California water bond receives endorsement

May 28, 2010
by WLJ

Calling it the best chance to restore California’s overtaxed water system, the California Farm Bureau Federation has endorsed the water bond measure to be placed before voters in November. The Safe, Clean and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2010 would allow California to invest in new water storage and other steps to improve water quality and reliability.

“Family farmers and ranchers in parts of California already face severe and chronic water shortages. Others find supplies becoming less reliable all the time.

Without water, farmers and ranchers can’t grow the food and farm products that Californians depend on every day,” California Farm Bureau President Paul Wenger said. “The bond represents our best chance to attack the water problems so many of us face today and that more of us will face in the future if we don’t act now.”

Wenger said farmers and ranchers are particularly encouraged by the bond’s investment of $3 billion in new water storage, calling new storage the cornerstone of realistic solutions to the state’s water troubles.

“New storage will add flexibility to the water system that’s needed to sustain California’s environment and economy,” he said. “Much of the water stored in new reservoirs will be used to benefit the environment, and that will take pressure off of existing supplies for cities and farms. It’s been decades since California has made a significant investment in water storage. There’s a real commitment to new storage in this water bond, and that’s long overdue.”

If projections about climate change prove correct, Wenger said, more of the precipitation that falls on California will come as rain rather than snow, meaning less will be stored in the Sierra Nevada snowpack.

“It’s imperative that we have the ability to capture this water, not only for use later but also to protect against flooding,” he said.

He noted that the bond measure contains other investments to strengthen the water system as it struggles to cope with the state’s increasing population and with laws requiring more water to be channeled toward environmental purposes.

“The bond is a comprehensive approach to enhancing the California water system. People throughout the state will benefit from it,” Wenger said. “Even though our economy faces extreme challenges today, failing to improve our water system is unconscionable. If we don’t make this investment now, the price tag for improving our water system will only go up. — WLJ