$9 billion California water bond trailing in early returns

LOS ANGELES — Californians were leaning against borrowing $9 billion for water projects Tuesday in a state where water scarcity often pits city dwellers, farmers, anglers and environmentalists against one another.
About 53 percent of voters opposed Proposition 3 with about 3.6 million votes counted.
The bond measure devoted money to storage and dam repairs, watershed and fisheries improvements, and habitat protection and restoration.
Together, they had contributed more than $5 million to the campaign by mid-October.
Sierra Club California and the League of Women Voters of California were among opponents who said the measure benefited special interests while siphoning money from other programs.
No significant money was spent by the opposition.
Proposition 3 was the largest water bond proposal since California’s nonpartisan legislative analyst began keeping track in 1970.
Local governments were projected to save about $200 million annually for water-related projects, with some matching funds required and preference given to disadvantaged communities.
Voters previously approved nearly $35 billion in bonds since 1970 for water and environmental projects, including $4 billion from a ballot measure passed in June.
About a third of all funding remains unspent.

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