If state legislative leaders can put their partisan bickering aside for about 24 more hours, it’s just possible that California could call a truce in its water wars for a few years.
A big if, I know, and it will cost us millions in debt payments each year, but then again, consider the Bay Bridge rebuild project, 20 years and counting. It doesn’t get cheaper to wait.
Early this morning the Senate narrowly approved a $10-billion bond measure that would pay for new dams, repair levees and include new infrastructure and restoration in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The projects have been needed for years, but our bickering lawmakers have never been able to come to agreement on a legislative package.
Now it will be up to the Assembly to weigh in on the water bond, which includes a new state council to oversee the delta, the lynchpin in California’s water delivery system. The fight will now be over how water rights are assigned, especially in agricultural areas – and don’t expect those involved to go easily into the night.
But if no deal is reached, the standing of lawmakers will fall even lower in the eyes of voters, and they’re already suffering a drought in every recent public opinion poll.