Monday, August 24, 2009

Water, water everywhere ...

Discussion of water and delta issues is escalating this week at the Capitol. In two more joint hearings — following one last week — the Senate and Assembly water committees will continue mulling a five-bill water planned pushed by Democrats.

The committees meet Tuesday to discuss three bills dealing with management and governance of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and again Thursday for two bills addressing water rights and efficiency. 

On Wednesday, the Select Committee on Delta Stewardship and Sustainability will hold an informational hearing on water-infrastructure financing. 

The Democrats have left infrastructure funding out of the current package. They've focused instead on governance, saying a restructuring of the chaotic system by which the delta is currently managed must come first.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vowed to veto any package that lacks a funding proposal, saying he wants a bond of about $10 billion. Various bond bills in that range have been proposed this year by Republicans and Democrats. But Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) now says that level of funding is too much for the state's weak fiscal condition.

The bills are slated for consideration by a conference committee before the legislature adjourns in mid-September.

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