Welcome to “What’s Up With Water” – your need-to-know news of the world’s water from Circle of Blue. I’m Eileen Wray-McCann.
In the United States, midterm elections were held on November 8.  Nationally, control of Congress was at stake. In state and local races, water issues were also on the ballot. Based on election night totals, voters approved most water-related initiatives.
State-level measures had mixed results:
In California, 59 percent of voters rejected Proposition 30. Had it passed, this would have established a trust fund for electric vehicle infrastructure and wildfire prevention, with the money coming from higher taxes on household incomes above $2 million a year.
Two other state initiatives were successful:
In New York, fifty-nine percent of voters approved an environmental bond of about $4 billion. Projects eligible for funding include removing old dams, buying out flood-prone properties, improving water quality, conserving land, restoring wetlands, and planting trees in cities.
And in New Mexico, 65 percent of voters authorized a constitutional amendment that will allow the use of state funds for essential household services such as water, sewage, electricity, and internet. Before the amendment takes effect, the Legislature must pass laws that define what types of projects are eligible.
There will also be changes to foundational documents on the local level:
Titusville, Florida, is a city 40 miles east of Orlando. In a landslide victory, over 82 percent of voters approved a charter amendment granting residents a right to clean water. The charter acts as the town constitution. The question was on the ballot because the local environment has been deteriorating. Titusville sits next to Indian River Lagoon, an expansive waterway fouled by toxic algae blooms that are indirectly killing manatees. The blooms prevent sunlight from nourishing the seagrass that sustain the manatees. Proponents of the amendment hope it will provide a legal tool for environmental protection.
Farther west, in southeastern Arizona, groundwater regulation appeared headed to a split decision. Voters in Willcox and Douglas basins considered whether to put new restrictions on groundwater use. Irrigation for large-scale farming in the region has caused wells to go dry and the land has compacted, in some cases cracking highways. In Willcox basin, over 61 percent of voters rejected a proposal to regulate groundwater. Voters in Douglas basin felt differently. Fifty-two percent approved added restrictions on groundwater extraction. Although campaign money was poured in from the outside, only people registered to vote within the boundaries of the groundwater basins could cast a ballot.
The final initiative took place in five Wisconsin counties. Residents in Adams, Bayfield, Green, Juneau, and Outagamie were asked to vote on a non-binding advisory measure . Should the state establish the right to clean water in its Constitution? In all five counties, voters overwhelmingly approved the measure by a margin of at least a four-to-one. The outcome continues a trend in the state toward establishing a right to clean water. Five other Wisconsin counties approved similar non-binding resolutions in earlier elections. Advocates with River Alliance of Wisconsin, the group supporting the local campaign, said that even though the “right to clean water” measure does not change the law, they hope it sends state lawmakers a message about what voters value.
And that’s “What’s Up With Water”  from Circle of Blue, where water speaks. More water news and analysis await you at This is Eileen Wray-McCann – thanks for being here.