The San Vicente Dam, a major reservoir for San Diego County. Photo courtesy water authority
The San Vicente Dam, a major reservoir for San Diego County. Photo courtesy water authority

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and the San Diego County Water Authority are throwing their support behind a downsized $7.5 billion state water bond that would fund large-scale projects throughout the state.

The water bond was the product of negotiations led by Gov. Jerry Brown, Atkins and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg

If passed by the Legislature — a vote may come Wednesday — and signed by the governor, the proposed bond would replace an existing $11.1 billion bond measure already on the November ballot.

“The Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 is a bond that will meet the state’s needs, fit the state’s budget, and pass muster with the state’s voters.

Among the things funded in this comprehensive bond are storage, conservation, recycling, groundwater management, and habitat improvements — all aspects that will help ensure clean, safe and reliable drinking water, both in drought years and in normal years,” Atkins said.

“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.

The water authority said the bond reflects an emphasis on local and regional water supply development, a model that the San Diego region has employed for more than two decades to improve regional self-sufficiency.

Some 9 percent of the money from the bond issue would fund projects specifically for San Diego County, and San Diego may compete for statewide projects. Major parts including $725 million for water recycling and advanced water treatment and $475 million for restoration of the Salton Sea.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.