WATER STORAGE INVESTMENT PROGRAM

The commercial real estate industry along with a coalition of many other groups have sent the following message to the CA Water Commission in support of water storage expenditures from Proposition 1, Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act, funds.

We supported Proposition 1 because we saw an opportunity to create more water storage. The voters made it abundantly clear in 2014 when they voted for the bond that additional water storage was very important in anticipation of future droughts and the robustness of the state’s economy in the future.

The California Water Commission (Commission) was tasked with developing regulations to implement the water storage component of the bond. It was clear that the $2.7 billion could only be spent to fund the public benefits of the project and the proponents would have to provide the rest of the funding.

We are concerned that the process for the public benefits portion of the Water Storage Investment Program is not working well. The fact that Commission staff said nearly half on the 11 water storage projects submitted had no public benefits and the rest fell short of providing the benefits necessary to justify the cost leads us to believe that the process is not clear. It is also puzzling that once the appeal process starts, applicants cannot ask staff for clarification of what requirements would lead to an acceptable public benefits number.

The Commission should make sure there is a clear path for applicants to meet the requirements for funding under Proposition 1.

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