The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors today voted unanimously to support Proposition 1, a $7.5 billion state water bond measure on the Nov. 4 ballot. If passed by California voters, it would invest in new water supply development and large-scale water infrastructure projects important for the future of San Diego County and the rest of the state.
The water bond was the product of negotiations led by Gov. Jerry Brown, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. The Water Authority worked for months to advocate for the San Diego region’s policy priorities in Sacramento, and the Water Authority supported the final version of the bond passed by the Legislature. Every member of the San Diego County delegation voted for the bond measure, which Gov. Brown signed on Aug. 13.
The bond would provide money for water-use efficiency and recycling, groundwater cleanup and management, as well as $2.7 billion for additional water storage. It also would invest in safe drinking water, particularly in disadvantaged communities, and provide for watershed restoration and increased flows in some of California's most important rivers and streams, including the San Diego River.
“California has developed one of the world’s largest and most complex water delivery systems – but as the current drought has shown, we need to continue investing to make our supplies more robust,” said Thomas V. Wornham, Chair of the Water Authority's Board of Directors. “This bond will help regions such as San Diego to develop more local water supplies through water recycling and desalination.”
Wornham thanked the San Diego County delegation for helping to craft bond language that achieved near-unanimous support in the Legislature. It replaces an $11.1 billion bond that had been on the fall ballot.
“Through hard work and determination, legislators trimmed the bond to address the state’s fiscal realities while maintaining substantial support for infrastructure and environmental upgrades,” Wornham said. “The final product met all of the Water Authority’s policy priorities.”
The Water Authority advocated for a bond that:
- Encourages greater regional and local water supply self-sufficiency by funding direct and indirect potable reuse projects, non-potable water recycling projects and seawater desalination.
- Provides an equitable share of funding to San Diego County to ensure bond proceeds are distributed throughout the state in proportion to taxpayers’ payments on the bonds.
- Supports statewide priorities, including surface storage and water-use efficiency that will improve California’s water supply reliability.
The water bond contains competitive funding opportunities for the San Diego region to advance local and regional water supply development.
- Chapter 9 would provide $725 million for water recycling and advanced water treatment technology projects – including potable and non-potable reuse and seawater desalination projects – for which San Diego County water suppliers could compete.
- Chapter 7 would allocate $52.5 million to the San Diego funding area for local and regional Integrated Regional Water Management projects.
- Chapter 6 would allocate $475 million to help fulfill state obligations, including mitigation and restoration obligations at the Salton Sea as part of the Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement of 2003.
- Chapter 7 would provide $100 million for water-use efficiency projects for which San Diego County water suppliers could compete.
- Chapter 6 would allocate $17 million to the San Diego River Conservancy for important land conservation, open space, habitat, wetlands, and water quality improvement opportunities in the San Diego River watershed.
Of the funds that are regionally allocated within the water bond, the San Diego region would be allocated nearly 11 percent of the total, an equitable and proportional amount.