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.

Delta divided

ON A DATE synonymous with American heroism in the face of emergency, yesterday the California State Legislature undertook to solve the state’s water crisis by midnight — and failed.

Looming over negotiations was California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose threats to veto any legislation that did not include new dams and reservoirs in spite of the state’s budget crisis only sound like they come from a comic book. This one, from yesterday, comes from the Associated Press: “Don’t send me Mickey Mouse bills. Send me the big stuff.”

With no way to find billions to pay for the “big stuff,” or new water to fill new reservoirs, last ditch efforts to move a sweeping package of water bills failed. Aquafornia, the newsfeed of the Water Education Foundation, has the latest reports, starting 

$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