Billions in water bond funding await decision by California voters

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Billions in water bond funding await California voters decision
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The Friant-Kern Canal provides much of the water to Valley crops and it's sinking. The November bond measure would pump in $750 million for repairs.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Friant Kern Canal provides much of the water to valley crops, and it's sinking. The November bond measure would pump 750 million in for repairs. The sinking has cut the canals carrying capacity in half.

Fresno County has endorsed the measure. Supervisor Buddy Mendes says unlike Prop 1, the 2014 bond measure which failed to deliver enough funds to build Temperance Flat Dam, the funding in this plan is clear. "It's specific language, and it has a series of what it will do, and one of the things is fixing of the Friant Kern Canal."

The November bond vote includes $750 million to clean drinking water and wastewater in disadvantaged communities like many in western Fresno County.

Michael Claiborne of the Leadership Council for Justice and Accountability says the money could help some of the one million Californians who lack safe drinking water. "We've worked with a lot of people that lack access to safe drinking water and whose public systems are contaminated with nitrates or arsenic or 123 TCP."

The bond measure also provides $100 million for the restoration of salmon runs on the San Joaquin River. The San Joaquin River Parkway is also slated to get $26 million in both the November bond and in the Parks and Water bond in the June primary.

San Joaquin River Parkway Conservancy Director Melinda Marks says $6 million earmarked specifically for construction funds will be put to good use if approved. "We would develop all of the things that we are looking forward to in the parkway, which is habitat conservation, habitat improvements, we would obtain property from willing sellers we would develop trails and other low impact recreation activities."