As severe drought conditions continue across much of California, a proposal to improve water infrastructure in the state has been pushed for reconsideration in 2024.
The Water Infrastructure Funding Act of 2022 would lead to a full revamping of California’s water infrastructure, using 2% of the state General Fund revenue to support the construction and expansion of aquifers, reservoirs, desalination plants, wastewater treatment facilities, and water conveyance systems.
If the measure passed, it would set aside as much as $4 billion in water infrastructure funding without raising taxes on any California residents. Indeed, cheaper water would likely have a whole host of economic benefits, particularly for poor and middle-income families across the state. However, the Act will not be on the 2022 ballot.
In the meantime, the water situation grows more and more dire for ordinary Californians living in a state battered by several years of drought. Although state officials have pleaded with citizens to voluntarily reduce water use by 15%, the public has fallen far short of meeting these goals, and some municipalities are beginning to take more drastic measures.
In Los Angeles, for instance, the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District has set “water budgets” for households, and threatened to implement fines and cut water flow to those which repeatedly flout the limits.
While few other areas seem to be following this example, it is possible that such restrictions could become widespread if the water crisis continues. In a worst-case scenario, water budgets could even be implemented statewide.
These heavy-handed measures, however, will likely serve as a mere stopgap measure unless an effective long-term legislative solution can be found before the 2024 election.