KRCD Joins Over 200 Water and Agricultural Organizations Urging Congress and the White House to Address Aging Water Infrastructure

A national coalition of over 200 agricultural organizations and urban and rural water districts urged President-elect Joe Biden and congressional leadership to address aging Western water infrastructure in any potential infrastructure or economic recovery package. Kings River Conservation District was among the organizations to sign on to the letter.

Click here for the letter to President-elect Joe Biden and click here for the letter to congressional leadership. Click here for a list of signatories to the letter.

The coalition includes organizations from 15 states that collectively represent $120 billion in agricultural production, nearly one-third of all agricultural production in the country, and tens of millions of urban and rural water users.

In separate letters to President-elect Biden and congressional leaders, the coalition said existing Western water infrastructure is in desperate need of rehabilitation and improvement. Most of the federal water projects in the West were built more than 50 years ago and were not designed with the present and future population demands and climate conditions in mind. Without immediate attention, the coalition said, the Western water system will quickly prove inadequate to meet the needs of urban and rural users and the environment.

The coalition encouraged the federal government to invest in a diversified water management portfolio that enhances water supply and quality for urban and environmental uses while keeping water flowing to Western farms. Beyond financial support, the coalition also called on the federal government to ensure the timely construction of water projects by streamlining the regulation and permitting processes.

KRCD’s service area is home to 1.2 million acres of irrigated agriculture, rural disadvantaged communities, and businesses all relying on a secure water supply. Investment in water infrastructure is needed to meet water demand while also working toward and maintaining sustainability of groundwater supplies. As hydrological conditions in the West change and populations continue to expand, failure to address water security has become increasingly critical.

The coalition letter was spearheaded by the California Farm Bureau Federation, Family Farm Alliance, Association of California Water Agencies, National Water Resources Association, and Western Growers.

KRCD Receives Over $1 million from Watershed Restoration Grant for Important Levee Work Along the Kings River

On November 13, Kings River Conservation District and our co-applicant Tulare Lake Resource Conservation District received $1,165,644 awarded by the California Department of Conservation for the Kings River Conservation District Channel Improvement Project. This funding was given to work with the California Conservation Corps Fresno to clear overgrown brush and remove invasive plant species along the banks and channels of the Kings River.

Overgrown brush and spreading of invasive species combined with illegal dumping of trash and debris that gets deposited into the river during flood events are a threat to communities and farmlands near the Kings River. That’s where this project comes in. The Department of Conservation shared details about the Kings River Conservation District Channel Improvement Project in their press release:

Work will include the removal of invasive species, like Arundo (false bamboo) along the river bank and channel.

The partners will remove invasive species and debris from the 2,500 acres of levees and riverbank along the Kings River, allowing efficient conveyance of flood water. Woody species cleared from the levee system will be chipped and applied as mulch, saving an estimated 1,610 tons of carbon emissions. Planting native species will provide flood protection to adjacent farmlands, help maintain river levees to protect farmland from inundation, and allow the efficient delivery of water to downstream users.

These conservation grants for watershed restoration and conservation projects are the first of their kind. Including KRCD’s award, grants totaling up to $2 million were awarded to three additional recipients in Marin, Sonoma, and Ventura counties. KRCD is honored and excited to use this funding to carry out this channel improvement project, protect our natural resources, and enhance the protection of surrounding communities and farmlands from flooding.