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Report: California's Water System Needs Better Funding

Mar 12, 2014

San Luis Reservoir (file photo)
Credit CA Dept of Water Resources

A new report says California would need an additional two to three billion dollars every year to fill gaps where funding is needed for managing the state’s water. From Sacramento, Amy Quinton has more on the latest Public Policy Institute of California report.

Flood protection, stormwater runoff, safe drinking water.. are just some of the areas the PPIC report shows lack critical funding. But report author Ellen Hanak says most of the financial gaps are the result of problems at the local level. She says voter approved statewide propositions that limit fee and tax assessments compromise local governments’ ability to manage water responsibly.

Hanak: “We’re suggesting reforms some reforms that just give some more flexibility there, so that you’re still accountable and transparent but you have some more flexibility to manage the water resources the way they really should be managed.”

The PPIC study says based on recent spending patterns, funds from general obligation bonds can at best cover half of the total spending gap—even if a water bond passes this year.