By Jason KUROSU
On Wednesday, Gov. Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown signed legislation that would replace the water bond on November ballots this year.
An $11.14 billion bond was originally slated to appear on the ballot, but will be replaced by the new $7.5 billion bond as Proposition 1 on the November ballot. $7.12 billion will come from the new bond while the remaining $425 million will come from existing unspent bond money.
The legislation – AB 1471, the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure and Improvement Act of 2014 – was authored by Anthony Rendon and will allocate funds to projects and programs dedicated to improving water quality, infrastructure in order to combat drought and climate change, groundwater sustainability, flood management and more.
In terms of water quality, the bill would allocate funds for projects that will reduce contaminants in drinking water, particularly in disadvantaged communities. As per the terms of the bill, up to 15% of funds must be allocated for technical assistance for disadvantaged communities. Money will also go toward grants for wastewater treatment projects and public water system infrastructure improvements.
Nearly $1.5 billion will be dedicated for watershed protection and preservation projects, with numerous conservancies across the state receiving funds.
The bill would also fund projects for improving water self-reliance, to improve the overall water supply in the event of a drought or similar event. Water recycling and advanced treatment technology projects would be funded, as well as surface and groundwater storage projects.
The legislation passed the Senate 37-0 and the Assembly 77-2. The bond also received the support of numerous water agencies, including the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
“Water is the lifeblood of any civilization and for California it’s the precondition of healthy rivers, valleys, farms and a strong economy,” said Gov. Brown in a press release. “With this water bond, legislators from both parties have affirmed their faith in California’s future.”