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.
The California Department of Water Resources says the state’s snowpack is “dismally meager.” A lack of snow in the Sierra is keeping rivers low and drying up some reservoirs.
The City of Roseville is yanking grass and replacing it with drought-resistant landscaping to conserve water. Roseville also offers homeowners a 'Cash For Grass' rebate program.
The City of Sacramento says water customers in 2014 "cut water use to the lowest level per person per day in 100 years."
Salmon rely on cool water temperatures and aquatic plants to survive. So California’s drought has hit them particularly hard. But UC Davis researchers have found one area where the fish are flourishing.
The United States Department of Agriculture says January is shaping up to be another dry month in the Lake Tahoe area and that signals an unprecedented fourth year of drought.