For a more in depth discussion of Proposition 3, and the ten other initiatives on the ballot this November, join us for the California Initiative Review Forum in the Lecture Hall at McGeorge School of Law on October 24 from 5:30 – 7:30pm. Details on the event here.

Proposition 3: Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018

 

Current Law

California has numerous agencies and commissions that are charged with water quality, supply, and infrastructure operation and maintenance. Water storage, protection, and restoration are funded by the state as well as bond measures proposed by the Legislature or voter initiatives. Proposition 3 is the latest iteration in California’s long history of investing in water related infrastructure. In the past 18 years alone, voters have approved $31 billion in general obligation bond measures dedicated to water.

Proposed Law

Proposition 3 would issue almost $9 billion of general obligation bonds towards California water projects, including categories like: water infrastructure repair, watershed lands, fish and wildlife habitat, flood protection, groundwater, and other programs. In other words, Proposition 3 permits the State to borrow this money to fund water-related projects and subsequently repay the bonds over time with general funds. Proposition 3 will overlap partially with other water bonds recently adopted, but it is much bigger and will dedicate its funds entirely to water projects. To pass, Proposition 3 requires a simple majority vote by the people–i.e. more than 50% of all voters who vote.

Policy Considerations

Yes on Proposition 3 No on Proposition 3
  • A YES vote means California could sell $8.877 billion in general obligation bonds to fund various water and environmental projects related to; watershed lands, water supply, fish and wildlife habitat, water facility upgrades, groundwater, and flood protection.
  • Proposition 3 will help resolve a variety of water issues in California, including drought preparedness, environmental sustainability, ensuring safe drinking water for all communities, ability to capture and use runoff, repairing infrastructure, and groundwater storage.
  • Expedites the necessary funding instead of waiting for either federal or State investment.
  • A NO vote means California could not sell $8.877 billion in general obligation bonds to fund various water and environmental projects related to; watershed lands, water supply, fish and wildlife habitat, water facility upgrades, groundwater, and flood protection.
  • Proposition 3 is a waste of taxpayer dollars.
  • The measure is superfluous considering California has dedicated over $30 billion to water-related projects over the past 20 years with hardly anything to show for it.
  • Proposition 3 will be unsuccessful because it will not create new reservoirs that are necessary to address to growing demand for water in California.

Analysis of Proposition 3 provided by Kevin Bursey, Sebastian Silveira, and Kaylin Huang.

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