Coachella Valley Water District’s (CVWD) Board of Directors recently adopted a resolution opposing Proposition 53, an initiative that will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot. If approved by a majority of voters, the proposition would amend the California Constitution to require statewide voter approval of infrastructure projects valued in excess of $2 billion financed partially or in whole by state revenue bonds.
As stated in the resolution, the Board opposed the proposition due to concerns it will adversely affect large-scale water investments, including the much-needed renovation of the State Water Project (SWP) which provides vital imported water that CVWD uses for groundwater replenishment to alleviate aquifer overdraft.
Most of the actual costs of improvements to the SWP, now part of the comprehensive California WaterFix campaign that proposes to increase water reliability for 25 million Californians, will be funded by State Water Contractors such as CVWD and the Desert Water Agency (DWA), and not by state revenue bonds. However, the concern is that the successful passage of this proposition would subject any projects over the $2 billion threshold to statewide voter approval if any state revenue bonds were used during the process.
Proponents state Proposition 53 is intended to give voters a say when the state government wants to incur enormous new public debt. They also argue it will increase transparency to state spending by showing voters the actual costs and benefits of large projects.
Opponents argue the proposition diminishes local control by requiring statewide voter approval for some local infrastructure projects that could be funded by a mix of local and state funds.
CVWD urges voters to research all the arguments in favor and against Proposition 53 before casting your vote on this important issue.
The Coachella Valley Water District is a public agency governed by a five-member board of directors. The district provides domestic and irrigation water, agricultural drainage, wastewater treatment and reclamation services, regional storm water protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves approximately 108,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles, located primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.