Valley leaders kick off Proposition 3 campaign

Congressman David Valadao, R-Hanford, of Congressional District 21 speaks in favor of the Yes on Proposition 3 campaign during a news conference held Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. CONTRIBUTED BY MIKE MARANDO/RANDLE COMMUNICATIONS

Congressional, state and local leaders gathered at Friant Kern Canal near Millerton Lake Thursday to kick off a campaign in favor of Proposition 3, a statewide water bond that would dedicate funds to improve the region’s water systems.

“This measure will help fix the valley’s water systems that feed families, farms and support our quality of life,” said Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno.

If passed, the initiative will invest about $8.9 billion in California’s water infrastructure. The funds fall into six broad categories: watershed lands, water supply, fish and wildlife habitat, water facility upgrades, groundwater and flood protection.

Of the total funds, over $4 billion – more than any previous state measure – will go directly to the Central Valley to improve drinking water supplies and provide environmental, health and other benefits.

About $750 million of the funds will be designated to repairing the Madera and Friant-Kern canals.

“We’re at a crisis point. We must pass Proposition 3 to fix our canals,” said Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno. “Absent action, almost one third of the land currently farmed locally could go out of production, devastating our economy, killing jobs and putting local services at risk.”

In addition, the measure will designate $500 million to provide clean drinking water to certain areas in the state, including many Valley cities.

This November, California voters will have the opportunity to vote on the proposition.