Save The American River Association Urges No on Prop 1

By Dan Bacher | October 5, 2014 | The Save the American River Association (SARA) Board of Directors has issued an action alert urgi...

By Dan Bacher | October 5, 2014 |

The Save the American River Association (SARA) Board of Directors has issued an action alert urging all of their members and supporters to Vote NO on Proposition 1, the water bond measure on this November's ballot. 

SARA listed the following reasons for voting No on the water bond: 

• Prop. 1 does nothing to address drought relief in the near future. 

• Prop. 1 adds $7.12 billion to California's debt, debt that will cost taxpayers $14.4 when the principal and interest is paid. 

• Prop. 1 dedicates only 13% of its funding forconservation, stormwater capture and treatment, and recycling. 

• Prop. 1 allocates $2.7 billion for three dams that would increase the state's water supply by only 1%. The money would flow under the provision that allows "continuous funding," meaning there would be no legislative oversight. A number of dam projects that had been abandoned because of low water yield or would not be cost-effective are now being revived. 

• When the State Water Project was approved in 1960, it provided that beneficiaries of water projects -- not taxpayers statewide -- would pay for new projects. Prop. 1 reverses that principle. Taxpayers would pay the lion's share of new projects. Taxpayers, for example, would pay 73% of the cost of the proposed Temperance Flat Dam on the San Joaquin River while the beneficiaries -- agribiz and the City of Fresno -- would pay most of the balance. 

• Prop. 1 requires taxpayers to buy water the public already owns to protect fish. It's a retread of programs in force for years that allow speculators who reap huge profits by selling the public's water back to the public. And it will have the additional impact of making more water available to export from The Delta. 

• Prop. 1 does nothing to address factors that have worsened the water crisis in California during the current drought: the overdrafting of major reservoirs in Northern California, inequitable distribution of limited water supplies and the failure to balance the Public Trust. 

• Prop. 1 contains $1.5 billion for "conservancies" without any language governing how the money is to be spent. Nothing would prevent the conservancies from spending the money on projects that have no impact on water supplies such as bike trails or administrative costs. Critics are calling it "pork." 

• Promoters of Prop. 1 note that about 6.9% of the bond will spent to provide safe drinking water and clean water programs to disadvantaged communities. That long overdue initiative should have been presented to the voters years ago as a standalone proposition. It is shameful that California government has never addressed the water problems of disadvantaged communities. 

There are more reasons to vote NO ON PROP. 1. As Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance has said, Prop. 1 "is a poster-child of why California is in a water crisis: it enriches water speculators but accomplishes little in addressing the drought, solving California's long-term water needs, reducing reliance on The Delta, or protecting our rivers and fisheries." 

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