Water Bond to Bring Millions for Conservation Efforts
August 21, 2014
A bill co-authored by Senator Holly J. Mitchell (D-Culver City) to put on November's ballot a water bond measure needed for drought relief has been passed by the Legislature with broad, bipartisan support. If approved by voters, the bond would allocate $7.12 billion toward statewide water supply and management operations, including $10 million for the Baldwin Hills Conservancy in the 26th District.
Although an $11 billion water bond had been approved in 2009 for the upcoming ballot, it is widely believed that economic constraints and the ongoing drought required a leaner, more urgently targeted list of water improvement projects in order to win voter support. At virtually the last moment a deal emerged among state leaders and water interests seeking to balance needs for supply, protection and access.
"Securing funding to protect the supply and quality of water in disadvantaged communities makes this an environmental justice vote for me," said Senator Mitchell, "If there's a silver lining in this drought it's that we are being compelled to treat water as the scarce resource it is. But in much of South L.A. scarcity is the rule, so to the droughts people were already facing in affordable housing, quality education and jobs, we now add water."
Bonds will fund projects for drought relief, safe drinking water, and improvements, including:
• $1,495 million to protect and restore watersheds :
o $10 million for Baldwin Hills Conservancy
o $20 million for watershed enhancement projects, 25% to disadvantaged communities.
• $520 million for disadvantaged and other communities exposed to contaminated drinking water.
• $810 million for Regional Water Security, Climate and Drought Preparedness:
o $98 million for L.A. subregion; at least 10% for disadvantaged communities.
o $200 million for stormwater management projects, incl. disadvantaged communities.
• $900 million groundwater sustainability; 10% to serve severely disadvantaged communities.