A long-awaited plan to shore up California’s drought-parched water supply stalled in the legislature on Monday, amid Republican complaints that the proposal does not do enough to send water to farms and cities in the state’s breadbasket.
With the state budget behind them, the Capitol’s politicians are turning to water, always California’s most divisive political issue – but particularly so during a very severe drought, as a state Senate debate and vote demonstrated Monday.
From the Stockton Record, in a commentary by Larry Ruhstaller and Allen Ishida:
The California State Legislature will soon decide on one of the most significant water policy measures in recent history, one that could have far-reaching and lasting impacts to water users throughout the state.
Lawmakers in Sacramento representing various factions in the water debate are squabbling over what to include in a bond they submit to voters on the November ballot, or whether to just scrap the whole thing and wait for a better time. There will probably be no better time.
From the Los Angeles Times, in a commentary by George Skelton:
As lawmakers struggle to craft a water bond proposal for voters, there’s a huge reservoir of wonderful, non-controversial project ideas. But practically everyone is suffering from tunnel vision. Literally.
From the PPIC Viewpoints blog, in a post by Emma Freeman and Ellen Hanak:
Much of the current water talk in Sacramento surrounds a new state water bond for the November ballot. Yet as we show in our study Paying for Water in California, most water spending—84 percent—is actually raised locally.
Lawmakers working both above and below the surface on California drought relief are making explicit progress this week. While insisting on secrecy for key deal-making, House of Representatives and Senate members are also publicly moving legislation.
“After months of negotiations to rewrite the controversial $11.14 billion water bond on California’s November ballot, a compromise has been reached on a $10.5 billion plan that includes $3 billion for reservoirs and groundwater storage, and $1 billion for groundwater cleanup in the L.A. basin.”
From The Fresno Bee Earth Log blog by Mark Grossi:
“Gov. Jerry Brown’s new budget, which cleared the Legislature, moves the state’s Drinking Water Program from Public Health to the State Water Resources Control Board. The move will be made July 1, state leaders said.”
From the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA):
“The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is now accepting applications for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), authorized by emergency drought legislation (Senate Bill 103).
“Capping a rare instance of congressional compromise, President Barack Obama signed a $12.3 billion water projects bill Tuesday, financing improvements ranging from a harbor expansion in Boston to flood control in Iowa and North Dakota. … The new law will pay for 34 new projects over the next 10 years.”