FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 1, 2022
Direct inquiries to press@MoreWaterNow.com, or call 279-345-9934
Today the More Water Now campaign announces an end to its efforts to qualify The Water Infrastructure Funding Act of 2022 for the November state ballot. Despite crafting an initiative that would solve California’s challenge of chronic and worsening water scarcity, and despite recent polling that indicates over 70 percent of California’s voters support increased state spending on water infrastructure, the campaign has been unable to attract the financial support necessary to gather the required 1.0 million signatures.
The priority for the campaign now shifts to 2024. Our steering committee members, all volunteers, remain in contact with hundreds of donors and volunteers who are urging us to try again.
While looking ahead to 2024, the campaign is grateful to everyone who supported our efforts, including the Ag community, water agencies statewide, the California Latino Water Coalition and the National Latino Ranchers and Farmers Association. We thank the Central Valley Taxpayers Association and the Los Angeles County Business Federation, and many others for their support. In all, 27 cities, counties, agencies and organizations formally endorsed our initiative, and dozens more were on the way.
Assemblyman Devon Mathis, who has long recognized that the only way to adequately fund water infrastructure investments is via a long-term legislative commitment to allocate a percent of the state budget to water supply projects, remains an avid supporter. Mathis, along with a growing, bipartisan group of lawmakers who agree with this approach, is now advancing The Water Infrastructure Funding Act in the state assembly.
Most of all, we thank the hundreds of volunteers, many of them part of the California Water for Food and People Movement, who gathered thousands of signatures. Your contributions will not be forgotten. The next time we do this, we will have more time to prepare, and what we have all learned will give us a head start. This is not over.
Investment in California’s aging water supply infrastructure is needed now. Despite one massive system that delivered torrential rains to the state last December, California remains in severe drought. To cope with water scarcity, Californians face unprecedented restrictions on water use. But why, when obvious and environmentally responsible solutions exist? Millions of acre feet of additional water could be available by capturing and storing storm runoff in new off-stream reservoirs and underground aquifers, and by implementing urban wastewater recycling in every major city. The Water Infrastructure Funding Act would pay for these projects by allocating just two percent of the state general fund each year.
It is out of character for California’s policymakers and opinion leaders to advocate water rationing as a permanent solution to water scarcity. California is the wealthiest and most creative place in the world. California’s culture is built on dreams and optimism. It is unacceptable that in a state as wonderful as California, where scientists and entrepreneurs are driving technological innovations of breathtaking scope and transformative impact, we are unable to upgrade our water infrastructure to meet the needs of the 21st century.
Water abundance is not an unrealistic fantasy. It is a realistic and sustainable goal, and it is the obligation of California’s state government to make achieving it a reality.
With more time to expand the coalition, refine the ballot initiative language, and qualify for the November 2024 ballot, the More Water Now effort is moving forward.
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