California Proposition 9, the Peripheral Canal Act (June 1982)
Proposition 9, if it had passed, would have authorized building a canal around the periphery of the Sacramento-San Joaquin river delta that would have moved water from Northern California down to Central and Southern California.
The campaign on Proposition 9 has been described as "the largest north-south ballot split ever seen in California" as northern Californians argued that "their water would flow south and they would be left high and dry, with ruined fisheries and rotten water quality in the Delta."
Proposition 9's ballot summary said:
- "Designates additional facilities and programs, including a peripheral canal as units of Central Valley Project. Specify requirements regarding feasibility, environmental impacts, design, construction, operation, financing and protection and enhancement of fish and wildlife for project units. Requires compliance with designated water quality standards and conditions. Specify other responsibilities and matters."
The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:
- "SB 200. The State Water Project has been planned and operated to be self-supporting. Users of water and power supplied by the project are required under their present contracts to repay water and power costs through user charges. Therefore, implementation of SB 200 under present policies would not require an increase in state taxes, or reduce the amount of funds available for other state programs. Conversely, rejection of SB 200 by the voters would not affect the level of state taxes or increase the amount of funds available for other state programs.
- If SB 200 is approved by the voters and all of the projects listed in Table 1 are undertaken, the state construction expenditures would be increased by a minimum of $3.1 billion plus interest over a period of several decades. The revenues from user charges would increase and thus offset the increased expenditures.
- It is possible that even if SB 200 is rejected, some of the projects listed in Table 1 will be constructed in the future under the legal authority contained in those provisions of the Burns-Porter Act that would not be affected by this referendum.
- The ultimate fiscal effect of this measure on the State Water Project and on the local agencies that purchase water from the project is uncertain, and would depend on future actions that cannot be predicted.
- ACA 90. If SB 200 is rejected by the voters, the State General Fund would not have to reimburse Sacramento County for any superior court costs due to SB 200.
Path to the ballot
As a veto referendum, Proposition 9 earned its spot on the ballot through the collection of signatures on petitions.
- PDF of the mailed June 8, 1982 voter guide for Proposition 9
- California Law Library, June 8, 1982 ballot propositions