Passage of Proposition 3 is Dependent Upon Educating the Public

  • by Timothy Quinn
  • Oct 5, 2018
  • Voices on Water

With one month left before the Nov. 6 general election, water agencies should seriously consider making a concerted effort now to educate their communities about Proposition 3, if they have not already done so. Numerous reasons can be listed as examples of how passage of this water bond will not only benefit Californians, but their children and grandchildren. In the bigger picture, Proposition 3 builds on momentum from the passage of Proposition 68 passed in June, and it will require a tremendous amount of momentum to overcome the many challenges culminating within California water before our eyes.

Climate change, the increasingly catastrophic natural disasters that result from it and aging water infrastructure have compounded in the already uniquely challenging era in California water affecting us on a daily basis. Meanwhile, we remain well aware of the unacceptable fact that some disadvantaged communities lack access to safe drinking water – a problem that we strongly agree must be solved, but not through bad policy that leads to unanticipated consequences that benefit no one.

Each of those challenges and many more is addressed through the $8.8 billion general obligation bonds authorized through Proposition 3. For example, Proposition 3 adds $750 million on top of $250 million in already approved funding for badly needed safe drinking water projects – one example among many of how Proposition 3 and Proposition 68 complement each other by building forward momentum toward real solutions. At the same time, Proposition 3 would invest $2.3 billion into watershed improvements. This can go far in returning our headwater forests to health, improving water quality and mitigating what’s become an unbearable risk from wildfire. Wastewater recycling, flood protection, fisheries restoration and groundwater stabilization – it’s a long list of needs that would be addressed, and they would be addressed in virtually every California community.

Among those needs, resolving California’s groundwater depletion stands out in terms of urgency. Fortunately, California has a plan with implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA. Passage of Proposition 3 would invest $675 million, in addition to millions in funding already approved through Proposition 68, to maximize the effectiveness of SGMA in replenishing our groundwater supplies.

Proposition 3 directs substantial funding to both California coastal communities and to the agricultural Central Valley for SGMA implementation and safe drinking water for disadvantaged communities. The bond would also provide $750 million for repairing and improving the conveyance capacity of the Madera and Friant-Kern canals, which are critical to the delivery of water to farmers and cities in the San Joaquin Valley.  Some consider this latter investment a weakness in making the case for Proposition 3. Quite to the contrary, such investments are long overdue and are in fact part of the reason why Californians should seriously consider voting “yes” on Proposition 3.

You can learn more and see how regions across the state would benefit from Proposition 3 at www.waterbond.org. And of course, I urge ACWA members to utilize our Proposition 3 educational toolkit available on our website to communicate to their customers and local news media.

The more Californians can learn about Proposition 3 and its scope and scale, the more Californians can appreciate how it builds momentum toward achieving a secure and sustainable water future for everyone.

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