There are many challenges facing water management in California. California’s Water Action Plan, developed as a framework for sustainable water management, shows that decreases in water supplies, reduced water quality, degradation of native fish and wildlife habitat, coupled with population growth and climate change highlight the need for collaborative, complex and resilient management practices to ensure long term sustainability. The Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 was passed to address some of these challenges through the allocation of $7.545 billion in general obligation bonds. The proposition amended and added articles to the California Water Code, providing a broad range of financial support including all of the following: public health benefits, supporting innovative technologies and practices to progress resilient natural resource management, and allocating funds to help protect, conserve, and enhance water supplies for future sustainability of ecosystems and survival of fish and wildlife species.
The proposition authorized the appropriation of $200 million to the WCB, which led to the creation of the California Stream Flow Enhancement Program. Specifically, the Program was influenced by the following legislation:
- Fish and Game Code (FGC) Section 1348(a) – [WCB] shall authorize the acquisition of real property, rights in real property, water, or water rights as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of [Chapter 4 of the FGC, Wildlife Conservation Law of 1947]; and
- FGC Section 1350(c) – [WCB] may award grants … to nonprofit organizations, local governmental agencies, and state agencies for the purposes of fish and wildlife habitat restoration . . . in the same manner and subject to the same terms and conditions as prescribed in Section 31116 of the Public Resources Code.