California will vote on a proposition Tuesday that will determine how the state receives and spends money on water initiatives in the coming years.
Proposition 1, or the Water Bond bill, would allocate over $7 billion in general bonds to the state to sustain infrastructure projects, such as local dams, improve the depleted groundwater and new recycling water methods and facilities in California.
While the proposed bill has maintained bipartisan support across the state, endorsed by both California’s Republican and Democratic parties, there is opposition to the water bond.
Barbara Parrilla, field director of the No on Prop 1 campaign, said it’s a bad deal for California taxpayers.
“The problem is it will cost $14.4 billion, paying $360 million a year for 40 years, and it won’t make any significant water change in California,” Parrilla said.
She said the infrastructure part of the of bond, which is $2.7 billion of the overall bill, won’t result in sufficient water storage, and doing other projects such as fixing leaky pipes would create better results.
“They will only net 1 percent additional water,” Parilla said.
Manuel Chunha, President of Nisei Farmers League and a supporter of Proposition 1, said that Parrilla’s claim was not the case, calling it “an absolute outright untrue statement.”
One of those infrastructure projects will be constructed here locally. The Temperance Flat Dam would be built above the Friant Dam, just north of Fresno.
Cunha said the Temperance Dam will allow substantial water storage to travel to nearby communities across the Valley, but also the water will seep into the ground beneath the dam and Millerton and replenish groundwater and aquifers locally.
“It means more water for agriculture, for our cities and our environment by replenishing the groundwater,” Cunha said.
According to a September poll by the LA Times, 64 percent of likely voters said they would vote in favor for the bill. Additionally, the Yes on Prop 1 camp has reportedly raised over $13.2 million as of October 24, while those in opposition have raised $89,000.
Parrilla said that students and young adults should pay attention to this bill, as it is fiscally irresponsible for California.
“Prop 1 is going to soak up money that is not going towards education and infrastructure that will serve the future of California,” Parrilla said. “We see Prop 1 as an expensive status here in California,” she added.
Cunha says that youth and students should vote in favor due to its effect on our local communities, both big and small.
“It’s not just about agriculture, it’s about clean water in our communities. If we don’t have water or the availability, our communities will fall apart,” Cunha said.