In California, 41 counties are presently under a drought state of emergency, representing 30 percent of the state’s population.
On May 10, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom 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,” he added.
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 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, Newsom significantly expanded his April 21 drought emergency proclamation to include Klamath River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Tulare Lake Watershed counties.
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:
- $500 million for multi-benefit land repurposing to provide long-term, flexible support for water users;
- $200 million for habitat restoration to support tidal wetland, floodplain, and multi-benefit flood-risk reduction projects;
- $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;
- $230 million for wildlife corridor and fish passage projects to improve the ability of wildlife to migrate safely;
- $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 restore California’s diverse ecosystems; and
- $27 million for emergency and permanent solutions to drinking water drought emergencies.