SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CNS) - San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders today applauded state lawmakers for approving an $11 billion overhaul of California's water system that he said would ensure reliable supplies for Southern California long into the future.
"This is one of the most significant pieces of legislation I think we will see in a long time," Sanders said. "Water reliability means California can continue to prosper."
Sanders was joined by local environmental, water and business leaders at a late morning news conference to praise San Diego's legislative delegation for helping to get the water package approved.
"This deal is great news for our region," Sanders said.
"It will help lay the groundwork for the eventual creation of an aqueduct that will channel water from northern to Southern California, while bypassing the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta estuary," the mayor said. "This will mean a more reliable supply of water for Southern California
because water can be pumped from north to south without disturbing the salmon, delta smelt and other wildlife in the delta."
The legislation was narrowly passed early this morning by the Assembly. It now goes to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is expected to sign it into law.
"Water is the lifeblood of everything we do in California," Schwarzenegger said in a statement. "Without clean, reliable water, we cannot build, we cannot farm, we cannot grow and we cannot prosper.
"That is why I am so proud that the Legislature, Democrats and Republicans, came together and tackled one of the most complicated issues in our state's history," he said. "This comprehensive water package is an historic achievement."
The five-bill package would increase water storage in the state by constructing new dams, clean up groundwater, restoring sensitive ecosystems and setting a goal of 20 percent conservation by 2020.
It would also lead to the construction of a aqueduct that circumvents the environmentally sensitive Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, through which much of Southern California's must now pass. A similar effort to build a peripheral canal to channel water around the delta failed more than two decades ago.
The legislation relies on an $11 billion bond, which will likely go before voters next November.
About $227 million of that money would go directly to the San Diego region to expand reservoirs and dams and protect watersheds. About $20 million would go toward the restoration of the San Diego River.
California's water supplies are threatened by years of drought which, combined with restrictions on the amount of water that can be pumped through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to protect endangered fish, has led to shortages.
San Diego residents have reduced their overall water usage by about 13 percent since mandatory restrictions were enacted about six months ago. Sanders said that through the legislation adopted today, city residents would have to conserve another 5 percent.
A former Navy man accused of killing his estranged wife, whose decomposing body was found in San Diego Bay nearly two years after she vanished, was ordered Friday to stand trial on a first-degree murder charge.
An ex-con who allegedly riddled a Hillcrest restaurant with bullets from an assault rifle -- sending terrified diners ducking for cover but somehow injuring no one -- was charged Friday with 11 counts of attempted murder.
Legoland debuted its new exhibit Friday, a tie-in to the recent premiere of "The Lego Movie 2: The Second One."
Nearly 50 inmates were involved in a riot at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in Otay Mesa on Friday. The incident happened in the prison's medium custody Facility-A yard.
A bluff collapse near Seagrove Park temporarily halted train service Friday on a stretch of ocean-front rails in northern San Diego County.
Who says Valentine's Day is over? A new museum has popped up in the North County and it’s dedicated to love.
The target of a lawsuit involving the highly-publicized death of Rebecca Zahau in Coronado said Wednesday the case was settled for $600,000.
Social media has become a part of most people’s daily lives – including parents who don’t think twice about posting photos of their kids online.
A large oak tree fell on a home in Escondido, narrowly missing a pregnant woman and her husband who were sleeping.
The man arrested in connection to the shooting at The Asian Bistro restaurant Tuesday night in Hillcrest was identified as 29-year-old Stefano Markell Parker.