You can't fix stupid.
Eco-nazi agenda disguised as a water bill $$$$
Thanks for the water NorCal suckers...
Legislature passes water-system overhaul
Wyatt Buchanan,Marisa Lagos, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
Thursday, November 5, 2009
(11-04) 12:36 PST Sacramento -- The sweeping overhaul of California's water system that lawmakers passed Wednesday relies on borrowing $11 billion that supporters hailed as a necessary investment in safe, reliable water statewide but that critics warned is overpriced and could siphon money from health and education.
The historic legislation, praised by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, enables the state to closely control water delivery and use statewide. It imposes strict conservation rules in urban areas and supports the restoration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta ecosystem. It also paves the way for the construction of dams, levees and a controversial canal to bypass the delta and carry water from the Sacramento River to Central and Southern California.
The state's voters would decide in November 2010 whether to approve the $11 billion general obligation bond that would pay for much of the work
needed to upgrade a water system that officials said was built for 16 million people but serves about 38 million statewide.
How the water laws would affect individuals depends upon where they live and which water district serves them.
For example, San Francisco water officials welcomed the legislation but East Bay water authorities harshly criticized it.
The 2.4 million customers in San Francisco and parts of San Mateo, Santa Clara and Alameda counties served by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission or its contractors could benefit from the legislation because the bond, if approved, could help offset anticipated rate increases for infrastructure upgrades, Ed Harrington, PUC general manager, said.
But East Bay Municipal Utility District's 1.3 million customers in parts of Contra Costa and Alameda counties would be left vulnerable "to being required to provide makeup water for the delta as a result of a peripheral canal, and also does not protect our customers from being asked to provide more
than their fair share of water for delta restoration efforts," said EBMUD General Manager Dennis Diemer.
The idea of revamping the state's water system had been debated for about 30 years.
"This Legislature did something that no Legislature has been able to accomplish in decades," said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. The package's success, he said, shows that the Legislature "can tackle the biggest and most intractable problems in the state."
Lawmakers passed the legislation at about 6 a.m. after they pulled an all-nighter. They said the three-year drought, the delta's ecological deterioration and the dire water shortage that left hundreds of thousands of farm acres fallow created the political will to get something done.
The water package consists of five major parts:
-- A new seven-member board to oversee
the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The board would have the power to approve a controversial peripheral canal around the delta.
(which BTW has been voted DOWN by voters TWICE)
-- A 20 percent conservation mandate for urban areas
, with credits for cities - such as San Francisco - that have made significant conservation efforts. Agricultural entities would have to follow best practices for water use.
-- New regulations
to monitor groundwater levels throughout the state.
-- Increased penalties
for illegal water diversions, although the penalties and enforcement were significantly weakened from an earlier plan.
-- A $11.1 billion bond
to pay for the overhaul.
The bond was the center of much of the debate, with some lawmakers pushing for a revenue bond, which means it is repaid by fees of water customers. But instead lawmakers chose a general obligation bond
which means the debt would be repaid through the state's anemic general fund, which has seen a series of multibillion-dollar deficits since January 2007.
That prospect caused many more-liberal lawmakers to oppose it, as it could mean cuts to other areas such as education, parks and health care to pay the debt.
The nonpartisan legislative analyst's office estimated that at the peak, repaying the bond could cost upward of $600 million per year.
Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, voted against the bond, along with most other Bay Area lawmakers. He said its sheer size could affect voter support.
"I think there could be sticker shock," Leno said.
But Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Baldwin Vista (Los Angeles County), said she did not think it would be a tough sell once voters look closely at the issue.
"I think there needs to be a lot of education, especially in the Los Angeles area, about the crisis and how fragile our water infrastructure is," she said.
Some legislators complained that the bond contained pork for pet projects.
"I believe this measure is so bulked up with pork that it is going to sink under the weight of its own pork
when voters are asked to vote on it next year," said Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, who voted against the bond.
The bond initially included $10 million for a Capital Unity Center in Sacramento that would focus on building unity and diversity.
Steinberg is the president of the board of the organization developing that center and said it would be a "good fit" with the bond. Ultimately, though, the Assembly stripped funding for the center before passing the bond.
Sen. Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto, who authored the bond measure, said the state's general fund will not take a hit for years.
"The first five or six years the impact will be small - only half of the bond can be sold before 2015, and we expect that by then the economy will be better,"
Environmentalists were also split over the wide-ranging package.
While Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council praised the water policy as an important step forward, some groups criticized the bond measure as too costly and said too many key provisions of the bills were weakened in the final weeks of negotiations.
The Planning and Conservation League and Sierra Club, among others, argue that the package's requirements for groundwater monitoring - California is one of the last Western states to have virtually no oversight over the water pulled from underground aquifers - lack funding and regulatory teeth. Under the package, the onus for groundwater monitoring will largely fall to local jurisdictions, which don't have the money for adequate programs
, they said.
How the $11 billion bond would be spent
Voters will be asked in November 2010 to approve a general obligation bond to pay for the following:
Amount Purpose Projects
$455 million Drought relief Drought relief projects, disadvantaged communities
, small community wastewater treatment improvements and safe drinking water fund
$1.4 billion Regional water supply Regional water management projects and local water delivery projects
$2.25 billion Delta sustainability Projects that support delta sustainability: levees, water quality, infrastructure and to help restore the ecosystem of the delta
$3 billion Water storage Water storage projects, including dams
$1.7 billion Watershed conservation For ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration projects in 21 watersheds including coastal protection, wildlife refuse enhancement, fuel treatment and forest restoration, fish passage improvement and dam removal
$1 billion Groundwater cleanup, protection Cleanup and protection of underground aquifers
$1.25 billion Water recycling, conservation Water recycling, treatment and efficiency projects