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Council commends Flora for supporting state funding for regional water supply project
Flora proclamation pic
Assemblymember Heath Flora accepts a proclamation from the Turlock City Council on Tuesday for his efforts that resulted in a potential source of State funding for the surface water treatment plant project. - photo by Photo Contributed

The Turlock City Council presented Assemblymember Heath Flora with a proclamation on Tuesday, recognizing the legislator’s efforts in advocating for State funding for the City’s surface water treatment plant project.

The proclamation commends Flora for “his keen negotiating skills, political acumen and extraordinary effort that resulted in a potential source of State funding that will offset the cost of the water supply project to the citizens of Turlock.”

According to the proclamation, Flora negotiated with Governor Jerry Brown and others in the creation of Senate Bill 5 to make $30 million in funding “tailored to benefit the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority’s Surface Water Treatment Plant.”

“As a Republican in a super minority in the State of California right now, there’s not a lot that we can do. We have to constantly find little ways that we can negotiate and work on things. And this is one of those examples of actually getting something done for our community. It was a project that needed some support and it’s just a privilege to be at the state level to be able to offer the support that we so desperately needed to try and keep everything as low cost as possible for these community members,” said Flora.

For the past 30 years, the City has been working on securing an alternate source of water — treated surface water from the Tuolumne River. Recently, the Cities of Turlock and Ceres, as members of the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority, have started the process of building a plant to deliver treated Tuolumne River water to homes by 2022. Construction of the plant is estimated to cost $288 million.

Senate Bill 5, the Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018, is a ballot-measure bond that will provide $4 billion for parks, open space, natural resources and water infrastructure throughout the state. It will appear on the June 2018 ballot.

SB 5 includes $1.27 billion for clean drinking water, drought preparedness and groundwater protection and $250 million for clean and safe drinking water in regions with inadequate water supplies — including $30 million for grants to regional water supply projects within the San Joaquin River hydrologic unit that diversify local water supplies by providing local surface water to communities that are dependent on contaminated groundwater, reduce municipal groundwater pumping, and benefit agricultural and municipal water supplies.

The bill also provides $1.2 billion for parks and open space, $337 million for watershed protections, $443 million for climate adaptation and resiliency and $767 million for wildlife conservation and state conservancies.