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Flood & Drought. $5.1 Billion slotted for California's water infrastructure.

Anderson Reservoir 1989

We’ve been seeing more recent articles regarding California’s recent, existing water condition, “severe drought.” Those paying attention to the meteorological data knew this was a developing reality while the hope for a possible last, large, water producing weather pattern has evaporated.

We Californians who have been here a while know the sting of drought. Increased water utility prices, rationing, severe overuse penalties and even humorous slogans to inspire conservation - “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If It’s brown, flush it down". We’ve adapted to drought resistant landscaping, incorporated more efficient drip watering systems. We’ve installed low flow toilets, faucets, shower heads, rain catch barrels, fixed leaks and even kept catch buckets near faucets to store water before it becomes hot. We’ve adapted our behavior.

At the state level, water infrastructure has been slow to adapt. Many recovery, storage and distribution systems are in need of repair and upgrade. Further, new infrastructure has been mostly nonexistent to meet the demands of population increase, agricultural, ranching, and conservation demands. Fortunately and hopefully, the latest news from the governors office will help transform California’s water infrastructure.


Published: May 10, 2021

Governor Newsom Announces $5.1 Billion Package for Water Infrastructure and Drought Response as Part of $100 Billion California Comeback Plan

“Package includes billions for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, with a focus on small and disadvantaged communities

Part of the Governor’s $100 billion California Comeback Plan, a comprehensive recovery plan to tackle five of the state’s most persistent challenges

MERCED COUNTY – Governor Gavin Newsom today proposed a $5.1 billion package of immediate drought response and long-term water resilience investments to address immediate, emergency needs, build regional capacity to endure drought and safeguard water supplies for communities, the economy and the environment. The Governor’s proposal comes as part of a week-long tour highlighting the Administration’s comprehensive recovery plan tackling the most persistent challenges facing California.

“Shoring up our water resilience, especially in small and disadvantaged communities, is imperative to safeguarding the future of our state in the face of devastating climate change impacts that are intensifying drought conditions and threatening our communities, the economy and the environment,” said Governor Newsom. “This package of bold investments will equip the state with the tools we need to tackle the drought emergency head-on while addressing long-standing water challenges and helping to secure vital and limited water supplies to sustain our state into the future.”

In addition to the $5.1 billion investment, the Governor is proposing $1 billion to help Californians pay their overdue water bills.

The Governor announced the package today in Merced County while visiting the San Luis Reservoir, which sits at less than half of capacity and just 57 percent of average for this date. Earlier in the day, Governor Newsom significantly expanded his April 21 drought emergency proclamation to include Klamath River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Tulare Lake Watershed counties. In total, 41 counties are now under a drought state of emergency, representing 30 percent of the state’s population.

Governor Newsom announces $5.1 billion drought and water infrastructure package at San Luis Reservoir.

The Governor’s $5.1 billion proposed investment, over four years, aligns with his July 2020 Water Resilience Portfolio, a roadmap to water security for all Californians in the face of climate change. It is shaped by lessons learned during the 2012-16 drought, such as the need to act early and gather better data about water systems. The package includes:

• $1.3 billion for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, with a focus on small and disadvantaged communities.

• $150 million for groundwater cleanup and water recycling projects.

• $300 million for Sustainable Groundwater Management Act implementation to improve water supply security, water quality and water reliability.

• $200 million for water conveyance improvements to repair major water delivery systems damaged by subsidence.

• $500 million for multi-benefit land repurposing to provide long-term, flexible support for water users.

• $230 million for wildlife corridor and fish passage projects to improve the ability of wildlife to migrate safely.

• $200 million for habitat restoration to support tidal wetland, floodplain, and multi-benefit flood-risk reduction projects.

• $91 million for critical data collection to repair and augment the state’s water data infrastructure to improve forecasting, monitoring, and assessment of hydrologic conditions.

• $60 million for State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program grants to help farmers reduce irrigation water use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural pumping.

• $33 million for fisheries and wildlife support to protect and conserve California’s diverse ecosystems.

• $27 million for emergency and permanent solutions to drinking water drought emergencies.


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