Sept. 18, 2007 -- Governor Schwarzenegger announced a $9 billion comprehensive water infrastructure proposal to be introduced in the legislative special session that he called in response to California's water crisis. The plan invests $600 million from Propositions 50, 84 and 1E to immediately relieve pressure on the Delta from environmental challenges and to respond to a recent federal court ruling that will reduce water deliveries to Southern California. It also includes $5.6 billion in water storage, nearly $2 billion in Delta restoration (in addition to the above-mentioned $600 million), $1 billion in grants for conservation and regional water projects and $500 million for specific water restoration projects. Written in two bills authored by Assembly Republican Leader Michael Villines (R-Fresno) and Senator Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto), the proposal represents a combination of ideas previously detailed in proposals by the Governor and legislative leaders.
"Our water crisis has gotten worse with the dry conditions and the recent federal court action that is going to have a devastating impact on the state's economy and the 25 million Californians who depend on Delta water. We need a comprehensive fix," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "That is why we are introducing two bills to solve California's water crisis in both the short and long-term. I look forward to working and negotiating with my partners in the Legislature so we can approve a comprehensive upgrade to California's water infrastructure."
Details of the $9 billion comprehensive water infrastructure proposal include:
• $600 million from Propositions 50, 84 and 1E to immediately relieve pressure on the Delta from environmental concerns
• $5.6 billion in above and below ground water storage
• $5.1 billion in surface storage
• $500 million in groundwater storage
• Identifies three locations for surface storage (Sites, Temperance Flat Reservoir and Los Vaqueros Expansion Project)
• Specific criteria to assure public benefits and environmental benefits
• $1.9 billion for Delta Restoration and water supply reliability
• $1.4 billion for habitat restoration
• $500 million in early actions to address environmental concerns in the Delta
• $1 billion in grants for conservation and regional water projects
• $500 million in grants for specified watersheds throughout the state, including the San Joaquin River, Klamath River, Los Angeles River and others
In January, building on his Strategic Growth Plan from last year, the Governor introduced a comprehensive plan to invest in additional surface and groundwater storage to meet the needs of population growth and manage the effects of climate change on California's hydrology and water delivery systems. The plan will help communities protect against flooding, and capture water from storms and snowmelt run-off to supply cities, farmers and business with water during drought conditions.
The Governor's comprehensive plan also includes significant funding toward restoration of the ailing Delta and would lead to the development of a new conveyance system. Twenty five million Californians rely on the Delta for clean, safe water. It also irrigates hundreds of thousands of acres of Central Valley farmland and it is the backbone of California's $32 billion agricultural industry.
Last year, the Governor directed the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force to develop a Delta management plan. The task force will present its findings and recommendations by January 1, 2008 and its Strategic Plan by October 31, 2008. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan is also underway, being developed with broad participation from water agencies, environmental organizations and local representatives.