Water Priorities Initiative Aims for 2018 Ballot

New Deadline for Water Priorities Ballot Measure

The California Water Alliance (CalWA) announced TODAY it has shifted its focus to qualifying the The Water Priorities Constitutional Amendment and Bond Act Ballot Initiative for the 2018 ballot instead of this fall’s general election, as originally planned.

With massive public support, CalWA has in a very short time succeeded in collecting more than half of the 585,407 signatures required to qualify the measure but fell short of today’s deadline to place the issue before voters this November, said CalWA’s executive director, Aubrey Bettencourt, who underscored that all signatures collected to date count toward the July 25, 2016 deadline for 2018 as well.

“While we certainly would have preferred to get this critical issue in front of voters this year, we have every confidence that we will be able to collect the remaining signatures by this summer’s deadline for 2018,” she said. “One of the benefits of setting a very ambitious timeline is that we have already surpassed the halfway signature mark and established a solid campaign operation, strong momentum and growing public awareness about the failed promise of the high-speed rail project and how to best fix California’s broken water system.”

Aubrey Bettencourt, executive director of the California Water Alliance
Aubrey Bettencourt, executive director of the California Water Alliance

Additionally, Bettencourt said the signature gathering process for the water priorities initiative will become more productive and affordable now that the April 26 deadline has passed.

“The new deadline is turning out to be a blessing in disguise because the unusually large number of ballots in circulation had driven up costs to a ridiculous level,” she said. “The 2018 ballot will likely be less cluttered and provide Californians more time to focus and appreciate the benefits of the proposal.”

Recent polls show Californians strongly support terminating the Governor’s priority high-speed rail project and using its funds to provide people with more water.

“Our donors and volunteers are excited that we have a clearer path and more time to solve a problem that frankly has been 50 years in the making,” said Bettencourt. “This also provides our community leaders with enough time for Sites and Temperance to go through their approval process under Proposition 1.”

Information about the measure is available online at CaWater4All.com.

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About the California Water Alliance The California Water Alliance is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the nature of water and promoting long-term, sustainable solutions that meet the health and security needs of families, cities, businesses, farmers and the environment. To learn more, visit www.CaliforniaWaterAlliance.org.

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About the California Water Alliance Initiative Fund Committee The California Water Alliance Initiative Fund Committee (FPPC ID#1381113), sponsored by the California Water Alliance, a non-profit IRC §501(c)(4) organization, is a state primarily formed ballot measure recipient committee organized to qualify two or more state ballot measures for the November 2016 ballot. It is permitted to accept unlimited, non-tax-deductible donations from individuals, corporations, partnerships, nonprofit organizations, and any other lawfully permissible sources. For more information and restrictions, please visit http://cawater4all.com/

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Included at bottom of press release: Paid for by California Water Alliance Initiative Fund, with major funding by California Westside Farmers State PAC and Chris J. Rufer, Sacramento, CA

LA Included in Water Priorities Act

CaWater4All-Proposed Water Priorities Act Includes Los Angeles

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor

The Water Priorities Constitutional Amendment and Bond Act is good for all of California—people, farms and the environment. Should the required 565,880 petition signatures necessary for inclusion on the November 2016 ballot be collected by the April 26, 2016 deadline, and should the Water Priorities Act receive a majority of affirmative votes in November, it will provide big benefits to cities such as Los Angeles.

“The availability of regional water projects is massive for our urban centers,” stated Aubrey Bettencourt, executive director of the California Water Alliance, the ballot initiative’s sponsor. “The ability for urban centers to create water in their own regions and become less dependent on other parts of the water system, actually helps the other regions in the system as well.”
CaliforniaWater4All

The proposed water priorities act creates flexibility all around. Bettencourt explained, “Consider that the Los Angeles (LA) River loses as much water in an average storm event as the water supply for 180,000 homes annually—in one storm! In an average normal water year, Los Angeles loses the equivalent of the Shasta Reservoir in stormwater runoff, and they are under state and federal mandates to capture that water, recycle it and put it back in their water supply. This helps clean up their beaches and ocean water, which would otherwise end up with a lot of pollution through runoff,” she said.

“This ballot measure would increase their regional water supply by capturing and injecting stormwater runoff back into their groundwater supply. That would providing flexibility and reliability to the water supply for Southern California, but also affordability, which is such a key part of this effort,” Bettencourt noted.

“And Governor Brown just extended the drought cut mandates through the end of October of this year, and a lot of communities are conserving and conserving,” she said.”They are conserving so much that they using less; and, now they have to pay more because they are using less. So they are using less water, paying more for it, and still being punished. And that should not have to happen if we have a system big enough to supply all of our diverse water needs: agricultural, urban and environmental.”

Bettencourt noted, “The system hasn’t been updated since the late ’60’s-early ’70’s, in terms of some of our large-scale infrastructure. And you have to remember, our population was half the size it is today, and we didn’t have the same type of demand on that system that we do today,” she emphasized.

“Currently, we allocate 50% of our surface water to environmental protection. That is not wrong; but what is wrong is that we didn’t expand the system enough to take care of that allocation and our people. That is what this water ballot initiative is aiming to provide:  to increase our infrastructure to meet the demands of the 21st century,” said Bettencourt.

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Links:

California Water Alliance Initiative Fund

California Water Alliance