What is in this article?:
- California's North v. South water debate becomes ironic as Southern California continues to build more storage and infrastructure
- State lawmakers have twice now pulled an $11 billion water bond from the ballot for political reasons
Like after Katrina when infrastructure needs were addressed, some think current California drought could force state to finally address inadequate water storage and infrastructure
The Friant-Kern Canal conveys water from Millerton Lake near Fresno and delivers it to water users from Chowchilla to Bakersfield. Because of drought conditions, the only likely recipients of water from the system this year will be urban users. Agricultural users are slated to get zero surface water.
When it comes to water in California, 2014 may go down not as North v. South, but the haves and the have-nots. The irony is who has it and who doesn’t.
While panels made up largely of water agency officials were discussing the one commodity California is in woeful short supply of, two blocks away California’s reactionary political class was feverishly working to introduce legal mechanisms to address that problem while one end of the state rose as a shining example of how determination succeeds.
At a conference on water hosted by Capitol Weekly and the University of California Center in downtown Sacramento, panelists seemed to agree that the circumstances facing California relative to its water supply is due in large part to poor planning and political expediency.
More news in Western Farm Press
Political expediency was apparently in high gear as the conference opened as several lawmakers who briefly attended scurried back to the State Capitol to participate in the flurry of water bond measures being introduced. In the days following the conference, the number of water bond measures introduced quickly rose to seven.
Knowing what was taking place several blocks from where the conference was being housed, some of the panelists seem stymied as to previously-passed bond measures and Sacramento’s inability to convey the money from those bonds to the water projects most useful to California.
California lawmakers originally wanted to put an $11 billion water bond measure on the ballot in 2010, but politics caused them to balk at that. Talk of trying again in 2012 stalled because of competing issues and more politics, now the issue could be slated to go in 2014 unless the legislature elects to forestall it again because of the gubernatorial election later this year, or for some other reason. As if the political waters needed to be stirred even more, several other water bond measures are being debated in the state legislature.
Speaking to previous bond measures, Joe Caves, a partner at the Sacramento-based Conservation Strategy Group, was critical of California’s inability to timely use bond money on key infrastructure projects. The Conservation Strategy Group (CSG) is a consulting and lobbying firm specializing in environmental and natural resources strategy and advocacy. CSG represents land trusts, environmental groups, conservancies and public agencies before the California Legislature and administrative agencies.