KQED Radio
KQED Newssee more
Latest Newscasts:KQEDNPR
Player Sponsored By
upper waypoint

California Proposition 1: Water Bond

Save ArticleSave Article
Failed to save article

Please try again

 (Craig Miller/KQED)

Water is always a hot political topic in California, and this drought-plagued year is no exception. Proposition 1 on the November ballot would authorize $7.5 billion for what supporters say are critical water quality and infrastructure projects. We’ll discuss what’s in the bond and hear from opponents who claim that it’s too costly and won’t solve the state’s water needs.

Show Highlights

What Would Prop. 1 Do?

"Basically, it would allow the state to sell a $7.5 billion in bonds for a whole range of projects and there are essentially seven buckets: The biggest bucket is $2.7 billion for storage – that could be for new dams. That's the most controversial part of this. There's another $1.5 billion for watershed restoration. That's basically helping fish, wildlife and creating new parks. There's $900 million to clean up polluted groundwater, which we could then drink if we cleaned it up. Another $800 million for water conservation projects and these would be grants to cities to do things like give you money if you buy a low flush toilet. And then other money for other projects like water recycling, waste water treatment and improving the levees in the Delta and other places."

-Paul Rogers

Would These Projects Just Disappear if Voters Reject Prop. 1?

"Many of them either would be delayed and not built because we're not getting a lot of federal money right now with the Republicans in the House limiting spending, particularly for California. So very little of that and local areas would have to come up with their own money. We've seen some local reservoirs built in the last fifteen years — Contra Costa County built a big one called "Los Vaqueros Reservoir" with its own money. And there's another one down in Riverside County called East Side Reservoir, which Metropolitan Water District built. So we would have some of these projects, but we wouldn't have as many. And you know the debate we're going to hear is "What is the best way to spend this money?" And remember bond money is debt — it's basically putting money on the credit card. So we have to pay it back with interest over time."

-Paul Rogers

Why Should California Vote for Prop. 1?

"Together with the recently enacted groundwater management reforms, this bond provides a framework for more sustainable management of California's most precious resources: both for the environment, for the needs of people, and ultimately our economy. This bond is different than its predecessor and includes important investments in conservation: recycling storm water, groundwater cleanup and with a balancing of addressing long overdue and ongoing environmental impacts. [The bond] really reflects this important approach of not just meeting the systemic needs of California's water system management."


Paul Rogers, managing editor of KQED Science and environmental reporter for the San Jose Mercury News

Jay Ziegler, director of external affairs and policy for The Nature Conservancy and a supporter of Prop 1

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta and spokesperson for the No on Prop. 1 Campaign


-Jay Ziegler

Why Should California Vote No on Prop. 1?

"Proposition 1 really doesn't do anything to address the problems in the current drought. It short changes sustainable water programs. In fact, in this final version of the water bond, groundwater conservation, recycling, those type of programs were cut by 36 percent compared to what had been drafted in prior versions of the bond. It will also add an incredible amount of more debt to the state: $14 billion to be paid back over 40 years, taking away money from schools, public health, and safety. In addition, Proposition 1 is going to devastate fisheries for the Bay Area because it's going to accelerate water exports. And it's going to force taxpayers to buy water that they already own."

"The water bond that we wanted would have had money for clean drinking water for communities in need and for immediate, near-term actions to help communities through the drought."

-Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla

Where Voters Are Divided

"In the end a lot of it comes down to 'Do supporters feel that the other items in the bond, the conservation, the water recycling, the money to buy park land – does that outweigh the risk, they think, of building new dams?'"

-Paul Rogers

lower waypoint
next waypoint
Is California’s Wine Industry in Trouble?Blowing the Whistle on Medical ResearchForum From the Archives: From Beyoncé to Lil Hardin, 'My Black Country' Celebrates the Undersung Black History and Future of Country MusicForum From the Archives: Remembering Glide Memorial's Cecil WilliamsMiranda July Wrestles with the Female Midlife Crisis in ‘All Fours’Rachel Khong’s Novel ‘Real Americans’ Questions the Limits of Identity‘My Octopus Teacher’ Filmmaker on Connecting to Our Wild SelvesState Supreme Court to Decide Fate of Prop. 22 … and the Gig EconomyShefali Luthra on the ‘Undue Burden’ of Post-Roe Reproductive CareAll You Can Eat: Yes, the Bay Area Does Have a Late Night Dining Scene