Competition grows for state water bond money

Prop 1 funds not enough to cover all requests

Competition grows for state bond water money

The California Water Commission will decide which large, planned water storage projects will receive Proposition 1 bond money to prepare the state for the next severe drought.

There's $7.5 billion set aside under Prop 1 and about $3 billion of that is to help pay for new surface and groundwater water storage projects.

Other funding to complete the projects is expected to come from the federal government and investors.

The problem is there's not nearly enough Prop 1 money to help about a dozen proposed storage projects most of which are planned in the eastern part of the state to capture runoff from the Sierra Nevada Range.

One of the biggest is the $6 billion Sites Reservoir project north of Sacramento which would create one of the largest lakes in California with more than 1.5 million acre-feet of water.

"You want something that's sizeable, that can really do the job and Sites is the one that can do that", said project proponent State Assemblyman James Gallagher, (R) Yuba City, "It has the best ability to capture water and be able to use it throughout the system in a way that's going to benefit all Californians."

The closest planned reservoir project to the Central Coast is along the Pacheco Pass area in southeastern Santa Clara County.

Which storage projects get Prop 1 funding will impact how water agencies and districts on the Central Coast secure future water resources needed in times of severe drought through "water banking".

The California Water Commission must make a final decision by June of next year.

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