Unlike most bonds, the funds raised will go directly to the departments and agencies responsible for the covered projects. That means none of the money will go to the Legislature that might then be diverted to other uses. The money will be distributed to local government, non profits, First Nations tribes, etc. on the basis of grants, some of which will require matching local funds. There has been almost no federal assistance to California’s water issues in many years. The bond specifically bars use of this bond’s revenues for the proposed Twin Tunnels water diversion project.
Prop. 3 covers safe drinking water, improved management of groundwater, wastewater recycling coupled with groundwater desalting and conservation, storm water management, increased water supplies for improved fish and wildlife habitat, watershed improvement and fire damage recovery, flood management, improved river parkways and urban streams, Bay Area water management integration. Restoration of the Friant-Kern Canal, damaged from ground subsidence due to groundwater depletion, and repair of the Oroville Dam are included. While farmers should pay for restoration, it must first be done. Then the issues of liability can be litigated.
Overall, accessible water supplies will increase due to improved storage and conservation plans. It is estimated that the state will create 1.5 million acre feet of new water supply, enough for 3 million families. Every area of California is assisted with the same regard for prioritizing economically disadvantaged areas that was done in the June Prop. 68 water and parks allocation.
This is a comprehensive, thoughtful set of priorities emphasizing conservation, recycling, and wise use of scarce water resources that should improve the state’s water stability for years to come.