California’s Proposition 1, known as the Water Bond, passed in Tuesday’s election.
The measure secures $7.5 billion to fund water projects and programs addressing water conservation and recycling, groundwater cleanup and water storage -- all major concerns as California grapples with a fourth year of grueling drought.
The bond allocates money to different types of programs but requires specific projects to go through a public competitive grant process, the San Francisco Chronicle noted. The largest sums of money set aside include $2.7 billion for water storage, potentially reservoirs, and $1.5 billion for watershed restoration programs, which may include increasing river flows for wildlife.
Notable advocates for the bond include Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who funded and appeared in two TV ads pushing for its passage as a means of better preparing California for future dry periods and hailed it as an opportunity to streamline spending for one of the state’s most concerning issues.
"It’s not just a collection of a little bit from here and a little bit for there," Brown said in a speech last week at the San Diego County Water Authority. "It’s an integrated water plan that takes care of all the different aspects of what’s needed to invest and recycle water."
Opponents of the ballot measure came out strongly against its funding of more dams, the Sacramento Bee reported. Some environmentalists say that the prime locations for dams in California have already been developed, and new dams would increase water supply only by as little as 1 percent.