- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 13, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California lawmakers on Wednesday voted to place a $7.5 billion water plan before voters in November, marking the largest water investment in decades for a state struggling with a historic drought.

The plan is designed to build reservoirs, clean up contaminated groundwater and promote water-treatment technologies, including desalination.

After weeks of difficult negotiations, the ballot measure sailed through both houses of the Legislature: 77-1 in the Assembly and 37-0 in the Senate.

The measure replaces an existing water bond that was approved by a previous Legislature but was widely considered too costly and too bloated with pork-barrel projects to win favor with voters.

The evening legislative votes came after Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers from both parties were finally able to clear their main hurdle, a disagreement about how much money should be spent on new reservoirs and other storage projects.

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