The Metropolitan Water District’s board threw its support Tuesday behind a $7.5 billion water bond that will appear on the November statewide ballot, calling it a crucial step for the state to survive the continuing drought.
“In the midst of record drought and extraordinary public awareness of the dry conditions throughout California, the water bond couldn’t come at a more crucial time in state history,” MWD board chairman Randy Record said. “Proposition 1 will not only provide a fiscal foundation for the sustainable management of California’s water resources, funding from the bond’s passage will help improve and balance water supply reliability with ecosystem sustainability and restoration.”
The water bond has been a topic of debate in Sacramento for nearly five years. It was originally proposed as an $11.1 billion bond in 2009. After repeated delays and heated negotiations, the Legislature approved the $7.5 billion proposal last month.
Opponents of the bond contend it will sink the state deep into debt and cost the general fund $360 million a year for 40 years. They also contend the bond program will do little to help repair Southern California’s aging water infrastructure while benefiting corporate agricultural interests.
MWD officials contend the bond would advance conservation programs and prepare the state for future long-term droughts.
The district is a collective of 26 cities and water agencies in six counties, importing water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies.
— City News Service