California is in the grip of its fourth drought since 2000. To cope with worsening droughts, over the past few decades Californians have made impressive gains in water efficiency. Total water diversions in California for agriculture and cities – roughly 30 million acre feet per year for agriculture and 8 million acre feet per year for cities – have not increased even while California’s population has grown and irrigated farm acreage has increased. But conservation alone cannot guarantee Californians have an adequate supply of water.
Whoever coined the phrase “Whisky is for drinking, water is for fighting” didn’t have things quite right.
In California, water is for scamming. The newest example is a majestically cynical ploy being foisted on taxpayers by some of the state’s premier water hogs, in the guise of a proposed ballot measure titled the “Water Infrastructure Funding Act of 2022” — or, as its promoters call it, the More Water Now initiative.
Say this for Central Valley Republicans and Big Ag backers: When it comes to proposing water projects that benefit Central Valley farmers at the expense of urban users and the state’s fragile environment, they are as persistent as an annoying, leaky faucet.
San Diego officials plan to spend the next five months analyzing what size tax increase city voters would likely support in November 2022 to pay for projects that boost flood prevention and water quality.
The ballot measure would be the first opportunity for San Diegans to vote to raise taxes on themselves to tackle an estimated $6 billion infrastructure backlog that city officials began calling San Diego’s No. 1 challenge eight years ago.
San Diegans may face new taxes or fee increases to upgrade the city’s increasingly unreliable flood-prevention infrastructure, which needs an estimated $1.5 billion in repairs and modernization efforts during the next five years.
City officials announced this week they are exploring a possible November 2022 ballot measure that would boost funding for flood prevention with either new parcel taxes, property-related fees, special assessment taxes or other options.
The state’s largest agricultural organization will oppose a proposed “split-roll” ballot measure that would increase commercial property taxes, saying it will cost farmers and consumers billions by mandating costly reassessments for California barns, wineries and processing plants.
Jamie Johansson, president of the 34,000-member California Farm Bureau Federation, said in an interview that it was highly unusual for his organization to oppose a ballot measure at this early stage, “but our board of directors is very concerned about the impact this initiative would have on rural California.”