Geoff Vanden Heuvel
Director of Regulatory and Economic Affairs
As I’ve written about in previous MPC Friday Reports, the “More Water Now” initiative seeks to change California’s decades-old status quo of doing very little to develop new water for its residents. The proposal takes an all-of-the-above approach for projects eligible for funding, ranging from ground- and surface water storage to desalinization and conservation, with the focus rightfully on the end goal – the creation of five million acre-feet of additional annual water for Californians. As I’ve also noted in past articles, I’m one of the legal proponents of the initiative.
A guest commentary written by the proponents of the initiative was published today in Cal Matters (see below). We’re working strategically to get the message out about this initiative, which will require nearly one million valid signatures to appear on the November 2022 ballot. Learn more about “The Water Infrastructure Funding Act of 2022 at MoreWaterNow.com.
Re “California should create more water – much more“; Commentary, Oct. 28, 2021
There is an answer to Jim Wunderman’s position that “state and federal governments should commit to creating 1.75 million acre feet – about 25% of California’s current urban water use – of new water from desalination and wastewater recycling by the end of this decade”: the Water Infrastructure Funding Act of 2022, a constitutional initiative proposed for the November 2022 state ballot.
This initiative, submitted in August, has been analyzed by the Legislative Analyst’s Office, which predicted “increased state spending on water supply projects and potentially less funding available for other state activities.” Notwithstanding the multibillion-budget surplus California’s Legislature currently enjoys, this redirecting of spending for water projects is what the initiative proponents intend. The state of California has neglected its water infrastructure for decades.
This initiative requires 2% of the state’s general fund be used to construct new water supply projects, and it doesn’t sunset until new projects add 5 million acre feet per year to the state’s water supply. That would be about 2 million acre feet coming from recycling and desalination, another 1 million from conservation programs, and the rest from runoff capture into off-stream reservoirs and aquifers. It also revises the California Environmental Quality Act and the Coastal Act to streamline project approval.
Continue reading here.