L.A. Area Chamber Statement on California Water Legislation


November 2, 2009 8:00 am

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce urges Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California State Legislature to immediately pass a comprehensive water package to fix the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and ensure a safe and reliable water supply for all Californians.

“Now is the time to put California’s long-term health above partisan politics and special interest lobbying,” said Gary Toebben, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.  “We urge lawmakers to pass these bills immediately and secure our state’s water supply — nothing short of California’s economic lifeblood is at stake.”

Fixing the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is critical to preserving one of our state's most delicate ecosystems and ensuring continued water delivery to all Californians.  An aging system of levees, canals and pumps is already under judicial monitoring due to environmental degradation and is one moderate earthquake away from collapse.  Such a disaster would flood the Delta with saltwater — rendering it undrinkable — decimate the state's agricultural industry, cut off one-third of Southern California's water supply and leave much of the area south and east of San Francisco critically short of water.

The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce supports a comprehensive package based on the following legislation:

Governance - establish the framework for a new water governance authority to fix the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta’s broken water infrastructure while protecting the fragile ecosystem.  This is vital to preventing a Hurricane Katrina-type levee failure that could cut off one-third of Southern California’s water supply for up to two years.  (ABX 9, ABX 12, SBX 1, SBX 4)

Water Use Efficiency - promote water efficiency by setting a performance-based approach for urban water districts to secure a 20 percent reduction in per-capita water-use by 2020 as well as mandatory water reduction plans for agricultural districts.  (ABX 8, SBX 5)

Groundwater Monitoring - require local areas to monitor and report groundwater elevations, which is important ensuring conservation and reliability.  (ABX 10, SBX 6)

Water Use Reporting - increase the enforcement powers of the State Water Resources Control Board, including raising fines for the non-reporting of water diversions from one area to another.  (ABX 11, SBX 5)

Delta Diversions - require all water diversions within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to begin monitoring, measuring and reporting water use.  Provide other important tools to ensure the equitable use of water in California.  (ABX 9, ABX 12, SBX 4)

Assembly Water Bond ABX7 14 (Caballero) - provides nearly $500 million to the L.A. region to address the water needs for disadvantaged communities, meet state water recycling and conservation goals, as well as to fund efforts to reduce the effects of groundwater contamination.

More information on the L.A. Area Chamber is available at www.lachamber.com.

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The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit www.lachamber.com.


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