FAIRFIELD — State Sen. Lois Wolk’s $6.8 billion water bond won approval Tuesday by the Senate’s Natural Resources and Water Committee on a 6-0 vote.
The measure by Wolk, D-Davis, would replace the $11.14 billion water bond slated for the November 2014 state ballot. Wolk’s bill to replace the existing bond is the first to receive a committee vote.
“The existing water bond is too expensive, too controversial, and too weighed down with earmarks to garner voter support,” Wolk said in a press release.
She said her legislation, Senate Bill 848, is a more sensible bond that focuses on effective, broadly supported solutions to the state’s most-critical water needs, while avoiding controversy and earmarks. Her bill also focuses on shovel-ready projects that will start producing results immediately, she said.
“As the Legislature works to address our current drought and prepare the state for our changing climate, we must invest in projects that can make a difference in the next five to 10 years,” she said.
SB 848 provides funding for projects that will address statewide water needs, including water supply reliability throughout the state, water treatment for communities without safe drinking water, and the crisis in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The bill also includes incentives to help permanently reduce reliance on the state’s most-stressed watersheds, and directs funding to development of regional water supplies throughout the state that are resilient to climate change, the state senator said.
Grant Davis, general manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency, was among those who support Wolk’s measure.
“So often the debate about California’s water policies and public funding gets focused on controversial projects that may or may not get funded at some point way down the road. These debates about tremendous new infrastructure projects are important, but we cannot let them interfere with what we can all agree is needed today,” Davis said in a press release. “What is needed today, and what SB 848 provides, is significant new state investment in local water solutions investments that will help provide sustainable water management now and for many years to come in communities across the state.”
SB 848’s other supporters include the Solano County Board of Supervisors, American Planning Association, California Association of Local Conservation Corps, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, Environmental Defense Fund, the Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, Sierra Club California, Sonoma County Water Agency and Yolo County Board of Supervisors, Wolk said.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.