SAN FRANCISCO - There may be a truce in the legislative water wars that have stymied effort to put a bond measure for water projects in front of California voters.
Sen. Michael Machado, D-Linden, announced last week that he is introducing a new water bill that he intends to develop in consultation with his Republican colleagues.
Negotiations for a water package have been stalled for months amid a partisan impasse.
Republicans in the state legislature have insisted on financing for new dam projects that Democrats have adamantly opposed. Democrats have raised concerns about Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's desire to move forward with a so-called "peripheral canal" that would allow water to move to Southern California from Northern California without passing through the delta of the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers.
While Democrats control both houses of the Legislature, it takes two-thirds votes in each house to put a general obligation bond measure on the statewide ballot, so bipartisan support is required.
Machado's new proposal includes $6.8 billion in bond authorization. The timing of the bond measure remains to be determined, but November would be the earliest practical date.
"Our new proposal is built on recognized water resource priorities but adds important new provisions outlined by the administration and our Senate Republican colleagues on water storage and Delta protection," Machado said in a statement. "We believe it's a reasonable place to restart discussions on a legislatively approved water bond measure."
Sen. Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto, issued a statement welcoming the proposal. Cogdill has been the GOP point person on water in the Senate, and was recently chosen as Republican Leader-elect by his caucus.
"I look forward to continuing to work with Sen. Machado on a new proposal that acknowledges widespread interests in funding for new water storage, both surface and groundwater, along with other sorely needed water funding," Cogdill said. "We're ready to roll up our sleeves and work across the aisle with the goal of passing a comprehensive bond."