Even though we are entering another summer drought-free, Governor Jerry Brown just signed two new water conservation bills into law. These laws will require permanent water conservation, regardless of whether or not California is in a drought. KALW’s environment reporter Angela Johnston tells us more on AB 1668 and SB 606.
Archive for date: June 11th, 2018
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California is one step closer to getting a cut of $2.5 billion over the next decade for its water needs now that the House has passed a bill aimed at funding water research and infrastructure projects. The drought-stricken state has positioned itself as independent of the federal government — most notably, the Trump administration — on issues ranging from immigration to health care coverage. However, it still turns to federal lawmakers when it needs a financial boost for an issue as central to the state as water.
In California’s San Joaquin Valley, one of the most productive farming regions in the nation, an estimated 150,000 people are stuck living with contaminated drinking water. When they open a tap to fill a cooking pot or take a shower, the water that gushes out is contaminated with nitrates, hexavalent chromium, arsenic and other nasties from polluted wells.
A plan to hit Californians with a first-of-its-kind statewide tax on drinking water is on ice, for now. The proposed tax would cost most Californians about $1 per month on their residential water bills. Businesses would pay $4 to $10 per month. Although California voters just approved another $4 billion in bonds including funds for clean water, and the November ballot will ask voters to approve about $8 billion more, Gov. Jerry Brown says it wasn’t enough. He pushed for the tap-water tax to raise another $140 million per year to clean up contaminated drinking water for 360,000 rural Californians, mostly in the San Joaquin Valley.