Election day is just around the corner, next Tuesday, November 4th. Some big measures line the ballot this year, one of which seeks to address the water shortage emergency California currently is in.
The proposition allows the state to borrow $7.5 billion in bonds to fund water resource management projects throughout the state. The new, comprehensive plan would amend the current statewide water plan to reflect the demands of the state's ongoing drought. In the Assembly, the measure passed 77 to 2 and unanimously in the Senate. Now it is up to the public to decide whether to enact it or not.
Key areas the proposition would fund:
Regional Water Reliability
Water Storage Capacity
Safe Drinking Water
Watersheds and Flood Management
Those in favor of Proposition 1 claim this measure is crucial to creating much needed sustainable and responsible drought relief infrastructure for the state. In California, most water management plans are done at the local level. Water districts, cities, and counties therefore would have a large say in their water conservation and usage with this new water plan. This Proposition, supporters say, will bring more money into local jurisdictions for water resource management.
Affiliations that support Prop 1 include: Association of California Water Agencies, California Chamber of Commerce, Natural Resources Defense Council, US Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.
Those against Proposition 1 claim it has some good ideas, but is fiscally irresponsible. Opposers criticize the 36% dedicated to surface water storage to be far too much, resulting in massive dam building projects that will not work to relieve the drought, create new water resources, or promote local community water sustainability.
California mostly sources its water from rivers and snowmelt from the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Groundwater is also a largely used resource, though primarily relied upon during dry years.
For more background on California's groundwater, refer to a previous CWS blog post that includes some NASA images of groundwater loss as a result of the drought.
For more background on the drought, see past CWS blog posts on the topic by clicking the blue underlined link above tagged “Water Current Events.”