Prop 3: California Rejects Borrowing $9 Billion for Water Projects

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The intake channel at the C.W. "Bill" Jones Pumping Plant in Tracy. The federal plant sends water south to San Joaquin Valley farmers. (Credit: Falkenberg/Los Angeles Times)

The intake channel at the C.W. "Bill" Jones Pumping Plant in Tracy. The federal plant sends water south to San Joaquin Valley farmers. (Credit: Falkenberg/Los Angeles Times)

Californians have rejected borrowing nearly $9 billion for water infrastructure improvement projects despite the state suffering from chronic water scarcity.

Proposition 3 lost Tuesday by a narrow margin of less than 3 percentage points. The initiative called for devoting the money to storage and dam repairs, watershed and fisheries improvements, and habitat protection and restoration.

Much of the $8.9 billion was earmarked for conservancies and state parks to restore and protect watersheds, and to nonprofits and local agencies for river parkways.

There also was money for improvements to meet safe drinking water standards.

The measure was backed by agricultural and water associations and groups devoted to conserving wetlands, fish and wildlife.

Opponents said it would have benefited special interests while siphoning money from other programs.

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