Home Industry News Economics Western United Dairies and Almond Alliance Help Secure Placement of Safe Drinking Water, Wildfire Prevention, Drought Preparedness, and Clean Air Bond Act on Ballot

Western United Dairies and Almond Alliance Help Secure Placement of Safe Drinking Water, Wildfire Prevention, Drought Preparedness, and Clean Air Bond Act on Ballot

This week, Legislature passed SB 867 (Allen) the Safe Drinking Water, Wildfire Prevention, Drought Preparedness, and Clean Air Bond Act of 2024, that will be placed before voters on the November General Election ballot. The bond would authorize $10 billion in general obligation bonds to finance projects for drought, flood, and water resilience; wildfire and forest resilience; biodiversity and nature-based climate solutions; and climate-smart, sustainable, and resilient farms, ranches, and working lands, among other priorities.

The bond will provide significant investments for dairy farmers and almond growers to increase groundwater quality and supply in critical areas of the state. The bond would allocate $386,250,000 for the Department of Water Resources (DWR) for projects related to groundwater banking, groundwater recharge, and instream flow projects that support the conjunctive use of groundwater and surface water supplies.

The two organizations have collaborated with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) on a number of high-priority initiatives to promote improving water resiliency and management. Among these initiatives is LandFlex, a program designed as a tool for real-time flood control, protection of communities and properties, and developing long-term groundwater recharge capability. DWR has steadfastly supported the implementation of LandFlex, and with the passage of the bond, LandFlex will be prioritized within a larger water suite of programs that will assist in improving water quality and supply for agricultural regions of the state. LandFlex also accelerates compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), allowing farmers to explore innovative farming methods that align with our long-term sustainability goals.

“Placing the Climate Bond on the ballot will allow voters to determine key investments to improve water availability for dairy farmers,” said Frank Mendonsa, President of Western United Dairies. “Our partnership with DWR has been instrumental in advancing projects that support water conservation and provide long-term certainty in sustainable agriculture. LandFlex is a prime example of how we can achieve these goals, and we are optimistic about its future with resources included in the Safe Drinking Water, Wildfire Prevention, Drought Preparedness, and Clean Air Bond Act of 2024.”

“We are excited about the Legislature passing and the acting Governor signing the Climate Bond legislation,” said Blake Vann, chairman of the Almond Alliance. “Our collaborative efforts with DWR on initiatives like LandFlex demonstrate our commitment to innovative solutions that benefit both the environment and our agricultural communities. We look forward to voters approving the bond in November and allowing LandFlex to be a long-term water resiliency program.”

The organizations would like to recognize and thank Assemblywoman, and Chair of the Agriculture Committee, Esmeralda Soria (D-Fresno) and Senator Anna Caballero (D-Merced) for championing the inclusion of funding for DWR and LandFlex programs. We would also like to extend our sincere appreciation to Pro Tem Mike McGuire (D-Santa Rosa) and Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) and their staff for working with AA & WUD on the inclusion of key funding priorities for dairy farmers and almond growers. Of course, without the support of Governor Newsom and key members of his administration, this bond and core funding for water programs would not be possible.

The Almond Alliance and Western United Dairies remain committed to leading the way in establishing long-term water policies to promote sustainable agricultural practices and look forward to continued collaboration with the Governor’s Administration, DWR, and Legislative Champions to ensure passage of the bond in November and implementation of these vital initiatives for dairy farmers and almond growers.

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