U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) voted with the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to unanimously pass the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which includes Rep. Denham’s language mandating that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) include Reclamation District 17 (RD-17) in the final Lower San Joaquin River Feasibility Study expected later this year. The vote came on May 25.
“The decision by the Army Corps to deny future flood protection to RD-17 is baffling to me,” said Rep. Denham. “In addition to the 47,000 residents, this site will be home to the new VA hospital that is long overdue for the Valley’s veterans.”
Rep. Denham has been a vocal critic of the USACE’s intention to omit RD-17, which is currently home to nearly 47,000 residents, 10,700 dwelling units and 180 non-residential properties, from its flood protection plans. RD-17 also includes the County Hospital, 28 special needs facilities, nine fire stations, eight police stations, eight schools, the County Jail, the Sharpe Army Depot and a VA clinic. The USACE has consistently opposed new levees to protect RD-17 and has denied the district’s inclusion in the final feasibility report, which outlines infrastructure improvements to assist in flood risk management efforts.
Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) said, “I am pleased that language to address flood concerns in RD-17 was included in the Water Resources Development Act. I represent a large portion of the Delta region – home to thousands of miles of levees. Many of the families and businesses in my district are within flood plains, and we must do everything possible to protect them. Including RD-17 within the San Joaquin River Feasibility Study will help guard against flood risk throughout San Joaquin County and ensure that critical projects like the new VA facility move forward. I look forward to continue working with Congressman Denham and my colleagues on this important issue for our region.”