CALIFORNIA LOOKING TO MAKE A MOVE ON FUNDING WATER STORAGE
From California Water Alliance: "Supporters of a proposed ballot measure to reallocate funds for [California] Governor Brown's high-speed rail project and a prior water bond measure to new water storage projects received the measure's official title and summary today from California Attorney General Kamala Harris, opening the door to start signature-gathering efforts for the initiative with voters." A potential water priorities ballot measure which would supposedly cost the state no extra funds to implement has been introduced by CA State Senator Bob Huff and Board of Equalization vice-chair George Runner and sponsored by the California Water Alliance (CalWA) that redirects almost $10.7 billion from a controversial High-Speed Rail Project as well as a water bond measure to new ways of dealing with the state's growing water shortage. CalWA executive director Aubrey Bettencourt reinforced the group's strong support for this measure:
"It's a rare chance for the people of California to tell the state to get its priorities straight. High Speed Rail is an unpopular boondoggle and a reliable water supply means more to the people and economy of this state in light of the current drought than ever before. Californians want to prepare the state for inevitable new droughts yet to come."
This move would benefit not just people, but wildlife refuges and habitats throughout the state, according to Bettencourt. CalWA says this measure would provide the state of California with five critical benefits:
- It moves people and food security to first in line for using water by making them the top priorities in California's Constitution.
- It redirects $10.8 billion previously approved by voters for High Speed Rail and Water Storage to new water facilities that will serve Californians for a lifetime.
- It puts project selection and operating decisions in the hands of elected regional water experts equally representing all areas of the state rather than leaving them to political appointees with agendas contrary to what a majority of people want or to decisions and interpretations by the courts.
- It protects and preserves the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta Estuary with co-equal goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem.
- It creates no new debt or additional tax burdens for the State or to taxpayers.
You can read the full proposed initiative here. For more on the California drought situation and how this measure would affect it, visit California Water Alliance and California Water 4 All. Also, please consult our previous articles on the California water crisis for more background on the matter.