California needs clean, safe and reliable water supplies. We also would greatly benefit from the improved flood management Proposition 3 would provide.
The measure on the Nov. 6 ballot includes $400 million to implement the Central Valley Flood Control Plan and repair Oroville Dam. Climate change is worsening the threat of floods. Sacramento is the nation’s second most flood-prone city after New Orleans. We need all the help we can get to improve our levees, widen the floodplain to accommodate higher Sacramento River flows and improve and repair upstream flood control dams such as Oroville.
Providing clean water for disadvantaged communities is a high priority for California. It is hard to imagine that in our wealthy state there are hundreds of thousands of people who do not have safe drinking water. Proposition 3 provides $750 million to provide safe drinking water to these communities.
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By providing year-round water, Proposition 3 helps prepare our region from inevitable droughts, made worse by climate change. Our Sierra watersheds are being devastated by wildfire and climate change. Proposition 3 includes hundreds of millions of dollars to restore watersheds, improve the quality and quantity of watershed runoff and prepare and recover from fires.
Proposition 3 includes $30 million to make badly needed improvements along the American River Parkway. Invasive plants are crowding out native plants, increasing fire danger. The walking and biking path needs repairs. Access should be improved, and damage caused by homeless encampments needs to be repaired.
The salmon and steelhead populations of the Sacramento and American rivers are a local treasure. Prop. 3 provides hundreds of millions of dollars to boost their populations.
There is a highly innovative proposal to use wastewater to recharge groundwater in the agricultural area in southern Sacramento County. Proposition 3 includes more than $1 billion that could be used for this important project.
With all these needs, it is fortunate that the state’s economy allows us to approve a new water bond. The general fund is enjoying a major surplus, and only a few new state bonds have been approved in the last 10 years. As a bond, Proposition 3 does not increase taxes.
None of the funds in Proposition 3 can be used to build or operate the controversial Delta tunnels, or to increase water exports to Southern California. The people and environment of the Sacramento region will greatly benefit with the passage of Proposition 3.
The measure has broad support from such diverse groups as National Wildlife Federation, California Chamber of Commerce, the Planning and Conservation League, Agricultural Council of California, Community Water Center and hundreds of others. Locally, the American River Parkway Foundation, American River Conservancy, Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency and the Sacramento Urban Streams Council also urge voters to support Proposition 3.
Jerry Meral is California water program director for the Natural Heritage Institute and the main proponent of Proposition 3. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.