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Lawmakers propose $4.5B flood protection bond measure

Source: ABC 7

CHICO, Calif. — Californians could be voting on a major flood protection bond next November.

State lawmakers are pushing a $4.5 billion bond measure which would help fund water infrastructure projects across the state. The bill's author, San Joaquin Valley Democratic Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua, said the language is not yet set in stone, but that funds from the bond would go to the Department of Water Resources (DWR).

According to the bill, $1 billion would be allocated to "multibenefit flood protection projects" under the Central Valley Flood Protection Board as well as other projects in the San Joaquin Valley.

Another $1 billion would be distributed to DWR to reduce urban flood risk. Projects under the Dam Safety and Climate Resilience Local Assistance Program would also get $1 billion. $500 would go toward levee rehabilitation and upgrades.

The remaining funds would be set aside for flood management projects like floodplain restoration in the Central Valley.

Villapudua says recent winter storms only highlighted the need for water investments.

"The last flooding that we had really woke a lot of people because," Villapudua said. "It’s not just jobs we’re protecting. It’s not just levees we’re protecting. We're really protecting a domino effect of many, many folks that depend on food in their restaurants. This is a domino effect but it could also could cause pain and suffering because we have also lost lives because we have not put money into protecting our damns and our water."

The measure passed the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife committee Monday. It moves next to a vote in the Appropriations Committee. It will need the greenlight from the governor before being put before voters.