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Bill Would Combat Flood Risk From Melting Snowpack
Josh Harder
Congressman Josh Harder

With temperatures set to exceed 100 degrees this week, the melting snowpack from historic winter storms poses a major flood threat to the Central Valley.

California’s snowpack reached record-high levels this year and Representative Josh Harder has introduced a bill to address the flood risk created by melting overflowing snowpack. The Flood Prevention and Snowpack Management Act would require a task force to be assembled the day after California’s snowpack reaches 150 percent of the normal level. With California experiencing record-breaking levels of rain and snow this year and another heat wave approaching, the Central Valley is at risk for severe flooding.

“San Joaquin families are still dealing with flood damage from the storms and heavy rain earlier this year, and now we’re facing the same risk again – this time, from melting snowpack,” said Rep. Harder. “The Central Valley is extremely vulnerable to flooding. After so much drought, we all appreciate how valuable water is, but we need solutions to make sure the water is being stored and going to good use – not filling up people’s living rooms. My bill will help us combat flood risks and speed up water storage projects, but as the temperature rises and the overflowing snowpack melts, we need to be ready.”

Rep. Harder’s bill would require the task force to take action within 90 days – specifically, the task force would be required to: Examine the risks posed by the snowpack; identify actions to mitigate flood risks; and expedite water storage projects.

Earlier this year when parts of San Joaquin County were hit with severe flooding, Rep. Harder fought to make residents eligible for assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Since then, Harder has continued to press FEMA to do better and streamline their process so residents can get the help they need when they need it.

The new flood mitigation efforts to protect people, crops, and wildlife come at a critical moment as California’s snowpack has set records this year. According to a recent annual risk assessment, 92 percent of properties and 97 percent of commercial buildings in the City of Stockton are at risk during a flood. Melting snowpack could have catastrophic effects in the Central Valley and Harder’s bill aims to reduce those risks.