The California Legislature approved a new $7.54 billion Water Bond after many months of tense negotiations. The Water Quality, Supply, Infrastructure and Improvement Act of 2011 replaces a bloated $11.1 billion bond that was a leftover from the Governor Schwarzenegger era. If approved by voters in November, investments will be made in local water supply projects and watershed restoration — initiatives that can directly benefit our drought-stricken state and Santa Monica Bay.
Throughout the negotiations, Heal the Bay advocated for significant dollars to go towards projects promoting regional self-reliance for water supply, thereby improving water quality in our Bay and beyond. We partnered with other NGOs and dozens of local cities to bolster this message in frequent trips to Sacramento. As a result, the bond includes $1.535 billion for water recycling, stormwater capture, water efficiency and other local water projects.
For instance, investments would be made in expanding multi-benefit projects that capture and infiltrate stormwater for use in recharging groundwater supplies to replenish our overdrafted aquifer and cleaning up existing groundwater supplies. This makes sense: We should be capturing and reusing stormwater instead of funneling polluted runoff directly into the Bay.