That is the subject of this article in the Sacramento Bee and it focuses on storage, a nice change; particularly if the big rain year we have been told is on its way actually turns up, we will be reminded, again, that we are woefully lacking in storage capacity.
What’s more important to you? Having reliable, clean and safe drinking water, or being able to catch a not-so-fast train between Los Angeles and San Francisco?
In the midst of a record drought, to most Californians the answer is simple: Water is far more important than a botched bullet train.
However, some elected officials don’t have their priorities in order. They believe spending money on a train to nowhere should take precedence over the needs of California families, food producers and workers.
Yes, in 2008 California voters approved Proposition 1A by a slim margin, providing $9.95 billion in funding for high-speed rail. Voters were promised the project would be completed quickly, boost California’s economy and attract significant investments from the federal government and private sector.
All of these promises have been broken. The project has more than doubled in cost to $68 billion and has suffered numerous setbacks that will cost taxpayers. While consultants hired by the High-Speed Rail Authority continue to say that the inflation-adjusted cost will be about $71 billion, outside experts estimate the final cost could be $93 billion.
It’s clear that construction costs will fall squarely on Californians and that taxpayers will end up subsidizing operations for years to come.
California voters deserve another say. That’s why we’ve submitted a ballot measure to the attorney general that would redirect the remaining $8 billion in high-speed rail bond funds toward building new surface and groundwater storage.
Priorities would be set by water experts, not politicians. Our measure establishes priorities by adding a new section to the California Constitution, making drinking water and irrigation the primary beneficial water use ahead of all other needs. The measure would also dedicate $2.7 billion of unspent water bond funds to local surface water and groundwater projects, including water treatment facilities and injection plants needed to store clean, drinkable water.