SACRAMENTO — The Legislature is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a $7.2 billion water bond proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown and top Democratic lawmakers, or a modified version. The bond includes $7 billion in new borrowing and $200 million in existing funds. If approved, it would replace an $11.1 billion bond that already is on the November ballot.
The top spending categories in the proposed bond are:
— $2.5 billion for water storage projects, with criteria that are designed to encourage building the Sites Reservoir north of Sacramento and Temperance Flat dam northeast of Fresno. This has been among the most contentious items, with Republicans demanding at least $3 billion. Environmentalists object to the lack of competitiveness for Southern California and groundwater storage projects.
— $1.5 billion for ecosystem and watershed projects, to restore environments to natural conditions, improve river parkways and protect wildlife. Roughly a third of the money would support projects that have been contentious. That includes the removal of obsolete power dams on the Klamath River, the restoration of the Salton Sea and an environmental protection plan at Lake Tahoe.
— $850 million for projects that clean up groundwater contamination, prioritizing communities that would have a more reliable local water supply as a result. This has been a top priority for Los Angeles lawmakers.
— $780 million for what is described as “integrated regional water management plans” that would help regions meet their own water needs. It includes $100 million for water conservation and efficiency and $200 million for storm water management.
—$700 million for water recycling and advanced water treatment technology, such as desalination.
— $500 million for projects that improve water quality or promote clean drinking water. Half the money would be set aside for wastewater treatment, prioritizing low-income communities. The other half is for projects improving safe drinking water standards, prioritizing small communities with polluted water sources.
—$395 million for statewide flood management projects and activities, with the majority available to the delta region.