Because spending billions of dollars on building new dams and reservoirs won’t make it rain, EPIC urges you to vote no on Prop 1. Proposition 1 is a $7.5 billion water bond, that includes $7.12 billion from the current bond and the redirection of previous bond funds that have not yet been spent. Prop 1 will not solve the water problems that the State of California is facing with the pressures of ongoing drought conditions. The proposed water bond would be bad for North Coast Rivers and fish as it proposes to build more ecologically destructive water storage systems, would subsidize more water exports and fails to bring real water efficiency solutions to California.
If approved, Prop 1 would facilitate the diversion of more water from Northern California’s rivers by using taxpayer money to acquire water for Big Agriculture. These funds would also be used to clean up special interest projects that did not employ adequate mitigation measures to offset the impacts of past projects. EPIC is concerned over the precedent Prop 1 would set to further subsidize corporate interests: by allocating money to clean up agricultural and industrial pollution of groundwater, the bond shifts the burden away from industry and on to the citizens of California.
Northern California does not have enough water to supply the entire state. In the beginning of August, 83% of the Trinity River was being diverted to the Central Valley Project while fish downstream were dying of disease and poor water conditions from low flows. Building more infrastructure will not result in more water, it will just facilitate more misuse of the dwindling water supply.
While some conservation organizations have supported the bond because a small portion of the funding earmarked for restoration and conservation, the bond dedicates nearly twice as much funding to dams and storage projects that would benefit business interests and create more ecologically destructive impacts. Additionally, the water bond proposes to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy water for fish, which they cleverly label as funds for “enhanced stream flows.”
It is imperative that regions live within their means, by employing conservation measures that allow a community to thrive without taking water from other ecological systems that are already on the brink of collapse. People must learn to be frugal with scarce water resources, and corporations should be required to clean up our public trust resources that they are polluting for profit; instead of asking taxpayers to borrow money from their grandchildren to clean up after them.
Because our rivers do not have water to spare and because of the bad precedent the bond might set, EPIC recommends voting NO on Prop 1.