Date of Graduation

Spring 5-19-2017

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Public Affairs (MoPA)

College/School

College of Arts and Sciences

Department/Program

Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good

First Advisor

Timothy Redmond

Second Advisor

Brian Weiner

Abstract

This paper looks at how the state of California maintains an aging water system – the California State Water Project (SWP) – that will threaten California’s water supply if further maintained, and concludes that the system faces three major problems that are of concern in 2017 – aging pipes, health hazards, and environmental threats. What needs to be done in order to address these issues is to invest in a new and improved SWP that will save water, protect the water supply from contamination of hazardous particles, and replenish the ecosystems within piping range that it has depleted. To do this, I propose to launch the Eliminate California’s Aging Water System campaign that will expose each of these problems to the public, and work towards garnering support from water customers, voters, state and federal officials, local water agencies, environmental groups, farmers, and labor unions to want to help pay for the a new SWP that will be modernized, reliable, and sustainable. The campaign will also advocate for a general obligation bond measure to be placed onto the statewide ballot in 2020, which will go towards funding a portion of the project. It is important to motivate civic engagement in a country that lacks an informed population of the problems in which the state’s infrastructure faces today – with its outdated systems, as well as the risks to the public’s health, and the endangerment of species. That is why the campaign will conduct widespread outreach to inform Californian residents about how they can contribute their time and money to a project that will protect their health, and prevent a major failure and contamination of the water system over the next 100 years, which could leave millions without clean water for an extended period of time.

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