California Proposition 3, Water Infrastructure and Watershed Conservation Bond Initiative (2018)

California Proposition 3, the California Water Infrastructure and Watershed Conservation Bond Initiative, is on the ballot in California as an initiated state statute on November 6, 2018.


How would the $8.877 billion bond measure be spent?

Proposition 3 would issue $8.877 billion in general obligation bonds for water-related infrastructure and environmental projects. The state fiscal analyst said the bond would generate about $8.4 billion in interest over a 40-year period, meaning the bond would cost the state a total of $17.3 billion.

The largest amount of bond revenue—$2.355 billion—would go toward conservancies and state parks to restore and protect watershed lands and nonprofits and local agencies for river parkways. The measure would also allocate $640 million to groundwater sustainability agencies to implement their plans and $500 million for public water system infrastructure improvements to meet safe drinking water standards, including the treatment of contaminants, or ensure affordable drinking water. The ballot initiative would require that $1.398 billion be spent on projects benefitting what the state defines as disadvantaged communities and an additional $2.637 billion be prioritized for disadvantaged communities. California defines disadvantaged communities as communities with an annual median household income less than 80 percent of the statewide annual median household income. With a median household income of $63,783 in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Burea, 80 percent was $51,026. The measure would distribute bond revenue as follows:

Ballot Title

The official ballot title is as follows:

“Authorizes Bonds to Fund Projects for Water Supply and Quality, Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Water Conveyance, and Groundwater Sustainability and Storage. Initiative Statute.”

Text of the measure

Ballot summary

The official ballot summary is as follows:

  • Authorizes $8.877 billion in state general obligation bonds for various infrastructure projects: $3.03 billion for safe drinking water and water quality, $2.895 billion for watershed and fisheries improvements, $940 million for habitat protection, $855 million for improved water conveyance, $685 million for groundwater sustainability/ storage, and $472 million for surface water storage/dam repairs.
  • Appropriates money from General Fund to pay off bonds.
  • Requires certain projects to provide matching funds from non-state sources; gives priority to disadvantaged communities.