The San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors today voted to adopt a position of support for an $11.14 billion state water bond, which will appear on the November 2, 2010 ballot.
The bond measure is part of a historic legislative package approved by the California Legislature and signed by the Governor in November 2009. The package addressed long-term improvements in statewide water management and water supply reliability, particularly in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta, the source of up to 30 percent of the San Diego region’s water supply.
“Our current water shortage is evidence that we need to keep making investments in water reliability projects and fix California’s water system. This bond helps us do that,” said Water Authority Board Chair Claude A. “Bud” Lewis. “It will fund critical water supply reliability and water quality projects in San Diego County and around the state. It will also help pave the way for permanent solutions in the Bay-Delta that will restore water deliveries to our region that have been lost due to regulatory restrictions.”
The bond, entitled the Safe, Clean and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2010, will provide $227 million in direct funding to the San Diego region for drought relief, water supply reliability and watershed protection projects. Specifically, it provides $100 million for the San Vicente Dam Raise project. The $568 million project will add 152,000 acre-feet of emergency and carry-over storage capacity to the San Vicente Reservoir, the biggest increase in regional water storage in San Diego County history. The project is part of the Water Authority’s $1.5 billion Emergency Storage Project, a plan to protect San Diego County’s water reliability in the event a natural disaster or drought interrupts the region’s imported water supply.
The bond also provides $87 million for regional and local water reliability projects and $40 million for conservation and environmental protection programs, including at least $20 million for the San Diego River Conservancy.
Additionally, San Diego County will be able to compete for grants to fund projects or programs designed to improve water supply reliability, water quality or the environment. These projects could include water recycling, seawater desalination, conservation, storage and conveyance facilities, as well as environmental protection and restoration. Overall, the bond measure provides $2.4 billion for such grants statewide.
The bond raises $2.25 billion in funding to improve the sustainability of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The funds will pay for projects designed to implement the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan, a plan to achieve ecosystem restoration and water supply reliability restoration in the Delta. These ecosystem improvements are part of the broader plan that will also pave the way for building new conveyance facilities around or through the Delta that will restore water deliveries to Southern California that have been cut by regulatory restrictions to protect fish species.
The bond does not provide any funding for building the Delta conveyance infrastructure itself. Water agencies and their ratepayers will pay for designing, building and mitigating environmental impacts from these facilities.
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