CalTrout has been actively involved over the past few weeks, and especially over the last couple of days, in the water bond negotiations. On Tuesday, Curtis Knight, CalTrout’s Conservation Director, was in Sacramento as part of a diverse group that met with the Governor to put forth a water bond proposal.
After final negotiations last night, the Governor and legislative leadership voted on and approved a $7.545 billion bond. The ongoing severe drought in California underscores the need to invest in innovative, long-term solutions to California’s water future. CalTrout believes the Water Bond of 2014 provides the right balance of investment to facilitate sustainable water management in California. Here are some highlights…
The Water Storage provision remains the most controversial for CalTrout. We remain concerned about how and where water storage dollars will be appropriated. We understand priorities for where to spend these dollars are on two projects—an expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir in the East Bay and newly constructed Sites Reservoir, an off channel reservoir west of I-5 in the Sacramento Valley. The other project that gets mentioned is Temperance Flat, a new dam just above Millerton Reservoir (Friant Dam) on the San Joaquin.
These funds can also be used for groundwater storage, conjunctive use and reservoir re-operations—important points we lobbied for. Groundwater storage has huge potential and needed to part of this mix.
During drought times we need to find collaborative solutions that work for people and fish. Trout, steelhead and salmon are important indicators of watershed health and are important drivers of many rural and coastal economies. Work done to improve the status of these species directly benefits safe drinking water supplies, water quality, and the economic health of all Californians. We believe this water bond is a step in that direction.