The water storage funding that was recently approved will go a long way in addressing the future water needs of communities throughout California. Multiple years of discussion finally culminated in the California Water Commission’s decision to spend $2.5 billion dollars on eight water storage projects.
“It’s exciting to see for the first time in almost 50 years, real significant investment in storage above and below ground,” said California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross. “It’s a huge step in the right direction.”
The spending approval is one of the largest commitments of state money to be used in the construction of new dams and water storage projects since 1960 when there were fewer than 20 million people living in California. The latest estimate shows the population has nearly doubled over the past 50 years, with 39.78 million people now living in the state.
To meet the water demands of a continually expanding population that is projected to grow by nearly 5 million over the next 12 years, better water infrastructure is going to be required. “Finally, we’re moving in the direction of meeting the needs of future generations, just as our predecessors did for us. It’s time for us to pay it forward, in fact, it’s past time for us to pay it forward,” said Ross.
The water storage funding comes from the Proposition 1 water bond that was passed during the middle of the latest drought back in 2014. Nearly 40 percent of the total amount allowed by Prop 1 will be spent on water infrastructure that can potentially increase California’s overall storage capacity by 4.3 million acre-feet.
It will take time to reap the benefits of these projects, but the process to address the state’s water needs has been a long time coming. “These projects as we know are decades-long in the planning, development, permitting, and building, but this is the first time we’ve had this kind of public investment to help make it happen,” Ross noted.