Vote on $11 Billion Water Bond Delayed Another Two Years

The massive bond, which would have been on this year’s ballot, will now go to voters in 2014

California Department of Water Resources

The water bond would help fund restoration projects in the Delta.

The California legislature voted in favor of postponing the state’s water bond on Thursday. The bond, which would provide funds for water supply, environmental restoration and groundwater protection projects, was originally scheduled to be on the November, 2010 ballot. Then, the legislature voted to delay until this year, when they pushed it back, again.

“The ballot was too crowded and people had a lot of other things on their mind,” Senator Jean Fuller told me before the vote. “People are much more concerned about financial issues.”

Governor Jerry Brown’s tax measure is on this November’s ballot. He had previously asked for the water bond to be delayed, because he also didn’t want the competition.

An analysis by the Pacific Institute found that the bond is the largest since the one that funded the State Water Project in the 1960’s.

“The current bond, as it exists, it’s unclear exactly what it will fund,” Juliet Christian-Smith of the Pacific Institute told me. “It’s a kind of vaguely written proposal that includes a lot of projects, and at the end of the day we don’t know who will benefit and we don’t know who will pay.”

Senator Lois Wolk suggested in committee that instead of delaying it, the bond should just be repealed. She and other opponents of the bond, including the Sierra Club, have said it’s too big and not all of the projects it would fund deserve the money.