State lawmakers renew water bond talks

July 2nd, 2013 | by Erica Felci | Comments

State lawmakers today are renewing a years-long discussion about how to restore California’s aging water system and fix major environmental projects such as the Salton Sea.

The Assembly’s Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee is meeting this morning in Sacramento to a water bond that’s supposed to be on the 2014 ballot.

The $11-plus million bond was negotiated in 2009, and was immediately hailed as a monumental fix for new dams, reservoirs and other water projects.

Hundreds of millions were earmarked for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a source of drinking water for two-thirds of the state’s population.

It also would have a big impact in the Coachella Valley, as the State Water Project —   through a water transfer deal —  helps recharge the desert’s aquifer.

The desert’s two state senators at the time — Democrat Denise Ducheny and Republican John Benoit, who is now a Riverside County supervisor — also secured $100 million for the Salton Sea.

Another $20 million was set aside for the New River — a Salton Sea tributary — and it meant $47 million for the Colorado River watershed.

That is, of course, if voters approved the deal. But for various political reasons, the bond never made it to the ballot.

The agenda for today’s committee hearing in Sacramento says the discussion will focus on the “principles for developing a water bond.”

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