“Seasonal storms have exposed once more some perennial political divisions over California water.
“Citing the latest rainfall, seven of the state’s lawmakers are urging the Obama administration to free up more irrigation deliveries for San Joaquin Valley farms. The muscular Capitol Hill lineup is noticeable both for who’s on it and who’s not.”
“This month, another step forward was taken for plans to build Sites Reservoir near Maxwell. Congressmen John Garamendi, D-Fairfield, and Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, have introduced federal legislation to authorize and complete the feasibility study for the proposed new water storage.
“One could call the progress slow and steady, understanding that the timeline is decades.”
“Perhaps because of all the doom-and-gloom drought predictions, Californians today are more likely than they were a year ago to vote for an $11.1 billion bond for state water projects, the Public Policy Institute of California’s latest poll finds.
“Voters are far more likely to approve a water bond on the November ballot if lawmakers shrink its size, according to a new survey that also found nine out of every 10 Californians say they have taken steps to conserve as the drought drags on.
“The poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California also reported that public support for legalized marijuana appears to be slipping, the high-speed rail project remains divisive and Gov.
From The Sacramento Bee, in a commentary by Assembly Member Anthony Rendon, chair of the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee:
“The Legislature has voted twice to postpone a statewide vote on a 2009 water bond deal that has been deemed unpassable because it is an $11.14 billion pork-barrel measure that was cobbled together in the dead of night in the backrooms of the Capitol.
“Assembly Bill 1331, the Clean, Safe and Reliable Drinking Water Act of 2014, is the product of the most transparent and inclusive public process in the history of the state.”
“A Senate panel Tuesday advanced one of the three competing proposals for water bond measures, but lawmakers acknowledged that more negotiations will be required to reach a consensus on what to put before voters.”
“Amid political maneuvering, an effort to rewrite and downsize the $11.14 billion water bond scheduled for the November ballot has been approved by a key Senate committee.
“The bill, AB 1331 by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, passed its first policy hurdle in the Senate on Tuesday, making it the only one of the latest batch of water bond rewrites to clear committees in both houses of the Legislature.”
From The Sacramento Bee, in a column by Dan Walters:
“There’s already an $11.1 billion water bond scheduled for the November ballot, one originally written in the dead of night five years ago, postponed twice and widely seen as untenable because it contains too many specifically earmarked allocations generally known as ‘pork.’
“This year’s effort is aimed at a smaller replacement free of that epithet and, presumably, able to gain voter approval – spurred on by a severe, prolonged drought.”
“There’s no easy fix for the National Flood Insurance Program, now drowning in a $24 billion sea of red ink.
“But experts and advocates say Congress does have some options that could make the troubled program financially stable, more affordable and more effective at motivating change in communities built too close to the water.”
“California’s drought has sparked a new push by federal lawmakers to create or expand a handful of reservoirs around the state, ramping up a political battle that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger once referred to as a ‘holy war in some ways.’
“Government agencies have been studying five major water storage projects for nearly two decades, with nothing to show for the effort so far.”
“Earlier this month, Congress sought to ease their fears of sky-high premiums by rolling back a 2012 reform ending the government’s costly practice of offering subsidized insurance for older homes and businesses in flood zones. The president signed the bill Friday.”
“Sen. Barbara Boxer called for the West to set aside legal fights over water and take new approaches to adapt to drier times by moving more quickly to expand water recycling and adopt new water-saving technologies. …
“Boxer, the Rancho Mirage Democrat who leads the U.S.
“The third year of the California drought brings a reminder of just how fractured and messy democracy can be. There have been dozens of proposals — seven versions of a state water bond, for example — to improve the water situation and more are surely on the way.
“We’re wondering if the politicians are even keeping track of all that has been proposed.”