Assemblyman Adam C. Gray (D-Merced), along with Assemblymen Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno), and Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) and Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) have introduced a comprehensive water bond proposal with the necessary resources to make critical investments in California's water infrastructure.
"Our decades-old water infrastructure is failing to meet the demands of agriculture, increased populations and environmental regulations," said Gray. "We have been living on the credit card of infrastructure built and paid for by past generations. It is time for us to step up and make this critical investment in California's future."
AB 2686 sets the bond at $9.25 billion. This proposal is broken down as follows:
• $3 billion: Water Storage Infrastructure
• $1 billion: Clean and Safe Drinking Water
•$ 2.5 billion: Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Sustainability
• $1.5 billion: Protecting Rivers, Lakes, Streams, Coastal Waters, & Watersheds
•$1.5 billion: Climate Change Preparedness for Regional Water Security
An important aspect of AB 2686 is that it includes continuous appropriation for the surface storage component, meaning that funds will be locked in to these projects and cannot be re-appropriated elsewhere by the Legislature.
"Amongst the various water bond proposals, AB 2686 is the only proposal that offers a framework with the funding and priorities to properly plan for California's water future," said Perea. "With surface storage, clean and safe drinking water and Delta sustainability at the forefront of my proposal Californians will keep their jobs and be able to put food on the table. This bond goes beyond satisfying the immediate needs the drought has created - it provides for generations to come.
"As the drought continued to worsen, multiple water bonds have been proposed, but this bond has the right balance needed to serve the entire state - families and farmers alike," said Salas. "Representing the hardest hit areas of this water crisis we outline a water infrastructure plan to protect the $43 billion agricultural industry that keeps our economy strong and address the dire needs of our communities who struggle to attain clean drinking water."
"The laborers are proud to support AB 2686 and its aim of helping to meet California's long-term water policy goals. The economic success of our state hinges on a stable water supply," Said Jose Mejia, executive director of California State Council of Laborers, "AB 2686 provides the much-needed funding to construct new water storage projects and protect the Delta, both vital to the economic well-being of our state."
AB 2686 is supported by a bipartisan coalition of legislators as well as a diverse group of stakeholders and community organizations.
"AB 2686 is the only bond proposal introduced this session that has both the necessary $3 billion investment in Water and Storage Infrastructure as well as bipartisan support. We need new water in California and AB 2686 delivers on that promise," said Gray.