The California water mafia is at it again, shaking down taxpayers and ratepayers for free money.
The California Water Commission posted its staff evaluation of the public benefit of the 11 projects vying for Proposition 1 water storage bond money, and the numbers were far lower than the applicants had claimed.
In one example reported by the East Bay Times, the proponents of Sites Reservoir, the off-stream reservoir proposed west of Maxwell, had claimed each dollar of public money invested would result in $2.11 in public benefit. Water Commission staff said the actual benefit would be 40 cents on the dollar.
Applicants had claimed benefits as high as $6.10. Four proposals came back at zero, and one at 1 cent. The public benefit of the Temperance Flat project was put at a dime on a dollar. None of the applications had a public benefit higher than 75 cents on the dollar.
“We are not kicking folks out,” Joe Yun, executive officer of the commission told the San Jose Mercury News earlier. “This is an expression of additional information that needs to come.”
Maybe the Commission should be kicking some of these hucksters out.
Proposition 1, a $7.5 billion bond measure approved by voters in November 2014, included $2.7 billion for water storage projects. The 11 proposals were asking for $5.7 billion.
The money cannot pay to just increase the amount of water stored. Instead the language of Proposition 1 limits the money’s use to achieve five public benefits: ecosystem benefits, water quality, flood control, emergency response and recreation.
The Water Commission has until the end of 2021 to actually allocate the funds.