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TID throws weight behind water bond

POSTED September 30, 2014 5:52 p.m.
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The Turlock Irrigation District Board of Trustees joined leagues with a broad coalition of water, conservation, and agricultural organizations with its adopted position of support regarding California's Proposition 1, or the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014.

If approved by voters, the $7.5 billion water bond would provide funding for regional water reliability, safe drinking water and clean water programs particularly to disadvantaged communities, water recycling projects, groundwater sustainability plan management and implementation, watershed protection, new surface and groundwater storage projects, and flood management.

As of now, TID is not guaranteed any of this funding. However, they are able to apply for grant money in multiple categories.

"We would most likely have to enter into an Integrated Regional Water Management Plan to be considered for any funding," said TID spokesperson Michelle Reimers. "It's one of the hurdles that we'll have to jump over in order to actually get funding, but I think we have just as good a chance as any other agency in the state."

Reimers went on to say that although the district is not guaranteed any of the $7.5 billion water bond, the district would bear witness to indirect benefits of the act, including more storage that would alleviate pressure on the Tuolumne and the overall improvement of California water reliability.

"We've definitely talked about doing some programs before the water bond, so the question really is whether we are going to apply and how aggressively we are going to apply," said President Ron Macedo.

The Board voted 4-1, with Director Robert Santos dissenting, to declare a position of support on California's Proposition 1, or Water Quality Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014.

"If we have intentions of pursuing grant money or funds, I think it would be good for us to be in support of the bond rather than taking an opposition to it," said Director Joe Alamo.

The $7.5 billion water bond, which is the product of more than five years of discussions and negotiations geared towards creating a statewide comprehensive water plan, would replace the $11.14 billion measure previously slated for the November 2014 ballot. The measure was approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Aug. 13.

Supporters of the bond cite benefits that include the provision of safe drinking water for all communities, the expansion of water storage, and the management and preparation for future droughts. Those that oppose the bond say that the money does not create any new water; rather, it takes away money from schools and wrongly focuses on building more dams.



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