalination projects. The law supports large projects like enlargement of Shasta Dam, construction of Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat Dam, and expanding Los Vaqueros Reservoir. Additionally, Rep. Denham passed an amendment through the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year to stop Sacramento’s planned water grab by prohibiting federal agencies from participating in the state’s plan to deplete the federally owned New Melones Reservoir.
Denham represents California’s 10th congressional district, which includes Stanislaus County and a portion of San Joaquin County. He is the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials and also serves on the House Committees on Agriculture and Natural Resources.