• Allocates up to $10.7 billion to state water storage needs.
  • Amends Article X of the California Constitution making drinking water and irrigation the primary beneficial water use priorities for the people of the state ahead of all other needs.
  • Takes spending decisions out of the hands of political appointees and gives them to an elected board representative of the state’s people.
Since becoming a state, California’s state water code clearly directed how our state’s water was to be prioritized and delivered — people first. This statute, combined with brilliant water infrastructure systems and unique Californian innovation, insured that water supplies were ample and reliable for over a hundred years. But today, politicians, bureaucrats, special interests, and the courts have ignored and overturned the water code, eliminating the certainty and reliability of fresh water supplies to people, farms, and the environment.

Since 1990, special interest groups, the Legislature and the courts have skirted California Water Code §106, making other beneficial uses of water more important than the sections named priorities of water for people and food production. Changing that balance was a mistake.

Now in the fourth year of a drought, without enough water to go around, politicians, bureaucrats, and the courts are picking winners and losers when in comes to who gets water. Everybody is suffering: government-mandated statewide urban and farm water cutbacks have left thousands of people without water; 600,000 acres of family farms abandoned; increased water rates and fines; increased cost of food and energy; thousands of jobs lost; and even protected wildlife refuges have gone dry, further endangering protected plants and animals.

Politicians, bureaucrats, and the courts have left the people with no other choice. We must restore order and balance to our water supply by moving the water code to the Constitution to protect all Californians when drought threatens. Our action will again make California the global leader in water management and environmental protection.

Until common sense returns to California, we the people must make our wishes clear — when it comes to water, people first.

The amendment restores balance and certainty to California’s water. This measure preserves and protects all existing water rights, including all existing important environmental protections. The amendment clarifies above statutory laws that the first priority use of water is for people. It cannot be undone by politicians, bureaucrats or judges, only by the people.

The proportion of water people, farmers and the environment will receive remains the same — 50% to the environment, 40% to food production and 10% to urban use; each user group will receive the same portion of the water supply pie as before. However, since the ballot measure provides funds to increase the the overall water supply, it grows the size of the pie and makes the amount of water in each portion larger. It also blocks efforts by any user group to take more than their fair share from other users.

The money would come from redirected funds:

  • $8 billion in previously authorized High Speed Rail Bond Funds
  • $2.7 billion in previously authorized water bond funds.
Proposition 1’s $2.7 billion in water-storage funds are insufficient to meet the needs of California’s rapidly growing population. The measure redirects and combines High-Speed Rail and water-bond funds and gives control over them to a single elected authority within the California Department of Water Resources.
The initiative will create an elected 9-person board that will authorize the expenditure of funds for the implementation and construction of new water storage facilities in every region of the state, north and south, coastal and inland.
The nine board members will be nominated and elected by the members of California’s 48 Regional Water Management Groups. These include cities, counties, water districts, community groups and others.

Each board member is unique to, and representative of, its region and will hold office for 4 years and will serve no more than 2 four-year terms. http://www.water.ca.gov/irwm/

Members are not compensated. They may receive $100 in expense reimbursement for each day spent tending to the business of the Authority, but not more than $500 in a calendar month.
Even with the benefit of El Nino, most of the rain we receive this winter won’t be captured and will end up in the ocean.
Neither the U.S. EPA nor California’s Legislature appropriated funds to pay the costs of the storm water-recycling projects, anticipated to cost billions. The burden will fall on working families as water rates soar.