Valley groups supporting a bi-partisan water bond

Action News Reporter Anthony Pura has the latest on the effort to bring more water to the Central Valley.
March 20, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Assemblyman Henry T. Perea stood side by side with Democrats Adam Gray from Merced and Rudy Salas of Bakersfield at a podium on the grounds of the Fresno Irrigation District.

The Valley trio is responsible for introducing AB 8626 in the state capital in February. On Thursday, they were in the Central Valley to bring attention to $9.25-billion dollar water bond measure.

Republican Anthony Cannella, who helped co-author the bill, could not be present.

There are currently seven different water bond measures under consideration at the state capital that range in money allocation and projects.

"Number one, it's the only bipartisan bill that's introduced in the legislature and number two, it's the most comprehensive," Perea said.

This is how the bill would the bill would be spent:

$3 billion: Water Storage Infrastructure
$1 billion: Clean and Safe Drinking water
$2.25 billion: Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Sustainability
$1.5 billion: Protecting Rivers, Lakes, Streams, Coastal Waters, & Watersheds
$1.5 billion: Climate Change Preparedness for Regional Water Security

The bill is being backed by the California Latino Water Coalition, Nisei Farmers League, the Building and Construction Trades Council of Fresno as well as the Fresno Irrigation District.

Mario Santoyo of the California Latino Water Coalition says this bill addresses the main issues his group is concerned with.

""For the valley there are some critical elements in this bill-- storage, fixing the Delta, and water for disadvantaged communities," Santoyo said.

Santoyo said the biggest draw is the 3 billion dollars aimed at creating more water storage. It puts emphasis on Temperance flat along the upper San Joaquin River.

"Currently the only one that has adequate funding for those elements, is this one," Santoyo said.

Chuck Riojas represents the Building and Construction Trades Council of Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare Counties. He's specially interested in the measure because any storage project at Temperance Flat would mean jobs for the area.

"It's definitely in the hundreds, if not in the thousands, when you talk about all the trades and all the works involved in building a new day," Riojas said.

"It's intended to address future conditions," Santoyo said. "We have to do other things to address this immediate drought, but unless we address the long term we'll continually be having to address these problems."

The bill's authors expect to have it heard in the state capital in April. If the bill gets enough votes in the capital, it will go to the November ballot to get the voter's approval.


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