FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2022
Direct inquiries to press@MoreWaterNow.com, or call 279-345-9934
Today the More Water Now campaign, formed to qualify The Water Infrastructure Funding Act of 2022 for the November 2022 state ballot, announces “last call” for major donors to provide the necessary funds.
Virtually every expert in California agrees that more water infrastructure is necessary; that conservation alone will not protect Californians from the impact of climate change. Projects to capture more storm runoff and recycle more urban wastewater are urgently needed, and if this initiative is approved by voters in November, these projects would receive state funding and they would get built.
Nonetheless, the campaign finds itself in the inexplicable position of having a solution everyone wants, but unable so far to raise the funds to qualify it for the ballot.
Private sector construction unions, who could enlist hundreds of thousands of their members to sign petitions, are hesitant to take on the environmentalist lobby. Construction contractors have deep pockets, but don’t want to see environmental activists target them in retaliation for their support. Water agencies all over California desperately need the funds this initiative would unlock, but are limited in their ability to educate voters about this issue until the initiative is qualified for the ballot.
Farmers offer the most poignant example of why the More Water Campaign still hasn’t attracted more financial support. With no water to irrigate crops, they’re just trying to survive. Now, with an initiative that focuses as much on urban water recycling as on storing runoff, the farmers expect help from other sectors, as they should.
So where are those civic minded individuals with enough disposable wealth to give Californians a chance to eliminate water scarcity forever? At last count there are 189 billionaires living in California. Some of them pour tens of millions into national elections. Others run for office, burning through millions of dollars. Others have put initiatives on the ballot that gutted our ability to police our streets, or backed the campaigns of prosecutors who won’t punish criminals. Why won’t some of them do something unambiguously good – particularly for those who do not have a safe and secure supply of clean water right now – and give Californians a chance to have more water?
There is a strong environmentalist argument in favor of more water infrastructure. If climate change is a genuine threat, then the need to upgrade California’s water infrastructure becomes more urgent, not less. This initiative funds projects to store storm runoff in off-stream reservoirs and underground aquifers. It funds projects to recycle urban wastewater. It leaves the choice of projects to approve up to the Water Commission, which environmentalists can hardly accuse of being hostile to environmentalist priorities.
There is also a compelling economic argument for more water infrastructure. Subsidizing water infrastructure is easily a tax neutral proposition, if not positive. Lowering the cost of water means lower prices for food, utility bills, housing, and all other products and services that depend on affordable water. This means tax revenues spent subsidizing water projects are offset by less government spending on subsidies and rebates to low and middle income households. And the economic growth enabled by more affordable water creates more profits and more tax revenue.
This simple economic argument, which leans old-school Democrat and decentralizes wealth, used to inform public infrastructure spending without debate. In the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration publicly funded roads, public buildings, rural electrification, and water infrastructure that are still paying economic dividends today. Similarly, in the 1950s and 1960s, the California State Water Project publicly funded a water system that, despite decades of neglect, enables millions to live in coastal cities.
It is time to upgrade California’s water infrastructure for the 21st century. Voters deserve the chance to make that happen.
Everybody has a moment in time when they can change the future. That moment is right now.
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