California is in a crisis to secure a safe, reliable and clean water supply, especially in the Central Valley. Both our communities and the agricultural industry have been affected by our state’s water challenges and continue to struggle without a solution.
In November, California voters should vote Yes on Proposition 3, the Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018. The $8.9 billion investment will upgrade the state’s water infrastructure, but more notably, provide funds for the Central Valley in a significant way. Specifically, the initiative will provide funds to address the prolific drinking water problems affecting our communities, help restore our depleted groundwater basin and repair the Friant-Kern Canal.
There are still residents in the Central Valley who have unsafe drinking water and are in desperate need of a solution. While California still needs a reliable source of funding for safe drinking water, Prop. 3 is a step in the right direction and will help alleviate challenges for those disadvantaged communities. Many rural communities lack funds to develop a method that ensures safe drinking water. This initiative provides $500 million for safe drinking water systems and $250 million for wastewater disposal systems. In addition, it includes $400 million for wastewater recycling and $600 million for stormwater management, totaling $1.75 billion benefiting our communities.
Another portion of this bond sets aside $750 million to repair the Friant-Kern Canal. The Friant-Kern Canal is part of the Central Valley Project and is important because it serves as a vital water provider and conveyance system to rural communities and farmers in the valley. The canal is in need of repairs due to recent subsidence issues occurring north of Kern County, which last year caused over 300,000 acre-feet of water to be undeliverable, severely impacting communities and agricultural production. Fixing the Friant-Kern Canal to the original delivery specifications will allow water purveyors to convey water for current and future storage for both rural communities and farmers. While our farmers work hard every day to ensure communities have quality and healthy foods at the dinner table, they can only continue to do so with a reliable conveyance system and water supply.
Supporting Proposition 3 is an active step you can make to help secure a safe, reliable water supply for both our communities and farmers. On Nov. 6, please join the coalition of the Kern County Farm Bureau, City of Bakersfield, Kern County Water Agency, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Greater Bakersfield Chamber, Community Water Center, and hundreds of other groups across the county, region and the state in voting Yes on Proposition 3.
Ariana Joven is the executive director for the Kern County Farm Bureau, which represents the largest agricultural producing county in the nation and 1,100 members.