September 2017

When is a “water bond” not really a water bond? When legislators add just enough water project funding to a parks bond so “water” can be added to the official title and summary, and almost still pass the laugh test.

Don’t be fooled. Senate Bill 5 (de Leon) and Assembly Bill 18 (Garcia) are not water bonds. Funding for water projects at less than $1.5 billion, compared to a total of nearly $4 billion for SB 5, simply doesn’t get it done. It is woefully inadequate and may prevent more comprehensive water bonds from reaching voters on the November 2018 ballot. Two significant water bond proposals are already awaiting title and summary to initiate the signature gathering process to qualify for the November election.

SB 5 and AB 18 simply don’t go far enough to build the infrastructure the state needs to provide for clean drinking water, protect against floods, restore fisheries and enhance storm water management, water banking and sustainable groundwater management.

If Hurricane Harvey showed us anything, it’s that we can’t wait any longer. The need to be prepared is real. Timing is critical. The “Big One” is coming. A natural disaster of epic proportions is headed our way. The question remains can policymakers muster the will and take the steps necessary so water managers have the resources they need to prepare for the inevitable.

It’s time for state legislators to add some real water to the water bonds. If not, we will be better off waiting for a legitimate water bond in November 2018!