California lawmakers have voted to delay putting an $11.1 billion water bond to voters, extending a battle to rework the biggest effort in decades to upgrade the state's water system.
The legislators also agreed to lengthen the terms of California's nine water commissioners appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a change that some critics of the governor say could give him influence over the direction of the state's water projects after leaving office in January. The commissioners' terms would have ended at a various times over the next few years; they will now all hold their positions until May 2014.
The postponement—approved by narrow majorities in both statehouse chambers late Monday—is part of a broader struggle to improve California's ailing water system. The Golden State's frequent droughts and growing population place special demands on an aging water system, which itself causes major environmental damage.