April 25, 2018 / 9:29 PM / in 10 months

California voters to decide on $8.9 billion water bonds in November

NEW YORK (Reuters) - California voters will get to decide in a statewide November ballot whether their state should borrow $8.9 billion for water projects, Secretary of State Alex Padilla said on Wednesday.

If approved, the state would issue bonds to pay for $3 billion of drinking water projects, $2.9 billion of watershed and fisheries improvements and $940 million of habitat protection, with the rest going for groundwater storage, dam repairs and other water infrastructure.

Interests payments of $8.4 billion over 40 years would add to the total costs, with annual principal and interest costs averaging about $433 million, Padilla’s office said in a statement.

The initiative needed enough petition signatures - 365,880, or equal to 5 percent of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election - to be eligible for the ballot.

The measure would come in addition to a $4 billion bond measure for parks and water projects already planned for a June ballot, according to local news reports.

Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Tom Brown

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