Sacramento all-nighter produces an $11.1bn package of water bills

The California Legislature passed a wide-ranging water package that includes an $11-billion bond as dawn broke over the Capitol today, reports the Los Angeles Times.

In and Out:

In: 20% voluntary conservation by 2020 by urban areas not farms.

In: a bond measure that started at $12bn, dropped to $9bn then rose again to $11.1bn.

In: $3bn worth of dams demanded by the governor under threat of veto.

In: $2.25bn for Delta restoration and a board to oversee the Delta appointed by the governor and legislature. This would have the power to approve a peripheral canal to channel water around the Delta.

Out: Groundwater monitoring for privately owned properties. The stick, reports the LA Times “is a loss of water funding. Counties and agencies in groundwater basins that didn’t monitor could not receive state water grants or loans.”

Out: Increased penalties and increased enforcement to control illegal water diversion.

Capturing rain

Simple steps such as redirecting water from downspouts into permeable beds prevent rainwater from reaching streets, where it picks up a host of pollutants before exiting the storm system into the Pacific. Source: TreePeople

From Reuters via Aquafornia: Despite threats by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to kill all of the 704 bills on his desk unless legislators reached an agreement, the Governor decided to approve SB 790, also known as the Stormwater Resource Planning Act. SB 790 creates a new framework encouraging California municipalities to address the stormwater issues in a new way. It encourages municipalities to manage stormwater for beneficial uses such as augmenting water supply, preventing floods, mitigating stormwater pollution, creating green space and enhancing wildlife habitat. To keep reading, click here.

It’s too late for Angelenos who presently direct rainwater from their property into the street to do much in advance of a large storm now

That old threat?

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger last night dropped threats to veto more than 700 bills unless the legislature brought him a water package to his liking. Rather, saying a deal was near, he declared the legislature in special session.

While the official reversal was more dignified than the Tweet that the Governor sent out reading, “going all out, signing two bills at once,” the proclamation for a special session itself is loaded.

Even if the governor enjoyed the consensus necessary to resolve differences over whether or not to build a peripheral canal around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the proclamation makes a difficult task all but impossible.* It bundles with a Delta fix demands for two previously rejected dam projects — current estimated costs between $4 and $5bn.

The Los Angeles Times has the story on some of what got signed and what didn’t.

UPDATE: *Politicians disagree and are out in

Have a nice day, Governor Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger's breakfast, via Twitter. His previous twitter from last night: "Water is biggest crisis facing CA. 40% unemplymt in Cent Val. Delta close to collapse. Leg must deliver water Friday or see lots of vetoes." Click on the smiley face if you can stomach more.

ONE month ago, the Sacramento Bee, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Contra Costa Times, Capitol Weekly, Aquafornia, this website and others followed the California legislature down to the last weary minutes of regular session (intro here, news roll here, conclusion here). For the first time in a quarter of a century, there was a slim chance that a package of water bills aimed at securing the future of safe water supplies from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta might pass.

They didn’t. Arnold Schwarzenegger threatened legislature that unless Delta

$12bn water bill


MIDNIGHT Friday September 11th is the deadline for passage in the California state legislature of a bill, or package of bills, aimed at solving the state’s water crisis before the end of the 2009 legislative season.

Potential cost? $12bn.

Who will it affect?

Every Californian who needs water.

Provided that a water package is passed [a bigger if by the day] the next time that many Californians may hear of it could be when the bond measure covering the cost appears on November ballots in 2010.

To judge from draft bond measures now in circulation, that price ranges between $11.7 and $12.395bn, though some estimates put the figure far higher. So, averaged out, think of the potential price

keep looking »