Calif. Legislators Push Water Conservation Bill

     SACRAMENTO (CN) – Two California legislators answered Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s call for reduced water use by announcing their intent to write a bill that cuts water use 20 percent by 2020 and appropriates $800 million in existing bond funds on water projects.

     Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata and Assembly Speaker Karen Bass said they are working on water conservation bill AB 2175, which calls for a 20 percent reduction in per capita urban water use by 2020 – the same percentage drop that Schwarzenegger advocated earlier this year. The measure also requires more efficient agricultural water management.
     The bill is co-authored by Assembly Democrats John Laird and Michael Feuer, and sponsored by environmental advocacy group the Natural Resources Defense Council.
     The lawmakers also plan to submit a water investment plan that sets aside more than $800 million for water supply reliability, water quality, flood management, conservation and ecosystem restoration.
     Ronnie Cohen, the defense council’s senior policy analyst, said water conservation measures are crucial to offsetting the “likely impacts of global warming on California’s water supply.”
     The water conservation bill passed the Assembly earlier this year and will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee in August.

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