Next week California voters will decide whether to approve Proposition 1, the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014. The measure would authorize $7.12 billion in general obligation bonds and reallocate $425 million of unused bond authority from prior water bond acts to finance a variety of water supply infrastructure projects. The bond, originally slated to appear on the 2010 ballot, provides funding to increase water supplies, protect and restore watersheds, improve water quality, and increase flood protection.
Proposition 1 allocates $4.2 billion for water supply projects, with $2.7 billion for new water storage projects, $1.5 billion for ecosystem protection/restoration, $1.4 billion for projects that improve groundwater and surface water quality, and $395 million for flood protection. Water storage projects eligible for funding would be chosen by the California Water Commission, which is made up of nine members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Funding for water supply and water quality projects is available only if the recipients provide matching funds to support the projects. For all other funding provided by the measure, the Legislature would generally allocate money annually to state agencies through the state budget process and the state agencies would in turn choose the projects that would receive funding.
If passed, Proposition 1 would be the fourth-largest water bond in California history. According to a recent poll from the Public Policy Institute of California, 56% of likely voters say they will support Proposition 1.
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