Former Brown Official Pushes Water Bond


ust a year after California voters approved a multi-billion dollar water bond, another may be on the way. Governor Jerry Brown’s former top water official is pushing another initiative to upgrade the state’s water system. Jerry Meral, director of the Natural Heritage Institute's water program, says more is needed to ensure an adequate water supply.

"If the state wanted to, it could spend tens of billions of dollars, and probably should eventually, because this is a dry state. It’s probably going to get drier because of climate change," Meral says. "We’ve got to do it one step at a time, and this would just be the next step."

Meral is most well-known for a controversial plan to build water tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, but he is also one of the state’s most influential environmentalists and an experienced author of initiatives.

A draft proposal Meral sent to environmental groups and state water officials does not contain a dollar figure, but Meral says it won’t exceed $5 billion. The draft would distribute unspecified amounts to conservation, water reuse and recycling projects, desalination and existing infrastructure improvements.

Neither Brown nor any major environmental group has taken a position on the proposal.

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