Agencies and organizations react to the passage of Proposition 1
Yesterday, voters approved Proposition 1, the water bond, by a significant margin. Here’s what agencies and organizations had to say, listed in alphabetical order:
From the Association of California Water Agencies:
Timothy Quinn, executive director of the statewide Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), issued the following statement on the passage of Proposition 1 by California voters. The measure authorizes $7.545 billion in general obligation bond funding for a range of water projects and programs as part of a statewide, comprehensive plan.
“Passage of Proposition 1 is a victory for California. It marks the culmination of years of effort to advance a water bond that will reinvest in California’s water system and jumpstart the comprehensive, statewide water action plan we need for our future.
“The success of Proposition 1 reinforces that the public understands our water supply challenges as we move through a multi-year drought. At its core, Proposition 1 advances an all-of-the-above strategy that includes everything from local resources to water storage to safe drinking water. It makes the single-largest investment ever in programs such as water recycling, conservation, stormwater capture, desalination and groundwater remediation and cleanup. These programs together will play a major role in meeting local and regional water needs in the coming decades.
“Those investments will be complemented by the most significant state funding for water storage in a half-century. This funding will be matched – on a competitive basis – with local and regional dollars for 21st century water storage projects that add much-needed flexibility and resiliency to our water system. We will also take a major step forward in investing in watersheds and safe drinking water improvements, particularly in disadvantaged communities.
“Together with the comprehensive water plan outlined by Gov. Jerry Brown, Proposition 1 is part of an evolution in California water that opens the door to the most substantial progress in decades.”
ACWA is statewide association of public agencies whose 430 members are responsible for about 90% of the water delivered in California. For more information, visit www.acwa.com.
From the California Water Association:
Robert W. Nicholson, President of the California Water Association (CWA), which represents 114 investor-owned water utilities regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission, released the following statement regarding the passage of Proposition 1, the “Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014.”
“The California Water Association applauds the passage of this historic $7.5 billion bond. CWA commends the Governor and the Legislature for crafting the bond in a manner that resulted in broad support and avoided the pitfalls that forced the 2010 and 2012 versions to be postponed.
“For the first time in a statewide water bond, on a basis comparable to government-owned water utilities, customers of regulated, investor-owned water companies will be able to realize benefits from bond funding. Specifically, these funds will help offset customer costs for critical infrastructure projects like recycled water, groundwater clean-up, water-use efficiency, and safe drinking water for smaller systems in economically disadvantaged communities – all of which go beyond traditional supply sources and distribution needs.
“Despite the fact that regulated water utility customers pay equally for general obligation bonds through their taxes, in the past they were penalized because, unlike their government-owned utility counterparts, investor-owned water companies often were not eligible to apply for grants associated with such bonds.
“The CWA Board of Directors agreed to support Proposition 1 on September 16, following CWA’s successful efforts earlier this year to ensure customers of regulated, investor-owned water utilities are eligible to benefit from bond funding.
“California’s investor-owned water companies look forward to competing for and securing bond funding for eligible projects that improve drinking water quality in communities served by regulated water utilities; increase the use of water recycling and advanced water treatment technology; and help clean up contaminated groundwater aquifers.”
The California Water Association (CWA) represents the interests of approximately 114 investor-owned public utilities that are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. These water companies strive to provide high-quality water utility services to customers throughout California. CWA provides a forum for sharing best management practices; a means of promoting sound water policy by legislators and regulatory agencies; and opportunities for educating the public on the protection and efficient use of water resources. Robert W. Nicholson, in addition to being CWA’s 2014-15 President is also President of San Gabriel Valley Water Company, based in El Monte, CA.
From the California Water Foundation:
The California Water Foundation (CWF) issued the following statement from Executive Director Lester Snow after California voters overwhelming passed Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond.
“Now that California voters have passed Proposition 1, the hard work begins. We should view this new influx of bond funding as an important down payment on a long-term fix of our state’s serious water challenges. A fourth year of drought has revealed a critical lack of investment in our water systems at a state and local level. We’ve been given a tremendous opportunity and we must use this bond funding wisely and judiciously, and resist the temptation to use this money to do business as usual. We need to coordinate our investments, policies, and activities across regions and between our farms, cities, businesses, and environment. CWF looks forward to working with state water leaders and lawmakers to develop the criteria and policy that will drive us into a new era of sustainable water management.”
About the California Water Foundation
The California Water Foundation’s (CWF), an initiative of the Resources Legacy Fund, is committed to achieving a sustainable water supply to meet the needs of California’s farms, cities, and environment today and into the future. CWF supports innovative projects and policies and brings together experts, stakeholders, and the public to achieve 21st century solutions. For more information, please visit CaliforniaWaterFoundation.org
From Californians for a Fair Water Policy:
Californians for Fair Water Policy, a statewide coalition of environmental, water conservation, fishing, farming, Native American and community organizations, today called for a new focus on sustainable water policies and for the governor to abandon his proposed Delta Tunnels project to export water from the Sacramento River.
“When Californians wake up today following the election, the water challenges we face are still huge and pressing,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta. “Now that the debate over Prop. 1 is behind us; it is time to look at sustainable solutions to our water challenges. Whether you supported or opposed Prop 1, we all agree that it will do nothing to address our current drought. So we need to face the fact that the State has overallocated up to 5 times more water than is normally available in our rivers and streams.”
“Proposition 1 will not solve our water crisis,” says Adam Scow, California Director of Food & Water Watch. “Its proponents sold the water bond as a way to protect California from future drought, but Prop 1 fails to address the real problems, especially the State’s poor management of our water resources. Governor Brown must balance California’s overstretched water budget and reduce allocations to water-wasting super-farms in the desert. Food & Water Watch will continue to work with allies to ensure that Prop 1’s voter-approved funds benefit the public interest, and do not promote corporate interests by building new dams and subsidizing excessive water transfers to unsustainable agribusiness operations.”
“Prop. 1 did not change any of these stubborn facts: the Delta has been overpumped for decades, and this cannot be sustained, and our salmon and other fisheries are on the verge of collapse,” said Bill Jennings, executive director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. “The one thing that must be done if we’re going to stabilize the state’s water policies: balance water rights claims to actual water supplies.”
“The governor is still wedded to his Bay Delta Conservation Plan/Delta Tunnels project, which the EPA has said would violate the Clean Water Act,” said Bob Wright, Senior Counsel of Friends of the River. “The Delta Tunnels project is fatally flawed, and the governor should abandon it and instead promote sustainable water solutions.”
“We urge the governor to shift his concentration from the doomed Delta Tunnels project to large scale recycling, conservation, storm water capture, ground water clean up projects, and other new drought technologies that will provide local jobs and reduce reliance on imported water supplies,” said Conner Everts, Executive Director, Southern California Watershed Alliance. “Sustainable water programs are needed to safeguard California from inevitable future droughts.”
From the Golden Gate Salmon Association:
John McManus, executive director of the Golden Gate Salmon Association had this comment on the passage of California’s water bond: “The $2.7 billion in Prop 1 for new water storage will be best spent developing underground storage south of the Delta so people there can take advantage of wet winters without doing any more damage to our salmon runs.”
Currently, California’s salmon industry is valued at $1.4 billion in economic activity annually and about half that much in economic activity and jobs again in Oregon. The industry employs tens of thousands of people from Santa Barbara to northern Oregon. This is a huge economic bloc made up of commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen (fresh and salt water), fish processors, marinas, coastal communities, equipment manufacturers, the hotel and food industry, tribes, and the salmon fishing industry at large.
From the Natural Resources Defense Council:
California voters today passed, by a very comfortable margin, Proposition 1, a new $7.5 billion water bond that will provide clean drinking water to disadvantaged communities and fund critical investments in regional water supply solutions that are the future of California water management.
Proposition 1 provides $2.4 billion in funding for regional water projects such as water conservation, water recycling, stormwater capture, agricultural and urban water use efficiency, and groundwater cleanup. It also makes major investments in improving the health of our rivers, coastal estuaries and wildlife, with nearly $1.5 billion for watershed restoration projects around the state.
Following is a statement by the NRDC’s Director of California Advocacy Ann Notthoff:
“California voters get it. We need to act now to protect what precious little water we have and make smart investments to protect our water future. Prop 1 funds major investments in 21st century solutions that are long overdue. Groundwater cleanup, water recycling and water use efficiency projects will help our water go further and make California more drought-resistant in the years to come.
“Unlike Congressional efforts in Washington, D.C to weaken environmental laws, California voters know that we can protect both our economy and environment with smart water investments like Proposition 1.”
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.
From the Northern California Water Association:
Bryce Lundberg writes:
“California’s voters yesterday sent a very positive signal that they want to invest in our state’s future by saving our precious water and money during surplus times, so they are available during times of need—both droughts and recessions. The passage of the water bond, Proposition 1, with nearly 67% of the voter saying yes, is a major investment in our vital water resources that will help the Sacramento Valley and other parts of the state prepare for future dry years.
The leadership surrounding Propositions 1 and 2 is amazing and shows that California, even with its complexities, can truly unify around important issues like saving water and money for the future. In Northern California, we express our gratitude to the Governor and his team for making Propositions 1 and 2 his priority this year; the Legislature, for its near unanimity in placing both Propositions 1 and 2 on the ballot, including every Northern California member of the Legislature who championed these efforts; and to our various partners throughout the state who worked tirelessly on these measures. This leadership is truly a step forward for California. … ”
Continue reading at the Northern California Water Association blog here: Saving for our Future in California
From the Sacramento Regional Water Authority:
John Woodling, Executive Director of the Regional Water Authority, which represents two dozen water providers in the Sacramento region, issued the following statement:
“Californians today took an important step toward securing our water future by passing Proposition 1, the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act.
“The Sacramento region stands to greatly benefit from this measure through the potential infusion of critical funding for projects that will diversify our water supplies, increase water efficiency and defy drought. Our environment and our protection from flooding stand to benefit as well.
“Local water providers have a successful track record competing for and securing bond funding for projects that have expanded surface water, groundwater and recycled water facilities, improved water use efficiency and protected or improved the environment. Many of these projects are helping the region meet its water needs during the current extreme dry conditions. Improvements we’ve made here have also provided statewide benefits.
“Several billion dollars will be needed for regional water infrastructure improvements over the next two decades. Much of this will be funded with local dollars–from water providers and their ratepayers–but funding from Proposition 1 could offset some of these local costs.
“The Regional Water Authority and local water providers look forward to continuing efforts to build a flexible and resilient water supply system that will serve the Sacramento region for generations to come.”
About the Regional Water Authority: RWA is a joint powers authority representing two dozen water providers and affiliates in the greater Sacramento area. Its primary mission is to help its members protect and enhance the reliability, availability, affordability and quality of water resources.
From the Southern California Water Committee:
California voters approved Prop. 1, the $7.5 billion statewide water bond, by a significant margin on November 4 with initial results showing a 68 percent lead. Prop. 1 dedicates funding to help secure water supplies and protect the state against future droughts. The benefits of Prop. 1 were widely recognized, and the measure drew broad support throughout the year from California water agencies, environmental groups, businesses, agricultural organizations, labor, local government and more.
“Voters in California once again demonstrated their overwhelming support for water supply investments by passing Prop. 1. Southern California is committed to expanding local water supplies, and Prop. 1 will help the region build on the significant progress already made by advancing water projects close to home. Prop. 1 will fund innovative projects including water recycling and stormwater capture to increase efficiency, help clean-up groundwater basins to restore access to water supplies, fuel conservation programs and more. While the water bond won’t meet all of California’s water needs, it’s a crucial investment and we commend voters for their continued support of safe, reliable water.”
Southern California Water Committee
Established in 1984, the Southern California Water Committee is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public education partnership dedicated to informing Southern Californians about our water needs and our state’s water resources. Spanning Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino, Imperial, Riverside, Ventura and Kern counties, the SCWC’s members include representatives from business, government, agriculture, water agencies, labor and the general public. Visit us at www.socalwater.org and find us on Facebook and Twitter.