published on March 16, 2016 - 8:53 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

The Kings County Farm Bureau’s board of directors this week voted unanimously to support the Water Priorities Initiative, a ballot measure the board believes is “intended to restore balance and certainty” to California’s water supply.

The Kings County Farm Bureau board decided to support the initiative, according to their statement, because they “favor redirecting high-speed rail funding to water storage projects.”

“As we enter the fifth year of drought, it’s clear to the board that redirecting up to $8 billion of unissued high-speed rail bonds to building water storage and supply projects statewide is a far better use of this money,” said KCFB President Josh Bettencourt.

“We must find a way to protect and increase the state’s water supply, and the board feels that this measure provides reasonable solutions for correcting the current deficiencies,” Bettencourt added.

The proposed ballot measure seeks to significantly increase the amount of surface water available as well as to construct local surface water facilities, support specific, shovel-ready state reservoir projects, recharge groundwater, modernize existing surface and groundwater storage facilities and create jobs.

“The passage of this initiative does not take away from what we have, but improves upon our water programs and systems for the good of all — people, food production and the environment — at no additional cost to taxpayers,” said Aubrey Bettencourt, executive director of the California Water Alliance, the group sponsoring the ballot measure.

“The alternative is more of the same: rationing, rising water prices, zero allocations, more restrictions and regulations, followed fields, jobs lost and failure,” Bettencourt added.

The Kings County Farm Bureau is collecting signatures in support of the ballot measure at their office, which is located at 870 Greenfield Ave. in Hanford.

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