Today is World Water Day, which I suppose serves the purpose of drawing the world’s attention to the importance of water, and the diverse array of needs it meets. If you live in Flint, Michigan, the importance of clean drinking water immediately comes to mind. If you live in Anytown, California, the importance of water supply immediately comes to mind.
Water supply is the conversation de jour all over California, day after day after day after day. The dialogue pertains to agriculture, urban, rivers, streams, reservoirs, or the ever controversial Delta. Water needs in California are so vast and diverse, it has been fought over for years, and will be fought over forever into the future.
For the last 5 years, California has been in a drought, and many have suffered as a result. But the drought has also spawned action. In 2014 the people of California passed a massive water bond that has the potential to help farm, city, and environmental needs be more manageable during water short years. 2.7 billion dollars of that bond was earmarked for storage projects. The on-going process to dole out that money is time consuming, and slathered in bureaucratic red tape; nothing new in California. Regardless of the lengthy process, Prop 1 has been a beacon of hope for many Californians.
Sometime last year I heard about a new plan to increase water storage in California. The concept in this case was to pull the 8 billion dollars of high speed rail funds, and repurpose them to additional water storage. At the time, I thought woohoo!... that makes so much sense! Months later I hear the initiative is drafted and petitions are circulating to get it on the ballot. Again, I think woohoo! Not long after that I hear more details, and I think wait, what?! Why?! Why did they do that!?
In short, the authors of this proposed ballot measure don’t want to just take bullet train money, they want to take Prop 1 money. They also want to rewrite the state Constitution to re-prioritize water rights in California, which would lead to a water world war, fought out in the courts for who knows how many years.
Why? Why did they do that?!
It’s a question only they can answer.
The upshot of this brazen attempt takes this ballot measure from something that might have had wide-ranging support, to another one of those California water fights.
A breakdown of this initiative can be found in the video below. Please watch... and share... and don't sign those petitions.