Californians will vote on a $7.545 billion water bond to invest in water storage, infrastructure and the ecosystem to prevent saltwater intrusion after Governor Jerry Brown struck a deal with state lawmakers including bond co-authors State Assemblymember Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) and State Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres).
Originally the state legislature pushed for an $11.1 billion bond and Gov. Brown proposed a $6 billion plan.
The compromise of the $7.545 billion bond, which is known as the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014, will direct $2.7 billion for water storage like dams and reservoirs, $1.5 billion for watershed restoration projects, $900 million to treat groundwater for drinking and $725 million for water recycling.
This water bond is seen as critical to improving California’s water system and fighting the devastating effects of the current record drought, as well as future droughts that will undoubtedly plague the state.
“This bond is a win for Californians across the state because it makes serious investments in real water storage projects that will provide for generations to come,” Olsen said in a statement.
“The measure includes significantly stronger Delta protections than the 2009 bond, which is crucial to families, farmers and businesses in my district and crucial to the bond’s passage in November.”
In 2009 a bond for $11 billion was twice pulled from the ballot due to low voter approval ratings.
In a statement Cannella said this bond measure “is nearly one-third less than the size of the old bond yet retains 90% of the funding for new storage. The funding will allow for the construction of Temperance Flat and Sites Reservoirs. This bond also contains the necessary funding for groundwater and clean drinking water, two major issues facing the Central Coast and Central Valley.”
Temperance Flat Dam is a proposed project on the San Joaquin River west of Auberry, with the main purpose to supplement storage capacity in the upper San Joaquin River basin.
Sites Reservoir has long been planned since the 1950s but unfunded for Colusa County, to add to Northern California’s three existing reservoirs, Shasta, Oroville and Folsom.