A long-awaited plan to restructure California’s water system was passed by the state’s legislature on Wednesday. Pressure to pass a new water plan was highly publicized, and threats from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to veto policy makers’ bills in recent weeks led to several closed-door meetings among Assembly members. The end result is being criticized as imperfect, but praised as “historic.” It is the largest comprehensive water overhaul since the 1960s.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
“The historic legislation, praised by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, enables the state to closely control water delivery and use statewide. It imposes strict conservation rules in urban areas and supports the restoration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta ecosystem. It also paves the way for the construction of dams, levees and a controversial canal to bypass the delta and carry water from the Sacramento River to Central and Southern California.
“The state’s voters would decide in November 2010 whether to approve the $11 billion general obligation bond that would pay for much of the work needed to upgrade a water system that officials said was built for 16 million people but serves about 38 million statewide.”
California bloggers comment:
California Notes: SoCal gets the water, NorCal gets the bill.
“It’s the same tired story all over again. The Central Valley and Southern California plan to take water from the North by building a peripheral canal. The rub is that they want Northern California to pay for it too. All Northern Californians get from this bond is the privilege of paying the bill.”
Aguanomics: Detailed analysis of bill.
“I consider this progress, but very imperfect, and not even close to where we need to be in California.”
Calitics: VIDEO - Speaker of the California Assembly Karen Bass speaks about water bill passage.
Calitics: Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar applauds water legislation passage.
The Thin Green Line: Water, water everywhere.
“California has finally brokered a deal to revamp the state’s ailing water supply system, largely spurred by pressure from farmers. The deal promises to balance environmental constraints with economic pressures. But that all depends on how you define balance.
“…the new deal makes most cuts in water supplies to cities—that’s you and me—not to growers of these crops.”
California Progress Report: “Historic” Water Deal Draws Both Praise and Criticism.
“While the Governor and Democratic Leadership are lauding the water deal as an historic achievement, local leaders and environmental groups are lamenting it as the prelude to a peripheral canal that will end the delta as we know it by diverting water away from the delta and to the south.”
Mayor Sam’s Sister City: L.A. City Council members caught violating water restrictions.
“…while overall use among Angeleños is down 17%. Greig Smith’s watering is up more than 13%, Janice Hahn’s is up 26%, and Herb Wesson is watering 130% more than one year ago. Each has an explanation, except Richard Alarcón who won’t provide his bill and, to our dismay, is playing games.”
California Notes: Huber Water Bill Denied Consideration
“A bill which would prohibit the construction of a peripheral canal around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta without a full fiscal analysis and a vote of the state legislature won’t even get a chance.”
Fresno Bee Opinion Talk: State Sen. Dave Cogdill, Modesto Republican, displays negotiating skills.
Speak Out California!: An assembly member and a water maven/activist responds to water legislation.
Opinion L.A.: Humans are more than 50% water. Do we hate more than half of ourselves?
“For years, we’ve been shoved into accepting the false, manipulated choice of jobs versus the environment; now there’s the insidious manufactured either-or of “us versus them,”’ the `”them” being a balanced water system and the habitat and creatures that are part of it. Well, here’s some breaking news that should be old news: We ARE them.”
California City News: Assembly pulls all-nighter, water deal done
“Capitol Insiders’ Twitter fees lit up at around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, leading some of us to question who was up too late, and who was up too early. Turns out the Assembly decided to burn the midnight oil and bang out the water deal once and for all.”
Quote of the Day:
“When discussing recent state budgets, the governor and others said the state could not afford to fully maintain its universities, community colleges, HIV/AIDS services, poison control centers, domestic violence shelters, state parks, health care for children, and in-home care for seniors and the disabled. Paying back this water bond will come at the expense of these services that Californians expect.”
-Noreen Evans, Chair of the CA Assembly Budget Committee