2014 Water Bond
As part of a comprehensive water package enacted in 2009, the Legislature approved a water bond now slated for the November 2014 ballot to provide $11.14 billion in general obligation bond funds for projects and programs to improve water supply reliability and ecosystem health in the Delta. The bond will remain on the ballot unless the Legislature acts to remove or modify it by a two-thirds vote in both houses.
Several bills to modify the existing water bond have been introduced in 2014, and intensive debate is taking place. View of snapshot of the bills that have been introduced here.
ACWA supports the current version of the water bond set to be on the November 2014 ballot. However, ACWA's Board of Directors has recognized that modifications to reduce the size and remove earmarks from the $11.14 billion bond will improve its chance of passage.
The Association is working with legislators and stakeholders to build support for a water bond that can be approved by the necessary two-thirds vote in both houses, signed by the Governor and then approved by California voters in November 2014.
ACWA believes any bond that advances must meet the following criteria:
- Include $3 billion, continuously appropriated, for additional water storage (both above and below ground);
- Provide adequate funding for Delta restoration;
- Eliminate “earmarks” that allocate funds for specific projects without a competitive process;
Provide substantial funding for:
- Local resources development projects, including Integrated Regional Water Management programs
- Groundwater cleanup
- Safe drinking water for disadvantaged communities
- Watershed protection
- Flood management
In addition, ACWA is advocating that the bond’s total funding remain below $10 billion to aid its passage this year.
ACWA will continue to play a key role in water bond discussions over the coming months.
Background on the 2014 Water Bond
The 2014 water bond is the product of a comprehensive legislative package crafted in 2009 by Governor Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers to meet California’s growing water challenges. This package represented a major step toward ensuring a reliable water supply for future generations, as well as restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and other ecologically sensitive areas. The package was composed of four policy bills and an $11.14 billion bond. The water bond measure was originally set to be on the state's 2010 ballot and was later moved to the 2012 ballot. The California State Legislature, on July 5, 2012, approved a bill to take the measure off the 2012 ballot and put it on the 2014 ballot to provide a public cost share for elements of the package that benefit the public.
The Safe, Clean and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2014 is an $11.14 billion general obligation bond proposal that would provide funding for California’s aging water infrastructure and for projects and programs to address the ecosystem and water supply issues in California.
The Need for the Water Bond
Virtually every aspect of California’s economy depends on water. Yet investments in the statewide water system have not kept pace with a growing population and changing needs. Large-scale investments are needed in areas such as water storage capacity, recycling facilities, levee improvements, flood control facilities, and water treatment plants. Substantial investments in ecosystem restoration and habitat improvements are also needed if we are to meet the coequal goals of improved water supply reliability and ecosystem health.
How the Funds Would be Allocated
In its current form, the bond would allocate roughly $4 billion for local resources development, $4 billion for ecosystem restoration and $3 billion for the public benefits associated with new surface and groundwater storage projects. Every $1 authorized as part of the bond would leverage $3 to $4 in other funds, for a total of up to $40 billion for needed investments.
The vast majority of public funds allocated by the bond would go through a rigorous competitive process to ensure dollars go to a public benefit. There would also be careful review of dollars targeted for ecosystem restoration and a competitive process to determine the highest value investments.