Q & A

Fact Sheets / Q&A

FACT SHEETS

Why You Should Support Proposition 50
Why Agriculture Should Support Proposition 50
Why Business Groups Should Support Proposition 50
Why Health Care Professionals Should Care About Proposition 50
Why Public Safety Groups Should Support Proposition 50

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PROPOSITION 50

Why is California in a water crisis–and how does Proposition 50 help?
How does Proposition 50 improve the quality of our drinking water?
What does Proposition 50 do to keep water flowing and meet growing water needs?
How does Proposition 50 increase security for our water supply and distribution systems?
How does Proposition 50 clean our beaches?
Why is it important to purchase threatened coastal property?
Proposition 50 authorizes $825 million for the CALFED Bay-Delta Program to restore the Sacramento Delta. Why is this project so important?
By federal order, California must cut back on its allocation of Colorado River water, one of the state’s primary water sources, this year. How will Prop 50 help California meet that mandate?
Will Proposition 50 fund new surface reservoirs?
Does Proposition 50 do anything about flood protection?
Didn’t voters just pass a similar water bond measure in 2000?
How does Proposition 50 pay for all these water projects?
Why now? Can’t we wait?
Who is supporting Proposition 50?

Why is California in a water crisis–and how does Proposition 50 help?

California has 35 million residents today and that figure is expected to increase by 25 million by 2040. Our current water supply simply isn’t enough to meet the needs of our growing population. Supplies will dwindle even more because of a federal court order that requires California to substantially reduce its use of water from the Colorado River over the next few years. This year, the crisis is compounded by the driest winter in a half century in Southern California. Water shortages are a real possibility in every corner of the state if we don’t act now to conserve and better utilize our existing water supplies.

Proposition 50 invests in California’s future, addressing issues people care about – reducing water pollution, protecting drinking water quality, cleaning up beach pollution, and ensuring a stable, reliable, secure water supply for California.

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How does Proposition 50 improve the quality of our drinking water?

Proposition 50 keeps our water clean, providing local water districts the funds needed to remove dangerous, cancer-causing chemicals like the gasoline additive MTBE, arsenic and chromium from our drinking water sources. A recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey found local streams probably hold more drugs (steroids, aspirin, hormones and caffeine) than your medicine cabinet. Proposition 50 will help replace outdated equipment with state-of-the-art technologies for contaminant removal and desalination programs.

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What does Proposition 50 do to keep water flowing and meet growing water needs?

Proposition 50 funds projects to better utilize existing water supplies or develop new sources of water, including recycling, conservation, water reclamation, desalination and regional water management efforts, and funds important new water storage efforts. The initiative replaces inadequate infrastructure so that water can be moved more efficiently when and where it is needed. Existing pipes and water distribution systems, necessary for firefighting and other community needs, also will be upgraded.

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How does Proposition 50 increase security for our water supply and distribution systems?

Today, most of our dams, aqueducts, reservoirs, pipelines and pumping stations are protected by little more than rusty chain link fences. Proposition 50 keeps our water safe, funding critical projects designed to protect our drinking water from catastrophic damage or deliberate terrorist attack. These projects include early warning systems, alarms, fences, security systems, monitoring and testing equipment, emergency water connections and upgraded communications systems.

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How does Proposition 50 clean our beaches?

Too many of California’s most beautiful beaches are unsafe for swimming because of pollution and raw sewage. Proposition 50 will help fix deteriorating sewer and storm water systems that dump urban runoff into coastal waters. Proposition 50 also restores critical coastal wetlands. These areas are important to us for their natural beauty—and they also affect water quality, fisheries, and wildlife.

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Why is it important to purchase threatened coastal property?

As California grows, our coastline is in danger of becoming over-developed and off limits to public access. Proposition 50 sets aside $950 million to purchase key stretches of land next to our rivers, lakes, and the Pacific Ocean. Top priority will be given to land of unique natural beauty that should belong to all of us. Proposition 50 also will purchase land next to rivers and streams that are sources of clean drinking water, and land that is home to endangered fish and wildlife.

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Proposition 50 authorizes $825 million for the CALFED Bay-Delta Program to restore the Sacramento Delta. Why is this project so important?

Two-thirds of California’s drinking water flows through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Yet, encroaching development, increased water demand, and pollution are now affecting the quality of that water. Restoring the Delta is a long-term solution to California’s ongoing problem of delivering quality drinking water to a growing population. However, CALFED faces critical, near-term funding challenges. If crucial federal funding falls short of approval, Proposition 50 will be the only source of funding for this essential program.

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By federal order, California must cut back on its allocation of Colorado River water, one of the state’s primary water sources, this year. How will Prop 50 help California meet that mandate?

California faces a pending federal deadline to significantly reduce its allocation of Colorado River water. Currently, California relies on the unused allocations of other Western states, like Arizona and Nevada, but those states, facing rapid population and economic growth, are now reclaiming their legally entitled allocations of Colorado River water. Proposition 50 will help fund regional programs, such as canal linings to conserve water that was otherwise lost to seepage and groundwater storage programs, which will help ensure the state can meet the federal mandate to reduce its reliance on Colorado River water.

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Will Proposition 50 fund new surface reservoirs?

Many representatives from the business and agricultural communities have actively called for new surface storage projects, including reservoirs. In fact, a critical component of the CALFED Bay-Delta Program is the study of proposed new surface storage programs for California. Proposition 50 will fund the planning, technical feasibility studies and environmental permitting required before construction of such projects can begin.

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Does Proposition 50 do anything about flood protection?

The initiative includes funding to restore and strengthen Delta levee systems that keep floodwaters away from communities. Proposition 50 also will work to improve integrated flood management at the regional level.

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Didn’t voters just pass a similar water bond measure in 2000?

In 2000, Californians overwhelmingly passed Proposition 13–a wide-ranging bill that included desperately needed funding to increase water supply, reliability and flood control efforts. New challenges and a growing population mean those funds are simply not enough. Proposition 50 takes over where Proposition 13 ended, putting in place more long-term solutions to our pressing water needs.

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How does Proposition 50 pay for all these water projects?

Proposition 50 is a fiscally sound opportunity to make necessary investments in our infrastructure. The bond will be paid back through existing resources in the state general fund, NOT through new taxes.

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Why now? Can’t we wait?

We can’t leave the quality of our drinking water at risk. Proposition 50 funds the most critical projects needed now to safeguard our water. And, with interest rates at historic lows, there’s no better time than now to invest in improving and expanding our water system. The price tag will only go up in the future. Many major water projects take years to develop, so it is important to begin right away.

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Who is supporting Proposition 50?

Proposition 50 is supported by a broad coalition of interests that testifies to the programmatic and geographic diversity of this bond. A partial listing of supporters include the California Professional Firefighters Association, League of Women Voters of California, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Contra Costa Water District, East Bay Municipal Utilities District, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, The Nature Conservancy, Clean Water Action, League for Coastal Protection, California Council for Economic and Environmental Balance, Southern California Water Committee, Audubon Society, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

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