Water and drought top California voters’ environmental concerns

California voters place water storage and drought at the top of their concerns over the environment, according to a new Public Policy Institute of California poll released Wednesday. The poll also shows that voters back an $8.9 billion bond on the November ballot that would fund an array of water projects.

Remind me: Proposition 3 is funded by San Joaquin farmers and many environmentalist groups, and would earmark $2 billion for aqueducts, storage, reservoirs and dam repair.

The PPIC poll shows likely voters support the initiative by a 58-25 percent margin. Its support crosses party lines and regions. Nearly a fourth place drought and water storage at the top of environment-related concerns, ahead of air pollution and climate change.

On cue: The state Water Commission earlier this week allocated $2.7 billion to build eight massive above and below-ground water storage projects. The largest is the Sites Reservoir and north of Sacramento. The state also is funding an expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir in Contra Costa County and Pacheco Reservoir outside San Jose. That money comes from a 2014 bond championed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Analysis: There’s no funded opposition to Proposition 3 yet, but numbers could tighten when voters realize the 40-year cost would exceed $17 billion. Voters just approved a $4 billion bond in June for parks and water-related projects, and will decide measures allocating $7.5 billion for housing. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is backing the measure. But Gov. Jerry Brown has not taken a stand. His support or opposition will be significant.

This story originally appeared in WhatMatters, our daily roundup of the most important policy and politics news in California. Subscribe here.

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