ACWA Welcomes New Water Bond Bill

The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) on Aug. 26 renewed its support for a comprehensive water bond for the November ballot and called on lawmakers to reach agreement on a package before time runs out.

"We are in the midst of a water crisis that threatens our environment and our economy, and it grows worse each day that we delay action on a comprehensive water package," ACWA Executive Director Timothy Quinn said. "Californians have waited long enough for a solution. The time to move forward is now."

During the past six weeks, three constructive proposals for a comprehensive water bond have been put forth. In July, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein proposed a $9.3 billion bond, which the ACWA board voted unanimously to support, recognizing that further negotiation would be necessary. Two additional water bond bills were introduced in recent days. AB 8XX (Huffman, Caballero and Wolk) would place a $9.8 billion bond on the November ballot, while AB 9XX (Plescia) would authorize a $9.98 billion bond for November.

Noting that Feinstein and Schwarzenegger deserve credit for jump-starting the process, Quinn said that taken together, all of the pieces for a bipartisan proposal are on the table and urged the Legislature to work out their remaining differences.

"Though there are key differences in the proposals, this is the closest we have been to agreement in three years. The building blocks for success are now before us," Quinn said. "Polls show California voters understand the urgency of our water situation and they want action now. I urge the Legislature to continue this important work and put a bipartisan water bond before voters in November."

ACWA also supported action by the Assembly Special Water Committee to approve SB 1XX (Perata), which appropriates more than $800 million for projects throughout California from previously approved bonds, and AB 7XX (Wolk), dealing with climate change.

ACWA is a statewide association of public agencies whose 450 members are responsible for about 90% of the water delivered in California.

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