Water Wars: Proposed State Water Bond

February 20, 2008 The California Chamber of Commerce hopes to get four bond measures on the November ballot.

With the state facing a 16-billion dollar budget shortfall some think the proposal may price itself out of consideration.

No doubt these almond buds will blossom in this Kerman orchard.

Much less certain is the success in formulating a new water plan for all of California.

West-side growers like Paul Betancourt saw a 70-percent reduction in their water delivery last year.

Pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta was reduced to help protect the endangered Delta Smelt.

Paul Betancourt, Kerman Farmer: "As we see growth coming in the years ahead, we need to know there's gonna be water for those people instead of just taking it from agriculture because without the water we can't produce the food."

Betancourt would like to see an improved delivery system from the Delta as well as a new dam at Temperance Flat.

Sarge Green, California Water Institute: "For the San Joaquin Valley those are the two big areas things where we need resolution and the rest of the state too."

The water bond initiative would set aside three-billion dollars for water storage projects, such as new dams.

But Green sees the proposal as too expensive to garner widespread support.

"Some of the things probably need to be readjusted so that it's doable."

Environmental groups oppose the water bond saying not enough money would go to recycling and conservation efforts.

Getting people to see the glass is half empty can be difficult.

"I still think we tend to take it for granted. That it's always been there and it's always gonna be there. That's not so, it's a complex and fragile and expensive system."

Over 400-thousand signatures are required by July to get the four water bond initiatives on the November ballot.

Governor Schwarzenegger has yet to say if he supports the plan.

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