Flood protection, stormwater runoff, safe drinking water, are just some of the areas the PPIC report shows lack critical funding.
But report author Ellen Hanak says most of the financial gaps are the result of problems at the local level.
Five areas are most at risk. They include safe drinking water in poor communities, flood protection, stormwater runoff, aquatic ecosystem management and integrated water management.
She says voter approved statewide propositions that limit fee and tax assessments compromise local governments’ ability to manage water responsibly.
“We’re suggesting reforms some reforms that just give some more flexibility there, so that you’re still accountable and transparent but you have some more flexibility to manage the water resources the way they really should be managed.”
Hanak says some voter-approved propositions that limit fee and tax assessments compromise local governments’ ability to manage water.
She says funds from general obligation bonds would at best cover only half of the total spending gap.
“The areas where we found special problems are places where it’s very hard for local governments to raise that money because of special restrictions on fundraising in those areas.”
The PPIC study says based on recent spending patterns, funds from general obligation bonds can at best cover half of the total spending gap—even if a water bond passes this year.
California regulators are responding to the drought by adopting tighter landscaping rules for new construction and renovation. That means new water limits for residential, commercial, school and hospital lawns and other plantings.
A University of the Pacific economic forecast shows that drought has had a "relatively mild" impact on California's economy.
Another water district in Sacramento County is offering cash rebates for customers to remove grass.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center and meteorologists in other countries show that strong-to-moderate El Niño conditions are present in the tropical Pacific. But it won't end the drought in California.
Stream fishing around Lake Tahoe and western Nevada is struggling because of the drought. But fishing may actually be better at the lake itself.