$7.5 billion water bond to California voters

Faced with an extreme drought that has crippled the state’s agricultural industry and prompted mandatory water restrictions, California voters will have the chance this November to vote on a $7.5 billion bond package to finance water supply, infrastructure, and conservation projects. California lawmakers approved the $7.5 billion bond measure in place of a previous $11.1 billion proposal after deciding that the latter was not likely to be approved by the voters, the Sacramento Bee reported on August 14. “We’ve got a real water bond, and we’ve got Democrats and Republicans that are more unified than I’ve ever seen, probably, in my life,” said Governor Jerry Brown upon signing the legislation authorizing the ballot measure on August 13. “It was an amazing convergence over a big idea, and the big idea is that the future of California needs a lot of water and we’ve got to use it in the best way possible.” The bond measure includes $2.7 billion for surface-water storage projects, $1.495 billion for watershed protection, $725 million for water recycling and advanced water treatment projects, and $395 million for flood protection.

The state has also implemented an emergency water reporting program, requiring water utilities and suppliers to file reports on the amount of potable water produced or purchased and the number of customers served. The monitoring reports must be submitted by the 15th of every month, beginning this August. Additional residential per capita consumption reports will also have to be submitted beginning on October 15, 2014.