It’s been only two years since a devastating drought hit our state, forcing many Bay Area residents to ration their water use, and endangering wildlife that depends on flowing streams and healthy wetlands.
Proposition 3 on the November ballot will help people and wildlife adapt to more frequent and extreme drought and flooding California and the Bay Area will face because of climate change.
Prop. 3 provides $8.8 billion to make local communities in California more water-independent and resilient in future droughts. It provides NO funding for Delta tunnels, new dams or canals that would move us backward as a state.
Instead, Prop. 3 makes urgent investments in clean, safe water and resilient nature. It funds wastewater recycling, water conservation and stormwater capture, so our water supplies come from more diverse and reliable sources.
Since Bay Area voters overwhelmingly passed extra funding for San Francisco Bay through Regional Measure AA in 2016, we’ve needed state funds to match this local investment and accelerate tidal marsh creation that protects shorelines against sea level rise and helps endangered wildlife.
Prop. 3 provides $200 million directly to the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority so we can more quickly restore our Bay marshes and shorelines. That’s why it has strong support from San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, State Senator Scott Wiener, and State Assemblymembers Phil Ting and David Chiu.
This bond measure also helps farmers use water more efficiently, reducing pressure on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its endangered salmon from the export of agricultural water.
Like Flint, Michigan, some California towns suffer from poisonous water. It’s shameful that one million people in our state can’t drink their water because it’s contaminated by industrial or agriculture chemicals, arsenic, boron or other toxins. That violates a basic human right.
To bring environmental justice to these communities, Prop. 3 includes $750 million to address pollution, deliver safe drinking water, and provide sanitary wastewater disposal.
Prop. 3 also invests billions of dollars to restore watersheds in the Sierra Nevada and throughout California to absorb flood waters and replenish groundwater supplies, while improving habitat for spawning fish and other wildlife. This investment will also reduce the risk of devastating wildfires that are growing in intensity because of climate change.
Passage of the measure will allow us to restore thousands more acres of essential wetlands in San Francisco Bay, the Delta and the Central Valley, improving habitat for fish and waterfowl.
In short, Prop. 3 will fund water investments that help public health, the natural health of our watershed and wetlands, and water availability for agriculture.
Greater state investment in addressing the effects of climate change like maintaining reliable, efficient water supplies are especially important at a time when the President and Congress are rolling back environmental protections, including the Endangered Species Act that has guaranteed freshwater flows for salmon and other fish.
We must act now. We cannot wait for the next multi-year drought or major flooding to invest in safe, clean water for California. That’s why Save The Bay, the Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, the Bay Area Council and other leaders throughout the Bay Area have endorsed Prop. 3.
In a time of accelerating climate change, voting Yes on Proposition 3 is a wise investment we all can make in cleaner water and reliable water supplies for California.
David Lewis is Executive Director of Save The Bay. Learn more at www.SFBayActionFund.org.