(Sacramento) – On a bipartisan basis the California State Assembly today passed a historic plan to increase water supply reliability while improving the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the source of drinking water for two-thirds of the state. The plan includes both a comprehensive policy package that improves water conservation, groundwater monitoring, water rights and governance as well as a water infrastructure bond to be placed on next year’s ballot.
“The package includes conservation and storage, groundwater protection, water rights protection, and Delta protection and represents the most significant water infrastructure and policy advances since the State Water Project in the 1960s,” Assembly Speaker Karen Bass said. “This is a responsible plan -- no one is getting 100% of what they want. Everyone who gets something has to give something, too.It is the only way to balance the many different individual interests for the overall greater good of having a safe and stable water supply for the entire State of California.”
Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife, and Assemblymember Anna Caballero(D-Salinas), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Local Government, worked with Speaker Bass and other leaders at the capitol to help negotiate the water package.
“The package of water policy bills passed by the Legislature today reflects the most significant improvement in California’s water management in decades,” Huffman said. “The bills, if signed by the Governor, would set critical water conservation mandates, finally bring California more in line with other western states regarding groundwater monitoring and enforcement of water rights, and the Delta bills would provide the direction needed to resolve the 30 year gridlock over water and fisheries in the Delta. I believe these bills will significantly help to reverse the water crisis in California while also protecting and restoring the ecosystem and salmon fisheries in the Central Valley and Delta.”
“I was honored to be part of the Speaker’s negotiating team to craft a comprehensive water package to help solve California’s water problems. We worked really hard to create a water package that will bring resources to communities hard hit by the lack of water. Additionally, the package will prioritize drought relief water projects for farmers and farm workers; helping to put people back to work and create jobs,” Caballero said.
“This package deserves to be signed by the Governor and then the bonds need to be passed by the public,” Bass said. “It is our best hope to ensure clean, reliable water for California’s families, farms and businesses.”