A $5.5 billion bond proposal aimed at funding projects to build wildfire and climate resilience throughout the state is making progress in the Legislature for the third year in a row.

The bill offers $190 million for protecting ag lands from climate risks. Of that, $45 million would support multibenefit projects that improve groundwater management, surface water use efficiency, and drought tolerance. Another $200 million would go toward other groundwater projects.

In a committee hearing this week, Sen. Susan Eggman of Stockton pointed out that past bonds have specifically excluded the construction of conveyance projects, adding that the water agencies that benefit should bear the cost. One of the bill’s authors agreed and said he would soon introduce language to the bill prohibiting funding for conveyance.

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The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), however, pushed for $500 million of the bond money to go toward conveyance projects.

“Consistent with Gov. Newsom’s bond proposal in his January 2020 budget, ACWA believes significant funding should be made available for regional and inter-regional water management projects,” the agency wrote in a letter to the committee. ACWA also calls for at least doubling the funding for groundwater projects.