In a sign that the Legislature can move quickly when it wants to, last week a $1 Billion “Emergency Drought Package,” was proposed, passed, and signed into law by the Governor.

The legislation includes more than $1 billion for local drought relief and infrastructure projects to make the state’s water infrastructure more resilient to extreme weather events.

The law includes $267 million for water development, including recycling, desalination and drinking water; $131 million for direct drought response, including food assistance, emergency drinking water, protection of fish and wildlife, invasive species protection, and emergency water supply and education; $660 million for urban/rural flood protection, mainly in the Central Valley. The funding comes from the Proposition 1e water bond approved by voters in 2006 that must be spent before 2016.

We praise the Governor and Legislative leaders for acknowledging the problem that we have been concerned about for years.  For more than a decade we have been speaking with policymakers about the need to address the lack of new storage and conveyance in a generation, and complicated environmental laws that make even the smallest infrastructure extremely difficult and expensive to undertake.

Click here to read the Governor’s press release.

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