Congressman John Garamendi introduced the “Orland Project Transfer Act” last week at the request of the Orland Water Users’ Association – which operates and maintains the project, according to a press release. 

Congressman Doug LaMalfa is an original cosponsor of the legislation. 

The bill would transfer legal ownership of the Orland Project – encompassing the East Park Reservoir in Colusa County, the Stony Gorge Reservoir in Glenn County and approximately 17 miles of irrigation canals – from the federal Bureau of Reclamation to a to-be established local public agency. 

The Orland Water Users’ Association would be required to first re-incorporate as a local public agency under California state law, such as a water or irrigation district, to assume full legal ownership of the Orland Project under the bill, at no expense to taxpayers, according to the press release. 

“Built by the federal government over a century ago, the Orland Project has been operated and maintained locally since 1958 by the Water Users’ Association, which repaid its share of the construction costs in 1989. The Orland Water Users’ Association believes it is now ready to assume legal ownership of the Orland Project, and I am thrilled to work to transfer the project to full local control,” Garamendi said. “This bipartisan bill would also provide new investment to bring the Stony Gorge and East Park Dams up to California’s stringent safety standards and make other improvements at the Orland Project at no cost to taxpayers. I expect the Water Users’ Association to work with the mayor of Orland to address ongoing public safety concerns presented by the uncovered irrigation canals in the city.”

The “Orland Project Transfer Act” would provide new dedicated funding to make capital improvements to the Orland Project at no expense to taxpayers, according to the press release. 

The bill would allow the local public agency to keep proceeds from sales of “excess” water from the Orland Project to bring the Stony Gorge and East Park Dams up to the California Department of Water Resources’ dam safety standards – which are more stringent than the federal standards reclamation projects are required to meet. 

The bill would also provide a newly-available funding source to address public safety concerns presented by uncovered irrigation canals in the city of Orland. 

To view the bill’s text, visit https://bit.ly/3dhhaGl.

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