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Thursday, July 18, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

California Voters Pass $7.5 Billion Water Bond

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The people are thirsty. And now, they have spoken: California voters passed a $7.5 billion water bond measure that advocates say will put the state on track for sustainable water management programs in the future.

Proposition 1 allocates money for a variety of programs including water recycling, wastewater purification and groundwater cleanup. The largest part of the bond, $2.7 billion, goes toward water storage projects like dams and surface reservoirs.

"We need to get to work to conserve water wherever we can and provide a better water future for people and the environment," said Jay Ziegler, director of California policy for The Nature Conservancy. "Proposition 1, along with important groundwater management reforms, and the governor's water action plan can help put California on track to get there."

The proposition split some environmental groups. The Center for Biological Diversity and other opponents criticized the measure for potentially subsidizing dams that would mostly help big agricultural companies.

"We'll work to make parts of this bond work but one thing hasn't changed: California isn't going to build its way out of this drought or the water crisis," said Chelsea Tu, a CBD staff attorney.

More costly water bond measures were removed from the ballot in 2010 and 2012, but Prop. 1 earned the support of legislators across the board this year.

As California struggles through its third year of drought, Gov. Jerry Brown went all out to campaign for Prop. 1 and Prop. 2, which will beef up the state's rainy-day fund. Voters stood by both, and also elected Brown for a fourth term.

Prop. 1 passed with nearly 67 percent of the vote, while nearly 69 percent of Golden State voters backed Prop. 2.

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