Earlier this week Governor Brown distributed a letter outlining his position on the water bond.  He expresses opposition to the $11 billion bond and proposes to replace it with a $6 bond. Here is the letter:

My Fellow Citizens of California:

Drought conditions in California grow more serious by the day.

Last month, the State Water Resources Control Board issued mandatory conservation measures to ensure that our water supply remains reliable. Whether you’re a rancher, farmer, business owner or an average Californian — it is crucial that you do all you can to conserve water.

State government, of course, has a major role in how we manage and conserve this fundamental resource. In March, I signed legislation to provide over $680 million for drought relief efforts, including money for housing and food for workers directly affected by the drought, bond funds for local projects to capture and manage water more efficiently and funding for emergency drinking water supplies. The recently enacted state budget contains specific funding to lessen the impacts of drought on fish and wildlife across the state.

But the drought shows no sign of letting up, so we must do more.

Five years ago, state legislators and the Governor put a pork-laden water bond on the ballot — with a price tag beyond what’s reasonable or affordable. The cost to taxpayers would be enormous — $750 million a year for 30 years — and would come at the expense of funding for schools, health care and public safety. This is on top of the nearly $8 billion a year the state already spends on bond debt service.

Since being elected governor, I’ve worked with the Legislature to reduce the state’s fiscal liabilities. Together, we’ve made steady progress paying down debt and enacting responsible, balanced budgets and it is no time to turn back now. Therefore, I’m proposing a no-frills, no-pork water bond that invests in the MOST CRITICAL PROJECTS without breaking the bank.

My $6 billion plan provides for water use efficiency and recycling, effective groundwater management and added storage. It invests in safe drinking water, particularly in disadvantaged communities and for watershed restoration and increased flows in some of our most important rivers and streams.

This water bond is tied to our comprehensive Water Action Plan that charts the way for California to become more resilient in the face of droughts and floods. It goes a long way to ensure clean drinking water, protect habitat and free up funding for local water projects.

Water is central to our lives, our wildlife and our food supply. Our economy depends on it. We must act now so that we can continue to manage as good stewards of this vital resource for generations to come. But we can and must do so without returning California to the days of overwhelming deficit and debt.


Jerry Brown

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