While some are calling this a victory, the policy package passed this week is more form than substance. The water package does nothing to reduce water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta or provide for reliable and resilient water resources needed to support a healthy California public, environment, and economy.
Sierra Club California Senior Advocate Jim Metropulos today released the following statement in response to Governor Schwarzenegger’s bill signing:
“Today’s action looks like more of the same from Governor Schwarzenegger,” said Sierra Club California Senior Advocate Jim Metropulos. “It’s sad in this day and age that we have to continue to discuss whether expensive, cumbersome dams and canals are the right solution for California’s water troubles. We don't need 19th-century solutions to today's problems.”
“If approved by the voters, the bond would obligate the state to spend over $800 million yearly in annual debt service. That is $800 million less for schools, social services and parks. It’s mind-boggling that the Legislature and the Governor would approve a pork-laden $11 billion general obligation bond as we are facing yet another General Fund shortfall.”
“Two parts of the plan concern me most: a proposed allocation of several billion in continuous appropriation for water storage, and the proposal to spend money on dams that benefit just a few special interests.”
“We can’t justify spending billions on dams that only benefit a few – especially in today’s fiscal climate. Water conservation, water recycling, stormwater recapture and cleaning up polluted groundwater represent faster and more cost-effective ways to fill our water needs”.
“We have a water crisis today. This proposed bond wastes $3 billion on projects that will take decades to build before producing a single drop of water.”
Today’s bill signing is being held at Friant Dam, outside of Fresno. Just last month, water was released below the dam for the first time in 60 years after two decades of ligation over restoring flows to the dry San Joaquin River.