Monday, September 24, 2007

Dueling Water Proposals

There are two different water proposals to be considered in the special session called by Governor Schwarzenegger.

One proposal is that put forward by State Sen. Don Perata. It is listed as Senate Bill 1 of the 2nd Special Session: SBX2 1. PDF versin of the bill is available here.

Per Perata's press release, the bill provides:
the Water Supply Reliability General Obligation Bond, would appropriate $2.4 billion for restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the hub of the state’s water system; $2 billion for regional water supply reliability projects, such as dams; and $1 billion to resolve environmental-water conflicts, such as the Salton Sea and Klamath River.

The outline of the Governor's proposal is on his government web site, but I could not find the legislative wording. The overview is as follows:
  • $600 million from Propositions 50, 84 and 1E to immediately relieve pressure on the Delta environment.
  • $5.6 billion in above and below ground water storage.
    • $5.1 billion in surface storage
    • $500 million in groundwater storage
    • Identifies three locations for surface storage (Sites, Temperance Flat Reservoir and Los Vaqueros Expansion Project.)
    • Specific criteria to assure public benefits and environmental benefits
  • $1.9 billion for Delta Restoration and water supply reliability.
    • $1.4 billion for habitat restoration
    • $500 million in early actions to address environmental concerns in the Delta
  • $1 billion in grants for conservation and regional water projects.
  • $500 million in grants for specified watersheds throughout the state, including the San Joaquin River, Klamath River, Los Angeles River and others.
A journalist contact felt that a detailed comparison now would be worthless, since it will all change in the 1st week of October as the legislature tries to cram things together into a comprehensive ballot measure. They have a very short window to get these proposals onto the ballot for the February Presidential Primary. This whole thing probably has to be wrapped up by mid-October and many State Senators will not be back from their various "fact finding" junkets until Oct. 9th.

There is one very important fact to consider. The reservoirs proposed by the Governor will not come on line for many years and will primarily provide water for agricultural use. They do little or nothing to help urban water users or to support future population and economic growth.

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