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Source : water.ca.gov
January 18, 2022
Author : Alex Bustillos
The More Water Now campaign needs to rack up a million signatures to appear on the ballot.
While pushback from environmentalists is expected, the initiative may have wide-ranging industry appeal. It is backed by the agricultural industry, while it’s not difficult to imagine the construction industry and water industries potentially wanting to get in on the action.
The campaign has already garnered endorsements from a number of elected officials as well as businesses, organizations, water districts and local governments like the California Water Alliance and the National Latino Ranchers and Farmers Association.
It is undisputed that California is facing a water crisis. More Water Now proposes using just two percent of the state’s general funds to vastly increase the water supply until the state increases its annual water supply by five million acre-feet. This could eventually amount to up to $100 billion, with between $2.5 billion and $4 billion allocated per year.
In the words of More Water Now, “the initiative calls for two percent of the state’s general fund – that’s currently about $3.5 billion per year – to be allocated to projects that increase California’s water supply. The initiative also permits up to half of those funds to be used to finance large water supply projects immediately. Tens of billions of dollars will become available.”
Back in 2014, Californians approved the construction of a number of water storage projects, but so far the state has failed to build them.
According to OC Register, two million acre-feet could come from waste water recycling, another one million from conservation programs, and the remaining two million from runoff capture into off-steam reservoirs and aquifers.
While the initiative doesn’t pre-select projects that would receive funding, it identifies which kinds of projects are eligible, like conservation, water recycling, aquifer recharge, new reservoirs and aqueducts restoration, as well as brackish and ocean water desalination, OC Register notes, adding that the initiative is “attracting broad based and bipartisan support.”
The initiative also stipulates that projects that will receive funding should increase safe water supply for all Californians “with an emphasis on California’s disadvantaged communities.”
The initiative represents a massive injection of funds into public works projects with the stated goal of fortifying the state’s defenses against climate change and dramatically enhancing the water supply.
The campaign started circulating its petition to place the Water Infrastructure Funding Act of 2022 on the ballot in November of last year and will continue to do so until April, after which, if successful, it will commence a campaign to urge California voters to approve the ballot measure.
Category : Green Construction State Government Public Works