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Trimmed Down Water Bond Receives Unprecedented Bipartisan Support; Now Heads to Voters in November as Proposition 1

Bond’s Provisions Consistent with League Priorities

August 14, 2014
Gov. Jerry Brown last night signed a historic water bond that passed earlier in the evening with bipartisan support in both the Senate and Assembly.
 
The fate of the $7.5 billion bond now rests in the hands of the California voters who will head to the polls on Nov. 4. Thursday night’s vote and signature is the culmination of years of negotiations that began under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger when the bond was first put on the ballot in 2009 with a proposed $11.1 billion in debt. Moved twice since then, the current bond’s prospects appear to be brighter thanks to its smaller amount and rising concern over California’s drought.

The down-to-the-wire negotiations over the bond pushed against the Secretary of State’s deadline for printing to begin for the November ballot. Legislators on Monday passed a two-day extension to give themselves additional time to broker a deal with the Governor. AB 1471, the final bond, technically contains $7.12 in new debt plus an additional $425 million from previous bond debt. Previously legislative proposals ranged in size with the largest being $10.6 billion. Governor Brown called for a much smaller bond and put forth his own $6 billion proposal.
 
California cities will be encouraged that Prop. 1 contains funding for a number of the organization’s water bond funding priorities including a continuous appropriation. It is important to note that the League has not yet taken a position on this proposal or any of the previous ones. The membership last September passed a resolution calling for four priorities: water conservation, ground water recharge, stormwater capture and reuse/Clean Water Act Compliance, and watershed restoration. The League board of directors adopted two additional priorities developed by the organization’s Water Task Force: water storage (surface and subsurface) and associated conveyance, and water recycling and reuse.
 
In brief, the bond contains allocations for several League water bond priorities including:
  • $2.7 billion for storage
  • $1.495 billion for watershed protection, watershed ecosystem restoration and state settlements
  • $725 million for water recycling projects and programs
  • $720 million for groundwater management
  • $200 million for stormwater capture
Proposition 1 Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 — $7.12 billion (new debt) and $425 million (reallocation of exiting bond funds)
  • General Provisions
    • State agencies that receive an appropriation to administer a competitive grant or loan program shall develop and adopt project solicitation and evaluation guidelines.
    • Prior to disbursing grants or loans, the state agency shall conduct three public meetings to consider public comments prior to finalizing the guidelines.
    • In the appropriation and expenditure of funding, priority will be given to projects that leverage private, federal, or local funding or produce the greatest public benefit.
    • Special consideration will be given to projects that employ new or innovative technology or practices, including decision support tools that support the integration of multiple jurisdictions, including, but not limited to, water supply, flood control, land use, and sanitation.
    • Funds provided shall not be expended to pay the costs of the design, construction, operation, mitigation, or maintenance of Delta conveyance facilities. Those costs shall be the responsibility of the water agencies that benefit from the design, construction, operation, mitigation, or maintenance of those facilities. This division does not diminish, impair, or otherwise affect in any manner whatsoever any area of origin, watershed of origin, county of origin, or any other water rights protections, including, but not limited to, rights to water appropriated prior to Dec. 19, 1914, provided under the law. This division does not limit or affect the application of Article 1.7 (commencing with Section 1215) of Chapter 1 of Part 2 of Division 2, Sections 10505, 10505.5, 11128, 11460, 11461, 11462, and 11463, and Sections 12200 to 12220, inclusive.
  • Clean, Safe, and Reliable Drinking Water — $520 million
    • $260 million deposit in the State Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund Small Community Grant Fund for grants for wastewater treatment projects. Priority shall be given to projects that serve disadvantaged communities and severely disadvantaged communities, and to projects that address public health hazards.
    • $260 million for grants and loans for public water system infrastructure improvements to meet safe drinking water standards, ensure affordable drinking water, or both. Priority shall be given to projects that provide treatment for contamination or access to an alternate drinking water source or sources for small community water systems or state small water systems in disadvantaged communities whose drinking water source is impaired by chemical and nitrate contaminants and other health hazards.
  • Protecting River, Lakes, Streams, Coastal Waters, and Watersheds — $1.495 billion
    • *$327.5 million for conservancies to fund projects that restore, enhance, and protect watersheds.
    • *$100 million to protect and enhance urban creeks.
  • Regional Water Security, Climate, and Drought Preparedness — $810 million
    • *$510 million for hydrologic regions identified in the Water Action Plan for regional self-reliance security; grants and loans for projects included in an IRWM plan.
    • *$100 million for grants and loans for water conservation and efficiency plans, projects, and programs.
    • *$200 million for grants for multi-benefit stormwater management projects.
  • Statewide Water System Operational Improvement and Drought Preparedness — $2.7 billion
    • *$2.7 billion for surface and subsurface water storage.
    • *Funds are continuously appropriated.
  • Water Recycling — $725 million
    • *$725 million for grants and loans for water recycling and advanced treatment projects.
  • Groundwater Sustainability — $900 million
    • *$720 million for competitive grants, and loans for, projects to prevent or clean up the contamination of groundwater that serves or has served as a source of drinking water. Funds may also be used for projects necessary to protect public health by preventing or reducing the contamination of groundwater that serves or has served as a major source of drinking water for a community.
    • *$80 million for grants for treatment and remediation activities that prevent or reduce the contamination of groundwater that serves as a source of drinking water.
    • *$100 million of grants for projects that develop and implement groundwater plans.
  • Flood Management — $395 million
    • $295 million to reduce the risk of levee failure and flood in the Delta.
*Indicates consistency with League water bond priorities.


 
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