Plans for California drought run to $687 million
California Gov. Jerry Brown and the top Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday announced a $687 million plan to provide immediate help to drought-stricken communities throughout California, including $15 million for those with dangerously low drinking water supplies.
California Gov. Jerry Brown, left, responds to a question concerning aid to drought-stricken communities after touring the California Emergency Services State Operations Center in Mather, Calif., Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. Brown, accompanied by Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, right, toured the facility then announced a $687 million plan to provide immediate help to those affected by the drought throughout California.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Jerry Brown and the top Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday announced a $687 million plan to provide immediate help to drought-stricken communities throughout California, including $15 million for those with dangerously low drinking water supplies.
The proposal comes amid one of the driest periods in the history of the nation's most populous state, forcing farmers to fallow fields and some communities to warn of low water supplies.
"This is a call to action. We must all do our part to conserve in this drought," Brown said during a news conference at a state office near Sacramento.
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The Democratic plan, which now goes to the Legislature, does not address long-term improvements to California's water supply and distribution system. Rather, it provides money for immediate aid.
Most of the money — $549 million — will come in the form of accelerated spending from two bonds approved previously by voters. It will go toward local water conservation and recycling efforts, such as systems to capture stormwater and recharge groundwater supplies.
The general fund, the state's main checkbook, also will be tapped. In addition to the money for emergency water supplies, $25.3 million from the general fund will provide food assistance in communities affected by the drought.
That would include areas of the Central Valley, among the nation's most productive farming regions, that are suffering from high unemployment as agriculture-related jobs disappear.
The proposal also directs the State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Public Health to boost water supplies by allowing for the use of recycled water and stormwater. Increased penalties for illegally diverting water also are part of the proposal.
Republican lawmakers, who were not included in the plan, said more must be done to address the state's long-term water needs. They and many farmers have been advocating for more reservoirs to store water.
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"While short-term help is needed, Sacramento must also focus on a long-term water solution," two Republicans, Frank Bigelow and Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway, said in a statement.
They said Republicans would propose legislation on Thursday to "secure California's water future."
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If California and the rest of the western states want to have an unlimited source of water, they need to invest in desalination treatment plants. This would be a major investment which the states and the federal government need to participate. Not only would this provide a limitless amount of water, but it would create hundreds of thousand of jobs - temporary construction jobs and permanent plant operations personnel.
San Diego has one of the largest desalination plants in the US. It produces 200,000,000 million gallons of drinking water each day. Especially the large cities and states that border on the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico should look to the open water to meet their water needs.
This could be similar to building the Hoover Dam and the CCC's from the 30's. These had immense consequences for the US going forward. Desalination treatment and production of water would get the country moving and with needed infrastructure. Oil is nothing compared to water.....
Well, God dose not discriminate since liberal California and conservative Texas have the same problems and manage it about the same way. It seems we even imported earthquakes from California approx 30 in the last two months in some areas of north Texas. Mostly from fracking and now our communities are starting to cry foul and want to stop it.
We are restricted from watering our lawns only once every two weeks and must be on a certain day. A ticket for watering the wrong day costs $190, and yes they have night patrols with cameras and it is vigorously enforced.
We are now building a large new pipeline from a reservoir located in both Texas and Oklahoma. However, we have a problem; the reservoir has a Zebra Mussel infestation that clogs pipes. Of course, the communities up north do not want their water to go south the same as California. If this continues, I will sell out and move before my property becomes worthless.
California must soon go the way Israel has, using multiple salt filter plants to provide water to it's masses and growers or the state will go the way of the dodo bird.
Yeah, many of you west coasters have been giving us rust belters the stink-eye for years.
Got water? We sure do. It's called the Great Lakes.
How do you like us now?