State Democrats unveiled a pared-down water bond Thursday, cutting $3 billion from state Sen. Lois Wolk’s $10.5 billion effort that stalled in the Senate last week, and moving it closer toward Gov. Jerry Brown’s requested $6 billion.
The bond is intended to fund water quality improvement, water supply projects, environmental protection and surface water storage, among others.
This iteration allots $500 million for Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta restoration and protection programs, with an additional $350 million for levee construction and maintenance. Advocacy groups have expressed concern that any money going toward the delta will help push Brown’s twin tunnel proposal forward.
Wolk, D-Davis, and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, maintain that this bond is the most neutral way forward.
Additionally, $2 billion would be available for building out water storage, which agriculture groups and Republican senators have required — though it’s $1 billion less than requested.
The bond will be voted on after the summer break when the Legislature returns in August. It would replace a $11.1 billion bond measure drafted in 2009 on this November’s ballot.