Four years ago I attended a presentation at the Carr America Center on the Water Bond that was proposed for the 2010 ballot. I was running for the Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) again and wanted to be current on water issues.
The water bond proposed for 2010 was needed to maintain and improve the infrastructure at the Delta, but Governor Brown pulled it from the ballot because he thought there was too much pork in it and it wouldn't pass.
That bond was for over 11 Billion Dollars much of which would go to fixing problems at the Delta which are still in serious need of repair and safety improvements. It also would have provided for more water storage.
Our drought this year was not just caused by lack of rain, but lack of storage for what little rain we had. I still have almost half the water I collected last winter stored in my home systems. The drought would not be as serious this year if more reservoirs had been added in the four years since the last bond measure was pulled from the ballot.
One of the more contentious elements in the 2010 proposal included transferring water from northern California to communities in the central and southern parts of the state.
The new Water Bond on this November's ballot was reduced to slim $7.5B and wording was added keep the money from being used to transfer water from the northern part of the state to the southern. The regional water divide was one of the issues in the bond proposed for 2010.
As you may know, Los Angeles was built in the desert. The southern part of the state is far more thirsty than the northern part. This has been a political hot potato for years. Rent or stream the movie Chinatown for a dramatized version of this issue.
This bond is past due. The Delta is in serious need of repair. We've been living on borrowed time that it would not overflow its boundaries. In a way the drought has been a blessing, keeping the amount of water from breaking through the barriers and flooding the neighboring communities.
There's a very good article from last August in East County Today, a blog about eastern Contra Costa County, centering primarily in Brentwood. Those communities near the Delta are scarily susceptible to flooding if the dams give way. These have been in serious need of repair since before 2010. This water bond is necessary to protect those communities, and our own water sources.
This is not a pork bill. This is not a "Friends of Jerry" bill. Brown took the old one off the ballot in 2010 because it was too laden with special interests. The new bill is lean and mean and really, really needed. It's like the ad for "Pay me now or pay me later." Maintenance and defense are always worth the investment. You really do not want the alternative!