Coalition of water agencies launches television ad campaign |

Coalition of water agencies launches television ad campaign

SACRAMENTO (AP) – A coalition of water districts began a statewide television campaign Monday intended to persuade Californians that their water supply is in crisis.

The campaign by the Association of California Water Agencies is estimated to cost between $7 million and $9 million and will include radio and television commercials in the state’s major media markets, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego and the Central Valley.

The group supports the concept of building more dams and its campaign comes as the Legislature meets in a special session to consider a wide-ranging water policy for the state. Officials with the association said the timing of their campaign is just a coincidence.

“Educating the public about the crisis in our water system is a top priority for water agencies,” Timothy Quinn, executive director of the association, said in a statement.

Legislative leaders and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger are expected to meet over the next several weeks to discuss what is expected to be a multibillion water plan that could include new dams, canals and underground storage.

Low snowfall in the Sierra this year, thinner snowpacks predicted in the future because of global warming and a federal judge’s order to drastically reduce water deliveries from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have added an element of urgency to the debate.

Schwarzenegger and Sen. President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, have offered competing bond proposals that would fund dams in very different ways. Schwarzenegger wants to set aside money exclusively for two state dams, while Perata wants to give communities the option to build dams if they can find local funding.

The association’s 30-second commercial refers to insufficient water storage as one of the state’s problems. The campaign also is to include radio and newspaper ads, spokeswoman Jennifer Persike said.

The association represents nearly all the state’s water agencies, including the Metropolitan Water District in Los Angeles, the East Bay Municipal Utility District in the San Francisco Bay area and the San Diego County Water Authority.

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