State water bond faces second ballot delay

FRESNO, Calif.

An 11-billion dollar water bond tabled in 2010 until 2012 is expected to be pulled from the ballot - for a second time - and Valley farmers aren't happy.

Snow-covered mountains don't tell the whole story. A snowpack 50-percent of normal tells us we are headed for a dry year.

Mario Santoyo is director of the Latino Water Coalition. He explained, "That's the ironic thing most people don't understand. You have to have the ability to store water for future bad years. It's your savings account."

Santoyo expects the state water bond, which included additional storage, to be taken off the November ballot. "The water bond was really an opportunity to both get some today type projects and long-term projects and so again, it's another opportunity to get water that has slipped away."

Manuel Cunha of the Nisei Farmers League said, "I'm just frustrated."

Cunha felt the water bond is doomed because of a push to get the governor's tax initiative passed. He said, "For us to wait another two years to put it on the ballot, that's an election year so it's politics at its best again. So what they'll do is delay it again."

A recent Public Policy Institute poll showed 51-percent of voters supported the water bond.

Republican congressman Devin Nunes of Visalia said, "Without change to federal law having a water bond in this area doesn't really benefit us at this point nor do I think a water bond would pass."

Legislators on both sides of the aisle crafted the water bond in 2009.

Santoyo said many of those supporters will have been replaced in Sacramento when 2014 rolls around. "We push it to 14 we'll down to 10-percent of the people that were there in 2009."

Santoyo added the state water bond could be taken off the November ballot in just a few weeks.

A scaled down version of the 11-billion dollar initiative has been discussed but it hasn't gained traction.

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