State Senator Melissa Hurtado of Sanger has not given up hope on a bill that would have dissolved the water board—until a committee reworked the measure. The revised bill would instead establish a new committee to study a broad range of water issues for policy recommendations. Yet several environmental groups remain unsettled.
“This is more of a personal opposition to this bill than anything else, which is unfortunate because we do need reforms,” said Hurtado in a hearing last week.
Sen. Dave Cortese of Silicon Valley, a coauthor on the bill, agreed, saying that although the “revamped” bill was in response to their requests, the groups have maintained a general distrust with the authors.
Adding to that, Republican Sen. Brian Dahle of Bieber pointed out that no water right holders or agencies opposed the measure. But Dahle remained nervous that any solutions the committee would put forward would “get squashed in California politics” and that lawmakers in other committees may amend the bill to instead target the state’s water laws.
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On that note, committee chair Ben Allen of Santa Monica sought to ensure the proposed committee would also consider reforms to water rights.
“It's clear to me that we do need a real reexamination of our water system,” said Allen, adding that the system has “just become so flawed and it's really not serving our state, it’s not serving our environment, it’s not serving regular folks.”