Frequently Asked Questions

The Situation

Historically, a majority of California’s surface water has come from Sierra Nevada and Northern California snowmelt that feeds the state’s two largest rivers, the Sacramento and the San Joaquin. Groundwater has provided roughly a third of the state’s water supply, but many of the state’s groundwater basins are currently dangerously depleted. The remainder of the state’s water comes from other sources, such as captured rainwater, water recycling, and desalination.

Drought 2014 Folsom Lake

Much of the state’s surface water is delivered to Central Valley farmland and to population centers in the Bay Area and Southern California. Southern California also gets water from the Owens Valley and the Colorado River. In dry years, it can be difficult to provide all the water needed by California’s cities, agriculture, and environment. In very wet years, the state can experience floods. To address these challenges, the state has built various projects, including pipelines, pumping stations, and canals to move water, and has constructed dams/reservoirs and other types of water storage to manage available surface water. These supplement local water storage and delivery systems.

Since the large water projects were built in the mid-20th century, California’s population has doubled and the value of its economy has multiplied many times. However, California’s growth faces natural limits on the total amount of water available.

In addition to approving water project bonds in the middle of the last century, voters over the decades have approved additional water bonds. A portion of these bonds remain unsold.

The Proposal

Prop. 1 would allow the state to redirect $425 million in unsold bonds and sell $7.1 billion in additional bonds, for a total of $7.5 billion in general obligation bonds. The funds would be used to manage water supplies, protect and restore wetlands, improve water quality, and increase flood protection. Of the total $7.5 billion, $5.7 billion is available for water supply and water quality projects only if recipients provide a local match, in most cases 50% of the total cost.

Who funded this proposal? Visit Voters’ Edge.

Fiscal Effect

Assuming an interest rate just over 5% for bonds sold over the next 10 years and repaid over a 30-year period, the cost to taxpayers would average about $360 million annually over the next 40 years. It is assumed that the $425 million in unsold bonds would not increase the state’s anticipated debt payments because the bonds likely would have been sold in any case.

It’s estimated that there would be savings to local governments on water-related projects, likely averaging a couple hundred million dollars annually over the next few decades.

A YES Vote Means

A YES vote on this measure means: The state could sell $7.1 billion in additional general obligation bonds—as well as redirect $425 million in unsold general obligation bonds that were previously approved by voters for resource-related uses—to fund various water-related programs.

A NO Vote Means

A NO vote on this measure means: The state could not sell $7.1 billion in additional general obligation bonds to fund various water-related programs. In addition, $425 million in unsold general obligation bonds would continue to be available for resource-related uses as previously approved by voters.

Supporters Say

  • Prop. 1 supports a comprehensive state water plan and provides a reliable supply of water for farms, businesses, and communities, especially during droughts.
  • Prop. 1 does not raise taxes. It is fiscally responsible and contains strict accountability requirements and public disclosure to ensure that the money is properly spent.

Opponents Say

  • Too much of Prop. 1 wrongly focuses on building more dams. No amount of water storage will produce more rain and snow.
  • Prop. 1 does little for drought relief in the near term and doesn’t adequately promote regional water self-sufficiency or reduce our reliance on an already water-deprived Delta ecosystem.

We Say

  • Without more damns, science, technology and sustainable infrastructure, we will never be able capture more rain and snow when it does come… and it will.
  • It is up to every one of us in the State of California to ALL conserve our water use while we wait for these new and completely necessary water infrastructures to be built. Without our participation as citizens, businesses and cities we can’t expect positive results. We need to be prepared and this is an amazing place to start!

Source Via – LWV’s article Prop 1: Water Bond. Funding for Water Quality, Supply, Treatment, and Storage Projects

California is the nation’s leading agricultural producer and has been for the last 60 years. Check out four important ways that the California Water Crisis is affecting our community and well being on a daily basis here.

Regulatory restrictions sometimes limit the amount of water that gets sent to farms. When that happens, farmers must find other sources of water, often at much higher prices or worse, they have to leave fields unplanted because water simply isn’t available to grow with.

California farms produce local food for all of us but sometimes they just can’t get enough water. Tough choices have to be made and sometimes farmers have to fallow (or destroy) land that otherwise could have grown tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli or other essential fruits and vegetables. When that happens grocery stores look to import food from other states or other countries to find sufficient produce to fill their shelves and have to hike up the consumer food prices to cover the costs.

California farmers make planting decisions early in the season and when water supplies are unreliable it is difficult for them to choose which crops to plant. That can lead to changes in the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that make it to the grocery store as well as higher prices for the produce that makes it there.

An Aging System

Much of California’s water supply system was designed and built more than 50 years ago. Over the years California’s population has grown and the system that was designed to provide water to 20 million people simply can’t keep up with a population that is almost double that today.

A Brighter Future

In order to meet our future needs California must invest in additional conservation and recycling as well as new supplies that can be stored in reservoirs or groundwater aquifers and moved efficiently to parts of the state where they are needed.

A Happy Economy

California’s vibrant economy depends on adequate and dependable water supplies. It takes water to meet the needs of new businesses that in turn, provide jobs for residents today and into the future. Water is not only important for the environment and recreation but it’s crucial to our vitality as well.

What Can I Do To Help?

Whether you’d like to help spread the word or participate in the solution; we’ve got you covered.

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California grows over 400 commodities. 14 of which are grown primarily only in California

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The more water we waste in cities and for recreation, the worse it gets. There are so many ways you can help every day!

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