Senate Bill 848 by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis), the first water bond proposal from either the California State Senate or Assembly to be approved by a committee or floor vote, earned passage from its second committee today.
The Senate’s Environmental Quality Committee voted 6-2 to approve the $6.895 billion water bond measure, which aims to replace the $11.14 billion water bond currently slated for the November 2014 state ballot.
“While the water bond currently before voters is too expensive and too controversial to garner voter support, communities and watersheds throughout California need funding to begin immediately addressing critical water needs, especially given the drought conditions the state is currently facing. Three percent of Californians, close to 1 million people, do not have access to water that meets primary drinking water standards,” said Senator Wolk. “SB 848 would offer voters a more sensible bond that focuses on getting help to where it is most desperately needed through broadly supported, shovel-ready projects that will increase water reliability at the local and regional levels in the next 5 to 10 years.”
SB 848, also known as “The Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality & Water Supply Act,” includes funding for projects to address urgent statewide needs for water treatment for communities without safe drinking water and water supply reliability, and the crisis in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
SB 848 also includes incentives to help permanently reduce reliance on the state’s most stressed watersheds, and directs funding to development of regional water supplies throughout the state that are resilient to climate change.
SB 848’s supporters include the American Planning Association, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, Clean Water Action, Community Water Center, The California Association of Mutual Water Companies, the Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, Sierra Club California, Solano County Board of Supervisors, Sonoma County Water Agency, Ventura County, Trout Unlimited, and Yolo County Board of Supervisors.
The bill will be heard next Wednesday in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee.