February 4, 2022
SUCCESS! The Irresponsible “More Water Now” Ballot Initiative is Dead (for Now)
– The campaign to get more general state funds directed towards sketchy water projects fell short on funding and signatures.
– Supporters of the “Water Infrastructure Funding Act of 2022” aim to resurrect the initiative in 2024.
– Poseidon’s HB desalination plant, which faces the Coastal Commission in March, would have benefitted from this act.
WHAT + WHY:
In December 2021, Orange County Coastkeeper and several other conservation, environmental justice, tribal, and fishing groups announced our opposition to the “More Water Now” campaign. Their goal was to get the “Water Infrastructure Funding Act of 2022” on the November ballot. This act would mandate that 2% of the state’s general fund to pay for selected water projects until an additional 5 million acre-feet of water supply was created.
California needs innovative, inclusive water solutions, and this act would’ve been a step in the wrong direction. The initiative’s language was clearly written to create easier pathways for irresponsible, profit-motivated water projects to be developed such as the Poseidon desalination project proposed in Huntington Beach.
For example, a provision of this act would’ve allowed the Secretary of Natural Resources Agency to override the California Coastal Commission. While Coastkeeper doesn’t always agree with their decisions, the Commission’s role in the coastal development process is vital to protecting our state’s coastline.
The “More Water Now” campaign stopped its push for November 2022 because of a severe lack of fundraising and voter signatures. While this is a win for responsible water in California, the campaign announced a refocusing for the 2024 ballot.
Orange County Coastkeeper will continue to advocate against regressive acts for irresponsible projects in California water like this one. State water projects and the legislature must focus on making this human right accessible and sustainable for everyone.
Because the proposed act was backdated, Poseidon’s desalination proposal in Huntington Beach would’ve qualified for these state funds. Coastkeeper and several other environmental groups have opposed the project for decades. The overpriced, polluting, and unsustainable plant concept would jeopardize small businesses, low-income housing projects, communities of color, and water ratepayers across the county. The project is currently under review for a Coastal Development Permit and will face the California Coastal Commission on March 17.
INTERVIEW, LINK AND CONTACT:
- Organization: Orange County Coastkeeper
- Interviews available: Executive Director Garry Brown & Associate Director of Programs Ray Hiemstra
- Contact: Matt Sylvester, [email protected]
- Link to use in your story: https://www.coastkeeper.org/
ORANGE COUNTY COASTKEEPER: Orange County Coastkeeper is a member of the International Waterkeeper Alliance, which has 241 different independent programs across 40 countries. Founded in 1999, the mission of Coastkeeper is to protect and promote sustainable water resources that are swimmable, drinkable, and fishable. Coastkeeper is a nonprofit clean water organization that serves as a proactive steward of our fresh- and saltwater ecosystems. We work collaboratively with diverse groups in the public and private sectors to achieve healthy, accessible, and sustainable water resources for the region. We implement innovative, effective programs in education, advocacy, restoration, research, enforcement, and conservation. For more information, visit www.coastkeeper.org or call 714-850-1965.