Build It -- Dam It

By Senator Andy Vidak
Monday, December 15, 2014

Published in the Kern County Valley Ag Voice – December 2014 Issue

“Build It – Dam It” has been the theme of the Auburn Dam Council since the mid 1980's, but could easily be adopted by our parched Central Valley, which is in desperate need of a reliable source of water.

Anyone who has been watching state government over the years knows how slowly the wheels of this bureaucratic machine can move – especially when it comes to supporting the needs of the Central Valley.

One of the slowest, yet possibly the most important, issues the state has failed to act upon over the last several decades is expanding California’s water storage.

That’s why I was so glad to see Republicans and Democrats come together in Sacramento this year to place Proposition 1 on the ballot. Thankfully, California voters overwhelmingly supported the proposal, which provides a down payment on creating a clean and reliable source of water for this state and the Central Valley. It’s just too bad that it took one of the worst droughts in this state’s history for the Legislature to finally act.

As many of you are aware, this long-overdue $7.5 billion bond provides $2.75 billion for the expansion of water storage in California. This water supply, once built, will provide a reliable and safe drinking water source for residents of this region. It will also provide the farmers and farmworkers– the lifeblood of this region – with the water needed to feed to the residents of this state and nation.

Over the past 30 years, California has had more than enough rainfall to meet the needs of this state’s growing population that is now approaching 40 million. What hasn’t happened is the effective capture and management of that rainfall over the years, which have ultimately resulted in the life-threatening drought that we are experiencing now.

With the passage of Prop. 1, my priority in Sacramento is to focus on taking whatever steps are necessary to build Temperance Flat and Sites reservoirs. These new vital water storage sites will help stabilize California’s volatile water supply during droughts and will make sure that resources flow to many disadvantaged communities that currently lack access to clean drinking water.

I’d like to thank everyone who supported this historic water bond that will help both agriculture and the residents of the Central Valley and California.  I realize the passage of this bond is just the first step. Every day wasted in not putting the water bond funds to work is another day that threatens the quality of life of everyone who depends on adequate water for our Valley.

It’s time to build, not delay.