The special session on water convenes, but with the controlling party still trapped by the narrative forbidding new dams for the needed capture and storage of the abundance of water in Northern California, for flood protection here, and use in the valleys of central California and the homes and businesses of Southern California, we can probably expect more confusing mandates to arise; but, that being said, hope springs eternal that a balanced approach will emerge.
An excerpt from the San Diego Union-Tribune about the session.
“The Legislature today moves into crunch time on landmark legislation to modernize California’s waterworks and assure reliable water supplies for the entire state for decades to come. Perhaps never has the San Diego County economy had more at stake in a single package of bills, and perhaps never has gutsy leadership from the San Diego County legislative delegation been more desperately needed.
“Legislators were expected to return to the Capitol today to officially convene the special session called by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to deal with the water package, and to begin joint hearings by key Senate and Assembly committees. Floor votes could come by the end of this week or next.
“The legislative package is essentially a collection of water policy decisions and a bond issue. Together, they would pave the way for construction of one or more new dams and groundwater storage reservoirs in Northern California, a canal to carry water through or around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to Southern California, repair of the delta’s aged levees and restoration of the degraded delta ecology that imperils threatened salmon, delta smelt and other fish. The legislation would also create new governing bodies to set standards and oversee groundwater management and statewide conservation goals. The bond issue, projected by observers last week to run to at least $9 billion, would help pay for it all.
“The issues surrounding these bills have brought out some of the most powerful interests in California — agriculture, environmentalists, business and labor — and placed enormous political pressure on legislators. The bond issue requires a two-thirds vote for passage, while the other bills could be passed on simple majority votes. No one today can reliably predict the outcome; every vote will be crucial.”