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Legislature passes, Governor signs major water bill

The Legislature passed a comprehensive water package in November that allows California to store and conserve water more effectively and restore the Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta – the heart of California’s water supply system.

The legislation acknowledges that water in California is scarce, and that problems with our aging water infrastructure and supply system necessitated a major solution. It is the biggest California water reform law in the past 50 years, and is supported by a coalition of environmental organizations, water districts and agencies, business groups, and utility companies.

One of the law’s major requirements is that all California communities lower their water use 20 percent by 2020. This is important because San Diego has long practiced water conservation, and now other regions will be asked to make a similar sacrifice. The law also includes an $11.1 billion bond package that would appear on the November 2010 ballot. If voters approve the measure, San Diego County is slated to receive:

* $100 million to enlarge the San Vicente Reservoir;

* $40 million for watershed programs, including $20 million for the San Diego River Conservancy, which works to restore the river from Ocean Beach to Julian; and

* $87 million for a groundwater-recharge and river restoration project in the the El Monte Valley, water reclamation in Santee, and water-quality safeguards upstream from the El Capitan Reservoir.