Wilk to Water Commission: bureaucratic shenanigans delaying needed water storage

SACRAMENTO – Senator Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, has requested the California Water Commission, the state agency that controls voter approved funding for water storage projects, to reevaluate its complicated application and review process and approve the 11 individual projects that have applied for funding.

“Last winter we had an historically wet winter yet the bulk of that rainfall washed out to sea because California has not addressed increased major water storage capacity since 1979. This year water officials already predict parts of the state are in a severe drought and once again we are unprepared,” said Wilk. “Voters authorized $7.5 billion in bond money for water infrastructure projects in 2014. While these bonds have been sold, the money sits in the state’s coffers unspent. Not one of the proposals, including integral storage projects like Temperance Flat, have been given the green light by bureaucrats in Sacramento.”

Wilk was a co-author of the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1) on the ballot which was passed overwhelmingly by California voters. Wilk’s letter questions Commission staff’s process and motives as the application process for these funds is nearly impossible to navigate. For those who can figure it out, the Water Commission has applied ridiculous assessments of projects’ suitability to receive the bond money. The convoluted and complex application process has stymied discussions between the Commission staff and applicants delaying approval of all projects.

“The Water Commission was tasked and entrusted with carrying out the will of the voters – that the Prop1 funds be used expeditiously to help improve our state’s water collection, storage and conveyance infrastructure. I believe the Commission should reevaluate the WISP application process to ensure that goal is met,” Wilk concluded.

Wilk’s letter can be found here.