State Republicans are calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to invest in water projects with California’s expected financial surplus. In a letter, the nine lawmakers point out that the construction of additional water storage is the most sensible course of action given the state’s financial and hydrological situation. The full funding of state water projects could provide an additional 1.5 million acre-feet of water storage during wet years to help mitigate periods of drought.
“The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) reported an anticipated $31 billion surplus in Fiscal Year 2022-23. Additionally, California is in the midst of another dry winter, with an untold number of drought years ahead,” the lawmakers point out in the letter. “As your Administration deliberates how best to allocate this surplus, we strongly urge you to address California’s drought crisis.”
The Senators highlight the lack of new water storage over the past forty years has contributed to the challenges the state has to overcome in times of drought. In the letter, the lawmakers call for nearly $3.3 billion to be invested in multiple water projects. Governor Newsom is being asked to fully fund the construction of Sites Reservoir with an allocation of $2.6 billion. To make necessary repairs to areas of the California Aqueduct and the Friant-Kern/Delta-Mendota Canals, the Senators are encouraging the allocation of $685 million.
“We believe that investing in water infrastructure is the most prudent way to allocate revenue expected to exceed the State Appropriations Limit—or Gann Limit—enacted by Proposition 4 (1979),” the lawmakers noted. “Because the LAO report estimates that the state will need to allocate roughly $12 billion to meet the constitutional requirements under the Gann Limit in 2022-23, we urge you to respect the will of the voters and invest their tax dollars for the expressed reasons they approved under Proposition 4.”