As the severity of the ongoing drought continually impacts the lives of Californians across the state, politicians and citizens have agreed that not only does the state’s water system need a major fix, but that doing so is not going to be cheap.
In order to help fund the multi-billion dollar projects that lie ahead for the state’s broken water system, several politicians have begun discussing a water bond for the November ballot. If approved to go before voters, the water bond would be the first since 2006 when Prop 84 was passed, authorizing $5.4 billion in spending on water projects.
Although the majority of water bonds put on the November ballot have historically been approved by California voters, the current drought facing the state has resulted in multiple water bond proposals coming forward from various legislators, making compromises and negotiations key to moving forward.
To date, seven water bond proposals have been made, including Senator Anthony Cannella’s (R-Ceres) SB 927. Working alongside Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford), the water bond would spend $3 billion for storage, $2.5 billion on Delta restoration, $1 billion for safe drinking water and $400 million for disadvantaged communities in danger of running out of water.
As the Vice-Chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, Cannella has been working with several legislators as they bring forth water bond proposals and drought solutions.
On Tuesday, the committee held a hearing on AB 1331 – Assemblyman Anthony Rendon’s (D-Lakewood) $6.5 billion water bond proposal that would help protect California in the event of a future drought by funding storage projects. In addition to storage projects, the proposal includes equal spending on projects for clean drinking water, regional water security, Delta sustainability and watershed protection.
“While I appreciate the work Assemblyman Rendon is doing to further his bond proposal, I am unable to support it,” said Cannella following the committee hearing. “The bill does not appropriately address the ongoing problems with California’s water system. Any future water bond must have a funding mechanism that guarantees that large water storage projects will get built.”
Although Rendon says that the water bond is “finely tailored to meet the needs of every region in the state,” Cannella believes that there was not only inadequate funding, but also a lack of appropriations to protect the funds from going towards other projects.
“There must be sufficient funding for new surface storage with a continuous appropriation so that taxpayers are guaranteed the bond money will go to the projects they have voted to support,” said Cannella.
Other water bond proposals include SBX 72, AB 2686, SB 848, AB 1445, and SB 1370. To learn more about each bill, visit www.leginfo.ca.gov.