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Assembly Water Committee passes legislation to help create water storage
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The  Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife committee passed Assembly Bill 2551 on Tuesday, authored by Assembly members James Gallagher (R- Plumas Lake), Kristin Olsen (R- Riverbank), and Rudy Salas (D- Bakersfield). 

“We cannot meet the needs of Californians without increasing our state’s water supply,” said Olsen, who is running for the District 1 seat on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors.  “This bill provides an important tool that will allow long-awaited storage projects to finally be built.”

AB 2551 would help California build water storage projects by allowing projects that receive funding from the 2014 Water Bond to utilize alternative delivery methods.  This will provide greater flexibility in awarding project contracts and would help projects be completed in a more timely and cost-effective manner.  

“Authorizing these water storage projects to utilize alternative delivery methods such as design-build instead of the traditional design-bid-build will help expedite these projects and increase our water storage capacity.  Authorizing alternative methods of contracting also gives these projects the needed flexibility to ensure the best possible use of the public’s money,” said Assemblyman Gallagher.

In November, 2014, Californians overwhelmingly passed Proposition 1, the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014.  This water bond included $2.7 billion in funding for water storage projects.  However, current law severely restricts the types of contracting public works projects may utilize.  This could slow down construction and increase costs of crucial water storage projects that receive this funding. 

The committee approved the legislation on a 13 to 1 vote.  AB 2551 now heads to the Assembly Appropriations committee for further consideration.