By Anthony Silva |Staff Writer|
Proposition 1 proposes $7.1 billion in general bonds to fund the improvement of California’s water supply.
The funds would be allocated into categories: $520 million would go towards public water system improvements, $2.7 billion for new facilities for groundwater storage and $725 million for drinking water protection.
The bonds will be repaid over the next 40 years using general tax revenues. This amounts to an average of $360 million a year that would be paid back by taxpayers.
No money has been attached to specific projects as of yet. If the measure passes, any proposed water projects will be subject to a legislative vote.
This provision was added to the bill in order to prevent wasteful state spending.
Proposition 1 was created by state assemblyman Anthony Rendon and was certified by Gov. Jerry Brown to be on this year’s ballot.
According to the Proposition 1 website, both the California Democratic and Republican parties are in support of the measure, along with environmental groups “The Nature Conservancy” and “Audubon California”.
ABC 7 reported that, “The Nature Conservancy” made a statement in support of Proposition 1: “We really see the importance of this bond and striking a balance in providing a water supply for fish and wildlife as well as people”.
Some organizations have taken a stance against Prop 1. Watchdog organization “Food and Water Watch” held several protests throughout Southern California in opposition of the measure.
Ankur Patel, a spokesman for the organization, shared his views regarding the impact Proposition 1 would have on our water crisis.
“This bond would do nothing to solve our water crisis, water in California has been allocated five times over meaning that annually we use five times the amount of water that falls from the sky. Clearly, this is a problem that building dams will not solve”, said Patel.
According to an argument published by Brown in the California State Voter Guide, Proposition 1 is a financially responsible way to end the water crisis and will not raise taxes for residents.
Patel argued that the financial impact of the measure will be more drastic than supporters lead the public to believe.
“This proposition would directly benefit the giant agricultural businesses that are growing water-intensive crops in the desert to make a profit at the expense of the taxpayers,” said Patel.
According to voter information site ballotpedia.org, supporters have collected over $6 million in campaign funds.
This, in comparison with the $50,000 that has been raised in opposition of the measure, puts forth questions about how the opposition could reach voters in an environment where television commercial space could be costly.
Patel believes that the bill’s popularity has to do with the recent media coverage regarding the drought in California.
“People realize they are in a drought and they want to do something. This is being presented as the only option for voters, so people are donating to Prop 1’s campaign without knowing the details of the water situation,” said Patel.