Adam Gray: "We had a deal. Without Sites, Temperance you’re breaking a promise"

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

As excerpted from: The Modesto Bee

We had a deal. Without Sites, Temperance you’re breaking a promise


In 2014, I asked you to support Proposition 1, $7.5 billion water bond written during one of the worst droughts in the state’s modern history.

It certainly wasn’t perfect. I would have preferred significantly more than the $2.7 billion it provided for water storage, while others would have eliminated water storage funding entirely. But Prop 1 was a product of compromise and negotiation – something we need a lot more of in today’s political climate.

In typical Sacramento fashion, we had ignored a problem until it became so large that we could not possibly ignore it anymore. If there was a silver lining to the drought, it was that water became a priority again.For the last half-century, California has rested on the water investments made by the generations that came before us. As our population boomed, we looked for ways to make what water we had go further, rather than make the bucket bigger for everyone. Water efficiency standards and limits on the football field size green lawns they are so fond of in Los Angeles helped, but these are band-aids covering a much larger wound.

The fact is that as California’s population continues to rush toward 50 million people, we need more water.

To make things worse, and despite claims from environmentalists to the contrary, we have also failed to address the realities of the changing California climate on water. As we get less precipitation as snow and more as rain, we can no longer rely on the snowpack to act as our largest natural reservoir. Instead of holding our water supply in the mountains during the rainy season and delivering flows of snowmelt when it’s dry, we get flooding and mudslides when it’s raining and rivers that dry up too soon.

Voters saw the problem, and nearly 5 million voted to pass Prop 1 – the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act.

I wish I could say the story ends there – but it doesn’t.