California Safe Drinking Water Act (2008)

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The California Safe Drinking Water Act was a proposed ballot initiative that would have established $6.835 billion in water bonds in order preserve fisheries and groundwater. Two versions were submitted to election officials as potential initiatives and neither one made it onto the 2008 ballot.

Ballot summary

Version 07-0069's summary said:

Authorizes $6,835,000,000 in bonds paid from state’s General Fund for water related projects. Allocates approximately 29% to statewide water supply reliability projects including conservation, reclamation, distribution, storage and restoration. Allocates approximately 35% to Sacramento-San Joaquin delta sustainability projects including ecosystem improvements. Allocates approximately 16% to statewide conservation and pollution cleanup projects including ecosystem and urban watershed protection and restoration. Allocates approximately 16% statewide to prevent or reduce contamination of groundwater that serves as a source of drinking water. Allocates approximately 4% to statewide water recycling projects. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: State cost of about $13.3 billion over 30 years to pay off both the principal ($6.8 billion) and interest ($6.5 billion) costs on the bonds. Payments of about $445 million per year. Unknown, eventual costs, potentially in the low hundreds of millions of dollars per year, to state and local governments to operate or maintain projects developed with these bond funds. (Initiative 07-0069.)[1]


Democratic Senate President pro Tem Don Perata sponsored the initiative. The Democratic party believed that this water bond initiative would:

  • Protect the fisheries by preserving the delta
  • Conserve the level of ground water
  • By managing an "efficient" use of water increase water supply to many

Dr. Peter H. Gleick, President of the Pacific Institute, had stated that he is against the Governor's plans and instead hopes for greater water efficiency will help to meet future supply demands.[2]


The California Chamber of Commerce and farmers were sponsoring an opposing The Comprehensive Safe Drinking Water, Water Supply Reliability, and Delta Restoration Act (2008). This was originally proposed by Gov. Shwarzenegger and the Republican Legislature.[3] While some in the party believe that the water bond issue should be left alone until the $14 billion deficit is handles, the Governor and other continue to plug their initiative.

The primary difference between the two initiatives is that the Safe Drinking Water Act focuses on protection of fisheries and preservation of ground water, while the other initiative focuses more on building new dams and increasing the water supply.


The proposition has been approved by the California Secretary of State for circulation, though there have been indications that the initiative may be pushed back to a later election. The Democratic party has already agreed that the water initiative will have to wait while the state pulls itself back together.[4]

See also

External links