Legislature Passes and Governor Signs Historic $7.5 Billion Water Bond

  • by BPC Staff
  • on August 14, 2014

ACWA Regulatory Advisory — Aug. 14, 2014 

Legislature Passes and Governor Signs Historic $7.5 Billion Water Bond

SACRAMENTO – Wednesday night, the Legislature passed and Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a $7.545 billion water bond to be placed on the November ballot that will remove an $11.14 billion bond currently slated for the ballot.

The new bond contains $2.7 billion continuously appropriated for water storage projects (above and below ground), as well as funds for regional water reliability, safe drinking water, water recycling, water conservation, groundwater management and cleanup, watershed protection and statewide flood management. The funds contained in this bond are critical to our members and represent the culmination of years of hard work by ACWA’s Board, its members and staff.

“This is a watershed moment for ACWA,” said ACWA Board President John Coleman. “ACWA and its Board of Directors have provided leadership and policy guidance at every step of the way through this process to reach this historic moment.  ACWA should be proud of this achievement which helps to secure California’s water future.”

ACWA Executive Director Timothy Quinn also acknowledged the importance of the legislative approval.

“At numerous points in the multi-year process to secure a viable water bond, the ACWA Board has exhibited extraordinary leadership and courage. First in 2009, it was the ACWA Board that insisted that a G.O. bond be part of the comprehensive legislative water package. Then in 2013, the ACWA Board was first to make the tough decision to look at ways to reduce the size and focus of the bond to improve its chances of passage.”

“This year, as we struggled once again to right-size the bond to reflect fiscal realities and ensure the best chance for a bond this November, the ACWA Board defined the middle ground. The final compromise bond aligns very closely with the positions taken by the ACWA Board. Because of these efforts, the electorate in November will vote on a water bond that not only stands a much greater chance of passage, but also provides desperately needed funding to shore up the state’s water system,” said Quinn.

The Legislature approved mockups of two identical water bond bills – AB 1471 and SB 866.  The Assembly passed SB 866 by a vote of 77-1.  The Senate concurred with those amendments by a vote of 37-0.  The Senate passed AB 1471 by a vote of 37-0.  The Assembly concurred with those amendments by a vote of 77-2.  The votes came after weeks of intensive negotiations on a modified bond to replace the existing $11.14 billion bond measure currently set for the November ballot, which is widely viewed as being too large to be approved by a majority of voters. Public opinion polling conducted over several months by ACWA in partnership with Clean Water and Jobs and others, including the California Alliance for Jobs and The Nature Conservancy, played a critical role in guiding the process to this successful outcome.

The Governor signed AB 1471 on Wednesday night surrounded by legislators from both sides of the aisle and vetoed SB 866 noting that it was identical to AB 1471.

The ACWA Board will take a formal position on the bond in the near future.


Specifics of the Bond Approved by the Legislature
Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 – $7.545B

Storage – $2.7B

  *   Continuous appropriation for water storage projects

Regional Water Reliability – $810M

  *   Integrated regional water management $510M.
  *   Stormwater Capture $200M.
  *   Water conservation $100M.

Safe Drinking Water – $520M

  *   Provide clean, safe and reliable drinking water to all Californians.  With minimum to leverage federal funds for safe drinking water and clean water programs and for disadvantages communities.
  *   Small Community Wastewater Program $260M.
  *   Drinking Water Public Infrastructure $260M.

Water Recycling – $725M

  *   Statewide water recycling projects and activities.

Groundwater Sustainability – $900M

  *   Prevent and reduce groundwater contaminants $800M.
  *   Provide sustainable groundwater management planning and implementation $100M.

Watershed Protection, Watershed Ecosystem Restoration, State Settlements – $1.495M

  *   Conservancies $327.5M.
  *   Wildlife Conservation Board $200M (restoration of flows).
  *   Department of Fish and Wildlife $285M (out of delta, no mitigation on BDCP).
  *   Department of Fish and Wildlife $87.5M (in delta with constraints).
  *   State settlement obligations including CVPIA $475M.
  *   Rivers and Creeks $120M.

Statewide Flood Management – $395M

  *   Statewide flood management projects and activities ($100M).
  *   For Delta levee subvention programs and delta flood protection projects ($295M).

General Provisions

  *   Funding eligibility requires urban or agricultural water management plans and compliance with 2009 Water Conservation Act.
  *   Bay Delta Conservation Plan neutral.
  *   Protects existing water rights and reaffirms area of origin protections.
  *   Assumes repurposing of $105M from Prop. 84, $95M of Prop 50, $81M from Prop 13, $25.5M from Prop 204, $13.5M from Prop 44, $5M from Prop 82, $100M from Prop. IE and $7.120B on new debt.

ACWA members may direct questions to ACWA Deputy Executive Director for Government Relations Cindy Tuck at cindyt@acwa.com<mailto:cindyt@acwa.com>, or 916-441-4545.

Tags: , , ,