The San Diego County Water Authority today announced its full support for Senate Bill 866 (Wolk/Steinberg) and Assembly Bill 1471 (Rendon/Atkins), companion $7.545 billion state water bond measures that would fund critical new water supply development and large-scale water infrastructure projects important for the future of San Diego County and all of California.
The water bond was the product of negotiations led by Gov. Jerry Brown, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. The Water Authority has been working for months to address the San Diego region’s priorities for a water bond. If passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor, the proposed bond would replace an existing bond measure on the November ballot.
“Governor Brown, Speaker Atkins and Pro Tem Steinberg are to be congratulated for undertaking the grueling work necessary to craft the right water bond that is also right for our times and the state’s finances,” said Thomas V. Wornham, Chair of the Water Authority's Board of Directors. “We thank Speaker Atkins and all of our San Diego County legislators for their diligence in ensuring our region’s water supply and priorities are met by this measure.”
The Water Authority has long advocated for a water bond that reflects an emphasis on local and regional water supply development. That is the model that the San Diego region has employed for more than two decades to improve regional self-sufficiency, become more resilient to drought, and reduce dependence on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta.
The water bond contains substantial competitive funding opportunities for the San Diego region to pursue and advance meaningful local and regional water supply development, including:
- Chapter 9 would provide $725 million for water recycling and advanced water treatment technology projects – including potable and non-potable reuse and seawater desalination projects – for which San Diego County water suppliers could compete.
- Chapter 6 would allocate $475 million to help fulfill state obligations, including mitigation and restoration obligations at the Salton Sea as part of the Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement of 2003.
- Chapter 7 would allocate $52.5 million to the San Diego funding area for local and regional Integrated Regional Water Management projects.
- Chapter 7 would provide $100 million for water-use efficiency projects for which San Diego County water suppliers could compete.
- Chapter 6 would allocate $17 million to the San Diego River Conservancy for important land conservation, open space, habitat, wetlands, and water quality improvement opportunities in the San Diego River watershed.
Of the funds that are regionally allocated within the water bond, the San Diego region would be specifically allocated nearly 9 percent of the total, an equitable and proportional funding allocation.
“Every issue raised by the Water Authority over the course of the past several months has been satisfactorily addressed in the final version of the water bond,” Wornham said.