Home>Articles>Citizens Ballot Initiative filed to Fulfill Funding of Long-Overdue California Water Projects

Aerial view pf depleted San Luis Reservoir, Oct. 9, 2021. (Photo: CA Water for Food and People Movement)

Citizens Ballot Initiative filed to Fulfill Funding of Long-Overdue California Water Projects

California has plenty of funding for water projects

By Katy Grimes, October 11, 2021 7:49 am

A citizens water group has filed for ballot title and summary with the California Secretary of State on a water abundance ballot initiative for the November 2022 ballot.

The Water Infrastructure Funding Act of 2022, and the More Water Now initiative specifically calls for two percent of the state’s general fund – about $3.5 billion per year – to be allocated to projects that increase California’s water supply, according to the group’s website. “The initiative also permits up to half of those funds to be used to finance large water supply projects immediately. Tens of billions of dollars will become available. This two percent funding solution will continue until new completed projects add another five million acre feet per year of water supply to California’s farms and cities.”

On a very recent road trip I drove through the San Luis Reservoir, and was stunned at how much lower the water is than when I saw it in May 2021.

San Luis Reservoir Oct. 6, 2021. (Photo: Katy Grimes for the California Globe)

In recent abundant water years, the water in the San Luis Reservoir has lapped at the road.

San Luis Reservoir Oct. 6, 2021. (Photo: Katy Grimes for the California Globe)
San Luis Reservoir May 2021. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

As for the ballot initiative, founder of the California For Water and People Movement Kristi Diener stresses that this is not a bond and does not raise taxes. The ballot initiative tells the legislature to use existing tax dollars we already pay (paid), and budget that money for the water projects we want. It annually slices off 2% of the general fund and takes that roughly $4 billion a year to finance the projects in this initiative. We already do this for education, where 38% of the budget is dedicated for that purpose annually. “If we can do this for our kids at 38%, we can surely dedicate 2% to ensure they don’t have a water-less future.”

PRIORITY PROJECTS: This initiative gives priority to underfunded projects already approved by the California Water Commission, who administered 2014’s Prop 1 Water Bond.

  • Projects like Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat Reservoir will receive the money they need to put shovels in the ground immediately.
  • It funds repairs on our major water conveyances like the California Aqueduct, the Friant-Kern Canal, and the Delta-Mendota Canal, so when we have more water in storage, we can maximize our conveyance capacity along with our ability to move that water around.
  • It will upgrade and maintain our dams to the standards one would expect in the world’s fifth largest economy. It will pay for desalination, underground water storage, and water recycling to potable use standards.
  • It will ensure this state is able to supply every household and business with clean and safe water at last.
  • It will safeguard the irrigation water farmers need to put our agricultural lands back into full production.
  • And it will protect the environment by giving the earth back the water it needs to arrest subsidence, maintain healthy aquifers, and curb the blowing away of rich and vital top soils.

Record Setting Drought or Not?

Kristi Diener, who runs the California For Water and People Movement, along with a statewide coalition of more than 200 water agency administrators, trade association representatives, leaders of advocacy groups, and industry executives, created the More Water Now initiative. Diener explains the hyperbolic drought news:

For months we’ve been flooded with fake news explaining why our reservoirs are critically low, and how we’ve had the driest year on record. But you can’t just stop measuring precipitation until the actual water year has happened, nor can you compare those figures with figures recorded from a full water year and get true results. They did it all summer long anyway.

Now the actual data has been released from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The water year runs from October 1 to September 30. The first numbers in the chart represent the year, and the second numbers represent the month.

Water year 2021 was the 3rd driest. Water year 2020 was the 14th driest.

Also remember when you hear the phrase “driest on record,” realize that record is only 125 years old. The earth is 4.5 billion years old. There have been 36 million time spans of 125 years. The record is just a dot in time, and really, pretty insignificant.

Lastly, the More Water Now initiative will amend the state constitution protecting it from lawsuits if it is passed by the voters. The only way a constitutional amendment can be undone is by a majority of the voters voting to change it with another ballot initiative. The state legislature can propose a constitutional amendment, and 2/3 of each house can approve the change, but the change cannot happen unless it is put on the ballot and approved by a majority of voters.

And, this initiative does not sunset until the state reaches five million acre feet of new water that can be delivered annually.

The initiative needs one million registered voters in California to sign the petition to place this initiative on the November 2022 ballot.

This is the FINAL version of the “Water Infrastructure Funding Act of 2022” filed with the California Attorney General HERE and below.

21-0014A1 (Water Infrastructure)

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12 thoughts on “Citizens Ballot Initiative filed to Fulfill Funding of Long-Overdue California Water Projects

  1. Sad day when the public has to step up and do the job that paid legislatures and the elected leaders are incapable of doing. This action should have been take by them DECADES ago!
    Begs the question, why have they not done this before?
    Maybe it has to do with payola??
    These whores in the capitol do not give a tinkers damn about the welfare of the people in this state!
    Their concern is their power and how to keep it.

    1. In politics, chasing after the latest and greatest shiny new thing is easy and beneficial to your career:

      “Look, see everybody! Look at what I’m doing!! And all to make life better for you!!!”

      And that’s all the low information voter sees and responds to.

      “He has nice eyes and he really cares about [fill in the blank]. I should vote for him.”

      And so naturally all the emphasis goes on the latest faux, over determined image crisis to be solved. Much posturing for or against, variously, pipeline oil leaks, Covid, racism (real or imagined), discrimination, illegals, guns, toys in the aisles and so on and so forth. Trivia, soundbites and manufactured controversy.

      But your water and power? Nah! Maintaining your dams and canals don’t get you headlines. (And it’s all about the next election cycle, not the decades ahead. And adding to them, building more might even put you in the sights of various shrill, myopic and one-trick-pony environmental groups, complete with endless lawsuits. Can’t have that.

      And so you don’t do the hard thing, the foresightful thing that only might have a payoff after you’ve left office. So instead you stick with the polls and ratings, try not to upset your donators, and maybe even get the odd inside track sweetheart deal to pad your bottom line.

      In short, taking care of the things you already have and making them better is hard, demands forward and critical thinking by all concerned., and doesn’t give you an immediate reward. And that’s why it gets put off for decades.

      Think of politics as being geared for the mindset of 4 year old and you’ll have the right idea.

      Just a thought.


  2. They do nothing about water because its part of being able to control the people by gov’t.

    They could easily fix as its been an issue since 80s and they always push for more money to “fix” but it never gets done. Its on purpose!

  3. What a great idea to have a portion of the state’s general fund be allocated to projects that increase California’s water supply? Given the gravity of California’s water situation, perhaps the percentage should be higher than 2%? What is the status of all those water bonds that voters had approved in the past? Has any of that money been spent on water projects? Perhaps a citizen ballot initiative is needed to force the expenditure of those funds as well? It’s sad that citizen groups have to do the job that Democrats that control this state should be doing to ensure adequate water and power supplies for California citizens?

  4. As long as you have corrupt “greens” running the state they will NEVER allow water projects to succeed. First fix the voting system then vote out all the corrupt politicians and then remove all their operatives on water boards.

  5. Thank you Katy. You and the California Globe are the only ones it seems giving news on the continuing water crisis in this state.

  6. They shouldn’t lock up funding like this. Remember Prop 98? It totally screws the state’s budgetary priorities.

  7. We already put billions into NEW RETENTION.. It all went to sierra club conservation promotion scams..50% of delta water and state water project goes to striper bait fish smelt. Then another 25% of the 50% went to keep water cooler for non existent salmon and striper bait fish . FOLLOW our DIVERTED WATER FUNDS FIRST

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