The San Diego County Board of Supervisors registered its unanimous support Tuesday for a $7.5 billion state water bond issue to be decided by voters Nov. 4.
If Proposition 1 is approved, San Diego County would get about 9 percent of the regionally allocated bond money, which is roughly proportionate to its share of the statewide population, according to supervisors Greg Cox and Dave Roberts.
It would also allow the County of San Diego to compete for grants that could be used to fund several local water projects, though none have been identified yet, the supervisors said.
“Prop. 1 would invest in water supply development and large scale water infrastructure projects important to the future of San Diego County and the rest of the state,” Roberts said.
The bond measure was a legislative compromise. Lawmakers initially wanted to sell $11 billion in bonds.
Other backers of Proposition 1 include the California Chamber of Commerce, the San Diego County Water Authority and environmental and agriculture organizations.
“Proposition 1 is a measure hammered out in a bipartisan compromise that will provide funding for critical infrastructure and environmental projects to address California’s ongoing water problems,” Cox said.
Proposition 1’s opponents, which include the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance and the Southern California Watershed Alliance, contend that the bond would cost taxpayers $360 million per year for 40 years and would do little to ease the effects of the statewide drought.
However, the supervisors said that the San Diego region has recognized that additional investments are needed to secure water resources into the future.
“California’s water problems will increasingly affect our economy, our environment and certainly our quality of life if we don’t do anything about it,” Cox said.
If approved, Proposition 1 would provide $4.2 billion for water supplies including $2.7 billion in matching grants to local agencies for new water storage projects.
About $810 million would be designated for regional water quality projects, and $725 would go toward projects that treat wastewater or saltwater.
Another $1.5 billion would be available for watershed protection, and the supervisors noted that those funds could be used for native habitat and species conservation, to reduce the risk of wildfires and to fund state commitments to environmental restorations.
—City News Service
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