- Feb 7:
- California Drought: Desperately needed rain, courtesy of "Pineapple Express" slamming into California
- Feb 6:
- Drought doesn't mean doom for your plants
- Rain soaks Bay Area, another storm coming
- California drought: Big rain headed toward Bay Area could double dismal rainfall totals
- Feb 5:
- California drought: House water bill exposes deep partisan divide
- Feb 4:
- Gov. Jerry Brown calls congressional Republican drought bill 'divisive'
- Roadshow: Caltrans watering less as drought continues
- Feb 3:
- North Bay homeowners slash water usage through creative conservation
- California drought: Biggest rainfall of 2014 soaks Bay Area
- Jan 31:
- California drought: State Water Project will deliver no water this summer
- Gov. Brown says flush less as California struggles with drought
- Drought shakes off winter for perilous early spring
- Jan 30:
- Obama pledges support amid California drought
- California wine industry reports robust 2013, but worries loom about drought
- Jan 29:
- Bay Area wakes up to drizzle as light rain appears for first time in more than a month
- Jan 28:
- California drought: 17 communities could run out of water within 60 to 120 days, state says
- Jan 27:
- Water oak trees if needed, but not too much
- Rain expected this week won't put dent in the drought, forecasters say
- Gold prospectors take advantage of California drought
- California drought: Bay Area water districts start asking urban residents to conserve
- Jan 26:
- After decades of payments, EBMUD may finally use its emergency water supply
- Jan 25:
- California drought: Past dry periods have lasted more than 200 years, scientists say
- Jan 22:
- Drought: California is a red state, if you're talking weather
- Jan 21:
- California drought: Tips for conserving water
- Jan 20:
- George Skelton: Drought offers an opportunity to consider California water policy
- Jan 18:
- Snow makers rescue big Sierra resorts as drought bakes smaller ones
- Jan 17:
- Gov. Jerry Brown declares drought: Social media reaction
- Document: Gov. Jerry Brown's declaration of drought emergency
- Brown declares California drought emergency
- California drought: Three more months of dry weather likely, National Weather Service announces
- Jan 16:
- Drought declared a natural disaster in California, 10 other states
- Jan 14:
- Drought imperils California salmon, steelhead
- California drought: What's causing it?
- Jan 8:
- Timm Herdt: Learning to adapt to droughts
- Jan 3:
- Barnidge: California droughts aren't nearly as scary as they used to be
- Dec 29:
- California drought deepens as another year's rains stay away
SACRAMENTO -- Despite record dry weather, it's looking increasingly unlikely that a multibillion-dollar water bond to pay for dams, conservation and parts of Gov. Jerry Brown's $25 billion plan to build two huge tunnels through the Delta will be placed on the November ballot.
Water agencies around the state have assumed that some kind of measure would go to voters to provide a new river of cash for water projects. But Sacramento political leaders and insiders say Brown, widely expected to seek re-election this year, hasn't committed and has worries it could hurt him politically, particularly as polls have shown shaky support for it.
Asked Thursday if he wants a water bond this year, Brown said, "The world is changing with these serious drought conditions, but I think I'll withhold judgment on that."
In 2009, lawmakers approved placing an $11.1 billion water bond on the ballot but then pulled it in 2010 and 2012 after polls showed voters would reject it because of its high cost and criticism that it was full of pork-barrel projects. Two smaller measures, both about $6.5 billion, are pending in the Legislature but require a two-thirds vote. A September poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found a bare majority, 50 percent, of likely voters supporting a bond that size.
"There's not going to be a water bond this year. No way," said one legislative staff member working on the issue who requested anonymity. "Brown's presenting himself to voters as the guy who just paid down California's debt. Putting more debt on the ballot when he's up for re-election would be a mixed message."
Some environmental groups say they will oppose any bond that includes funds for the Delta tunnels project, which would make it easier to move water south.
"I've heard rumblings that the governor doesn't want to deal with a water bond this year and he's been communicating that to Democratic leaders," said Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Brea. "However, I think that would be a big mistake."
The head of a top state water group said he hopes dry weather might change poll numbers -- and Brown's mind.
"Let's keep this issue open and figure out where we are in late spring," said Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. "The drought looms large."
Paul Rogers covers resources and environmental issues. Contact him at 408-920-5045. Follow him at Twitter.com/PaulRogersSJMN.