BPC Water Bond Summary and Supporting Position


California Proposition 1, the Water Bond (Assembly Bill 1471), is on the November 4, 2014 ballot in California as a legislatively-referred bond act.

Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1471 on August 13th to put a comprehensive $7.5 billion water bond before voters this November. Brown signed the legislation after it was approved by the Legislature earlier that day. AB 1471 signed by Governor Brown replaces the $11.14 billion water bond previously set for the November ballot. The legislature passed AB 1471 in the Senate 37-0 and the Assembly 77-2.

As described below, AB 1471 will provide funding to: (1) increase water supplies, (2) protect and restore wetlands, (3) improve water quality, and (4) increase flood protection. The bond resources would be available to state agencies or various projects and programs to meet these airs, as well as for loans and grants to local government private water companies, and nonprofit organizations.

The measure, upon voter approval, would enact the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014. If approved, this water bond would decree the following:

  • Authorize $7.12 billion in general obligation bonds for state water supply infrastructure projects, such as public water system improvements, surface and groundwater storage, drinking water protection, water recycling and advanced water treatment technology, water supply management and conveyance, wastewater treatment, drought relief, emergency water supplies, and ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration.
  • Appropriate money from the General Fund to pay off bonds.
  • Require certain projects to provide matching funds from non-state sources in order to receive bond funds.

Specific spending proposals in AB 1471 include:

  • $4.2 billion to fund projects intended to improve water supplies, including:
    • $2.7 billion for new water storage projects, dams and reservoirs.
    • $7.25 million for water recycling and advanced water treatment technology projects, including desalination.
  • $1.495 billion for competitive grants for multi-benefit ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration projects.
  • $1.4 billion to improve groundwater and surface water quality, including:
    • $800 million for competitive grants, and loans for, projects to prevent or clean up the contamination of groundwater that serves as a source of drinking water.
  • $395 million for statewide flood management projects and activities.

The bond provides for water use efficiency and recycling, groundwater cleanup and management and $2.7 billion for additional water storage. It invests in safe drinking water, particularly in disadvantaged communities, and provides for watershed restoration and increased flows in some of California’s most important rivers and streams.

AB 1471 is “Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) neutral” in order to avoid the bond becoming a referendum on the BDCP, and there no funding allocations earmarked to directly fund the BDCP. AB 1471also forbids the use of the funds to “pay the costs of the design, construction, operation, mitigation, or maintenance of Delta conveyance facilities.” This provision eliminating the use of funds for conveyance dictates that the water bond’s funds will not be utilized for any prospective water tunnels project.

For a more detailed overview of the specific funding provisions set forth in AB1471, please see the Water Bond summary below:

Specifics of the Bond Approved by the Legislature

Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 – $7.545B

(summarized by ACWA)

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.

BPC Recommendation of the Legislative & Policy Committee

In light of the fiscally responsible and comprehensive parameters of AB 1471, and considering the support of Governor Brown and many other important Bay Area stakeholders, the BPC Legislative and Policy Committee has voted to support the Water Bond and recommend to the Bay Planning Coalition Board of Directors to take a supporting position on California Proposition 1 (November 4, 2014 General Election) at BPC’s September 10, 2014 Board Meeting.

UPDATE: At its September 10, 2014 Board of Directors meeting, the Bay Planning Coalition voted to take a supporting position on Proposition 1. The Board of Directors unanimously voted “yes” to support Proposition 1, and the Bay Planning Coalition thereby formally supports the Water Bond for the November 4, 2014 election.




Supporting Organizations

  • Agricultural Council of California
  • American Rivers
  • Association of California Water Agencies
  • Audubon Society
  • Bay Area Business Council
  • Bay Area Council
  • Bay Planning Coalition
  • California Alliance for Jobs
  • California Association of Mutual Water Companies
  • California Building Industry Association
  • California Chamber of Commerce
  • California Conference of Carpenters
  • California Farm Bureau Federation
  • California Fresh Fruit Association
  • California Labor Federation
  • California League of Conservation Voters
  • California-Nevada Conference of Operating Engineers
  • California State Pipe Trades Council
  • California Trout
  • California Waterfowl Association
  • California Coalition of Utility Workers
  • Clean Water Action
  • Community Water Center
  • Contra Costa County
  • Defenders of Wildlife
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Northern California Water Association
  • San Diego County Water Authority
  • Santa Clara Valley Water District
  • Silicon Valley Leadership Group
  • State Association of Electrical Workers
  • State Building and Construction Trades Council of California
  • State Council of Laborers
  • Sacramento County
  • State Water Contractors
  • Solano County
  • Sonoma County Water Agency
  • Southern California Water Committee
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Trout Unlimited
  • WateRuse California
  • Western Agricultural Processers
  • Western Growers
  • Westlands Water District
  • Yuba County Water Agency
  • Yolo County

Opposing Organizations

  • California Water Impact Network
  • Restore the Delta

You can download our position paper here.