The $7.5 billion California water fund law inked by Governor Jerry Brown late Wednesday (Aug. 13) has garnered ‘high fives’ from several Golden State agricultural associations.
Gov. Brown signed Assembly Bill 1471 into law which will now appear as Proposition 1 on the California ballot. Then, it’s up to voters to deliver thumbs up or down on the proposal on Nov. 4, General Election Day.
Bond funds would increase water storage in a state minus adequate storage capacity, dried out after three consecutive years of droughty weather, and political handcuffs which had until now staved off turning political promises into action.
Overall, Prop 1 is a multi-pronged approach with improvements to the state's water infrastructure, improving the water supply, and fine tuning ecosystems.
The Western Growers Association was the first group out of the gate with an e-news blast thanking lawmakers and Gov. Brown for making a pro-California agriculture decision.
“Western Growers applauds passage of legislation by the California Assembly and Senate establishing a $7.5 billion water bond that includes $2.7 billion for storage,” said association President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Nassif.
The legislation passed the state’s General Assembly and Senate with votes of 77-2 and 37-0, respectively.
Nassif added, “We are especially pleased that the storage portion of this legislation is a continuous appropriation preventing the legislature from withholding funding. Passage of this legislation is an essential first step in adding capacity to our state’s existing storage infrastructure.”
California Citrus Mutual President Joel Nelsen did not mince words about the bottom line importance of the legislative-executive action.
Nelsen said, “I believe we have turned a corner in our State in which we quit destroying the land and the people that provide the world food and fiber.”
He tossed kudos to Republican Party leaders, the Speaker of the Assembly, and members of the legislature which culminated in an intense discussion with Governor Brown's Chief of Staff.
The California Alfalfa & Forage Association (CAFA) chimed in with support for the water bond.
“Our (alfalfa) industry recognizes the importance of safe, reliable, and abundant water supplies for not only our members, but for all Californians,” said CAFA’s Executive Director Spencer Halsey.
“We are pleased that this bond includes $2.7 billion for two storage projects that will serve to provide for our present and future water needs.”