As I was saying the other day, California’s new water bond measure sure is interesting. The voters will be asked next November to let the state borrow $11.14 billion for a whole slew of water projects: water conservation efforts, water reclamation, water recycling, groundwater monitoring, drought relief, and measures that will let local and regional agencies do semi-water-related things like build bike paths near rivers. A good piece of the $11 billion will simply be a pile of cash for the Legislature to sit on and hand out to worthy dam projects and other water-development initiatives. Governor Schwarzenegger signed the bill calling for the bond measure yesterday, and he’s talking as if it’s a done deal. At the same time, snipers have appeared. Legislators from both parties are saying the initiative is flawed and padded with unnecessary spending. Some reporters are getting in on the act, too. I decided to find the text of the bond bill myself and pore through it. Once I started to do that, I started thinking of ways to highlight the spending provisions. A spreadsheet? That’s good if you like raw data. A map? It seemed doable, so I went to work on Google Maps. The result–still a work in progress, and sing out if you have any suggestions–is here and also embedded below. We put it up on a KQED page, it’s gotten passed around some on Twitter and maybe elsewhere. And tonight I found out that one of the governor’s press aides was consulting it (well–the press aide is a former colleague of mine).
View California’s Water Bill: Where Would the Money Go? in a larger map