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Amid crippling drought, California lawmakers pass $7.5 billion water plan; now heads to voters

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    Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, left, meets with Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, during the Senate session, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Sacramento, Calif. Lawmakers are scheduled to vote Wednesday on a measure that would swap out an existing water bond on the November ballot and authorize billions in borrowing to pay for new reservoirs, groundwater cleanup and habitat restoration. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) (The Associated Press)

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    State Senator Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, wears a badge relating to the importance of water to his district, during the Senate session, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Sacramento, Calif. Lawmakers are scheduled to vote Wednesday on a measure that would swap out an existing water bond on the November ballot and authorize billions in borrowing to pay for new reservoirs, groundwater cleanup and habitat restoration.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) (The Associated Press)

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    State Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, left, talks with Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, during before the Senate begins debate on a water bond proposal, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Sacramento, Calif. Lawmakers are scheduled to vote Wednesday on a measure that would swap out an existing water bond on the November ballot and authorize billions in borrowing to pay for new reservoirs, groundwater cleanup and habitat restoration. GOP Leaders and some Central Valley Democrats want an additional $500 million to provide the money they say is necessary for a reservoir in Colusa County and another in the Sierra Nevada northeast of Fresno. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) (The Associated Press)

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    Sen. Kevin de Leon,D-Los Angeles, takes a moment to put on his tie as he talks with Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, at the Capitol, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Sacramento, Calif. Lawmakers are scheduled to vote Wednesday on a measure that would swap out an existing water bond on the November ballot and authorize billions in borrowing to pay for new reservoirs, groundwater cleanup and habitat restoration. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) (The Associated Press)

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    State Sen. William Monning, D-Carmel, gives Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, left, a thumbs up to show his support for a proposed water bond measure at the Capitol, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, in Sacramento, Calif. Lawmakers are scheduled to vote Wednesday on a measure that would swap out an existing water bond on the November ballot and authorize billions in borrowing to pay for new reservoirs, groundwater cleanup and habitat restoration. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) (The Associated Press)

California lawmakers on Wednesday voted to place a $7.5 billion water plan before voters in November, marking the largest water investment in decades for a state struggling with a historic drought.

The plan is designed to build reservoirs, clean up contaminated groundwater and promote water-treatment technologies, including desalination.

After weeks of difficult negotiations, the ballot measure sailed through both houses of the Legislature: 77-1 in the Assembly and 37-0 in the Senate.

The measure replaces an existing water bond that was approved by a previous Legislature but was widely considered too costly and too bloated with pork-barrel projects to win favor with voters.

The evening legislative votes came after Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers from both parties were finally able to clear their main hurdle, a disagreement about how much money should be spent on new reservoirs and other storage projects.