Senator Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) announced new legislation today to place a water bond on the November 2014 ballot that prioritizes water storage benefiting all Californians.
SB 1370 greatly scales back the original $11.1 billion water bond voted on by the Legislature in 2009. Having a price tag of $5.1 billion, SB 1370 would maximize limited public resources by greatly increasing California’s water storage capacity.
California is currently facing one of the driest years on record. Reservoir levels throughout the state remain at dangerously low levels and the crisis has emphasized the need for our state to increase its water storage capacity.
“There is no realistic solution to California’s diverse and ever-increasing water needs that does not rely heavily on additional storage,” said Senator Galgiani. “Although our population has nearly doubled over the past few decades, we have not significantly increased our water storage capacity.”
The bond funds would be for the design, acquisition, and construction of surface water storage projects. The following surface water storage projects identified by the department in the CALFED Bay-Delta Programmatic Record of Decision, dated August 28, 2000, would be eligible for funding from SB 1370:
1) Sites Reservoir located in the Counties of Colusa and Glenn, as identified in the North-of-the-Delta Off- stream Storage Investigation Initial Alternatives Information Report, dated May 2006.
(2) Temperance Flat Reservoir located in the Counties of Fresno and Madera, as identified in the Upper San Joaquin River Basin Storage Investigation Initial Alternatives Information Report, dated June 2005.
(3) Expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir located in the County of Contra Costa, as identified in the Los Vaqueros Expansion Investigation Initial Alternatives Information Report, dated September 2005.
“If we are to provide enough water to support an ever-growing population of thirty-nine million people, to sustain the country’s best agricultural land, to protect and restore the Delta, and to maintain adequate river flows for salmon runs and groundwater recharge, then it is crucial that we create more storage,” said Galgiani.
“We must start the process immediately in order to provide a dependable water supply for the future and prepare for periods of prolonged drought. The combination of California’s lack of preparedness for this drought and the need for financial prudency during this economic recovery necessitate that the upcoming water bond be slimmed down and focused on long needed water storage projects.”
SB 1370 offers a sensible approach towards crafting long-term solutions to California’s water problems.