Proposition 1 gives Californians the opportunity to take control of their water supply and rely less on moving water around the state and less on importing water from the Colorado River. Proposition 1 increases water supplies where they are needed and reduces the cost and amount of electricity needed to move water. Estimates show 19% of the energy used in California is for moving water. The majority of water in California is surface water, meaning coming primarily from rivers in Northern California and the Colorado River. Only about a third of the water in California comes from out of the ground (know as groundwater). Pumping stations, pipelines and canals are all used to move water throughout the state.
The measure provides a total of $7.5 billion (considerably less than original estimates) for several water-related programs. Over half the money will is dedicated for new water supplies and this is the main reason I like the proposition so much. The breakdown is below:
- $ 2.7 billion for dams and groundwater storage.
- $810 million for regional projects that include capturing rainwater (California’s allow a high percentage of rain water to flow directly into the ocean).
- $725 million for water recycling and desalination.
In addition to increasing water storage the measure provides funds for watershed protection and restoration ($1.495 billion), improvement to groundwater and surface water quality ($1.420 billion) and funding ($395 million) for flood protection. These are all needed for California to have a comprehensive water plan.
Proposition 1 achieves the items above without raising taxes. It allows for continued growth in California’s economy, by ensuring a reliable water supply for California. It allows California to store more water when they have it. Just look at the difference this year in the drought from Northern California and Southern California. Because Southern California had the ability to store water from the Colorado River they were impacted less severely than Northern California.
The opponents against Proposition 1 will tell you it’s too much money for building dams that won’t be completed for years. I agree with them concerning the dams wont be completed for years and this is one of my the biggest frustrations. We can’t delay anymore, California’s have debated this issue too long and need to action now for storage in the future.
ALL IN FAVOR
Governor Brown, Senators Feinstein and Boxer, are all in favor of Proposition 1. Metropolitan Water District, San Diego Water Authority and Northern California Water association are also proponents of the Proposition. From agriculture, Fresno Irrigation District and Western Growers also support the position. From the environmental side, The Nature Conservancy, Audubon California and Natural Resources Defense Council are all on board too. When was the last time you remember Ag, urban and environmental agencies all agreeing on water policy? This Proposition is critical to the future of California and if you live in California I hope you will get out and vote for the Proposition. If you don’t live in California but know someone who does, please encourage them to learn about and support the proposition. At the WaterSmart Innovations Conference this year key note speaker Sandra Postel told the audience, “If there is anything we need more than water, it is leadership.” This is an opportunity for all of us to be leaders.
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