Agriculture industry leaders are hailing a water bond measure that was approved Wednesday by the California Assembly and Senate in a compromise between Republicans and Democrats. The key for growers is that the measure, which will appear on the November ballot as Proposition 1, calls for more than one-third of the $7.5 million total to be earmarked for storage.
“Western Growers applauds passage of legislation today by the California Assembly and Senate establishing a $7.5 billion water bond that includes $2.7 billion for storage,” said the association’s president and CEO, Tom Nassif, in a news release. “We are especially pleased that the storage portion of this legislation is a continuous appropriation preventing the Legislature from withholding funding. Passage of this legislation is an essential first step in adding capacity to our state’s existing storage infrastructure.”
The legislation replaces the original $11.1 million bond that had been slated for this November’s statewide ballot. Governor Jerry Brown believed that was too pricey for voters, and he had called for an alternative $6 billion bond measure. However, he and his fellow Democrats agreed to compromise with Republicans, who originally sought $3 billion for surface storage projects.
“We commend members of both parties who came together to support compromise legislation critical not only for our growers, but for all of the state’s residents and water users,” said Nassif. “Western Growers particularly appreciates Governor Brown’s leadership on this issue. We look forward to his support of this measure as we work together to gain voter approval for the initiative this November.”