Last night, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed legislation to place a $7.545 billion water bond on the November ballot. The Senate approved the measure 37-0 and the Assembly 77-1. All Northern California Members of the Legislature voted for the bond.
The bond, which will be Proposition 1 on the November ballot, would continuously appropriate $2.7 billion for the public benefits of water storage, and includes funding to promote the restoration and enhancement of habitat for salmon and steelhead, as well as species of birds reliant upon the Pacific Flyway. The bond will also direct much needed funding to projects to improve urban and agricultural water management and to increase groundwater sustainability for safe drinking water supplies.
“This is an important day for Northern California and builds momentum to better prepare California for current water needs and future droughts,” said Bryce Lundberg, Chairman of NCWA. “Governor Brown and the California Legislature, by placing the water bond on the November 2014 ballot, have shown tremendous bipartisan leadership from all parts of the state, by allowing the voters to make an important and substantial investment in California’s water future. These three dry years have shown us in very vivid terms that California needs more water—not just improved sharing–to assure water for our cities, rural communities, farms, birds, fish and recreation during these critical times.”
“With California facing its most challenging drought ever, the time is right for creative new water infrastructure to provide jobs and water security,” added Fritz Durst, the Sites Project Authority Chair and a farmer and conservationist in the Valley. “The water bond will help Sites Reservoir provide additional nourishment and sustenance from the fields, habitats for migrating fish and the Pacific Flyway, and a special quality of life in the Sacramento Valley—while truly helping to achieve the co-equal goals in the Delta for water reliability and the environment. Construction of Sites Reservoir will improve statewide water reliability in a manner that protects and enhance the lifeblood of our economy while also providing the necessary water to conserve our rich wildlife and natural resources.”
The water bond will provide numerous public benefits including water for five National Wildlife Refuges and numerous state wildlife management areas and waterfowl habitat along the Pacific Flyway, open space promotion, and habitat enhancement for salmon and other endangered aquatic and terrestrial species.
“The Sacramento Valley is on the leading edge of ecological and economic sustainability, which is all dependent upon new and improved water supplies as the lifeblood,” added Bryce Lundberg. “We need new smart storage in California—the current drought has highlighted the importance and value of surface water storage during these critical times for all of California. The water bond is an important step forward by Governor Brown and the Legislature to provide water for cities, rural communities, farms, fish and birds.”