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.
Legislation introduced in the California state Assembly would create the Lower American River Conservancy to improve, protect, preserve and possibly expand the 5,000-acre American River Parkway.
January brought above-average rainfall and snow to much of California, partly due to El Niño. But forecasters say the ocean warming condition is "taking a break" for the next week or longer.
The U.S. Drought Monitor says, other than a slight reduction in exceptional drought in the northern Sierra, it needs more time to assess impacts of the recent moisture on California's long-term drought.
California regulators have made modest adjustments to water conservation requirements for cities.
The second measurement this winter of snowpack in the Sierra Nevada was 130 percent of average. State water officials say the snowpack will help reservoir recovery.