State bill will provide $700 million for drought relief

Emergency legislation includes funds for food, housng

Gov. Jerry Brown and state Democratic leaders announced Wednesday emergency legislation providing $687.4 million in funding to support drought relief projects.

The legislation includes funds for housing and food for workers

directly affected by the drought, local projects that will help communities

capture and manage water more efficiently, and emergency water supplies for

communities hit hard by the drought, according to state officials.

It also includes increased funding for state and local

conservation corps to help communities with efficiency upgrades and fire fuel

reduction, as well as $1 million for a public awareness campaign urging

California residents to conserve water.

"This is a call to action," Brown said today in announcing the

legislation. "We must all do our part to conserve in this drought."

Many projects targeted in the legislation are those already in

progress that lacked funding or that were planned for a later date but will

now be moved up, officials said.

"We don't have to ignore environmental protections, raise fees or

get bogged down in political arguments over projects that will take many

years to produce a single drop of water," said Sen. Darrell Steinberg today.

"It's time we focus on what we can do right now."

The bill also calls for the state Department of Public Health to

adopt new groundwater replenishment regulations by July 1, and to work with

the state Water Resource Control Board on measures to allow for the use of

recycled water and storm water. In addition, it streamlines enforcement of

water rights and increases penalties for illegally diverting water during

drought conditions, officials said.

The proposal drew praise from some Bay Area officials.

"This legislation will allow agencies like ours across California

to quickly expand programs that reduce water use," said David Rabbit, a

Sonoma County supervisor and director for the Sonoma County Water Agency.

"Early actions now are critically important for the 'angry summer' that may

await us."

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said the San Francisco Public Utilities

Commission would actively pursue funding for "shovel ready" water

conservation and supply projects.

"I applaud Governor Brown and our legislative leaders for this

proactive measure and their continued support during these critically dry

times," Lee said.

Republican leaders were not present at today's news conference

with Brown.

Republicans in January put forward a $9.2 billion water bond for

the November ballot that they said would provide $3 billion for water

storage, $2.5 billion to protect the Delta water supply and $1 billion for

clean drinking water. The proposal has drawn fire from Democrats and

environmental groups, however, because it includes new dams on some rivers.

Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, said today that

the state needs a plan that includes increased water storage.

"The governor wants to spent $688 million but his only solution

moving forward is to urge more conservation and that won't put people back to

work," Huff said in response to the legislation announced today.

Brown announced a drought state of emergency in California in

January and the California Department of Water Resources announced on Jan. 31

that it would not be making deliveries to customers this year.

Sara Gaiser, Bay City News

— Bay City News Service


Like this comment
Posted by Dude
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Feb 20, 2014 at 11:48 am

More wasted money. This money will be funneled to specific people/organizations/unions in return for all their support to Brown and the Democrat Party. It is just another crisis to take advantage of. This does nothing to ensure California has an adequate water supply?

Like this comment
Posted by Nucklehead Moonbeam
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 20, 2014 at 11:49 am

Gov. Moonbeam and the Democrats in the Legislature's answer to any problem is throwing taxpayer money at it. Californian's don't need their tax dollars being squandered, they need water. So Moonbeam need to focus on real solutions that will help California's water shortage. Things that should be looked at is more water storage capability, curtailing fresh water from flowing to the ocean, curtail growing water-intensive crops like rice, better water usage practices by farmers, curtailing California's population growth, and curtailing development in deserts (i.e. most of Southern California). If Southern California wants to keep growing their population, they should be forced to do it through water derived from desalinization of ocean water using solely renewable energy. And, places like Palm Springs, whose water use per capita is nothing short of outrageous, should have their water rights seized by eminent domain.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 20, 2014 at 11:54 am

I wonder why so many Plutonians hate Governor Brown?

Not everybody gets to be elected by the voters 3 times to head the great State of California.

I think that that's interesting and it sends the message that members of other political parties can show up at the polls and vote for the candidate of their choice.

What's the problem voters? hmmmmmmmmm...tee hee hee...

Like this comment
Posted by Vineyards
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2014 at 9:09 am

Farmers need to switch from flood irrigation to Drip. The way Vineyard owners have done from overhead spray to drip.

The new drought aid package — unveiled by Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez — does call for transferring $10 million from carbon cap-and-trade funds to invest in more efficient agricultural irrigation and pumping systems.

Of the $687 million, the vast majority — $549 million from water and flood-prevention bonds that voters authorized in 2006 — would speed up local and regional projects already in the pipeline to capture stormwater, expand water recycling, store more groundwater and strengthen conservation programs

Read more here: Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 21, 2014 at 9:22 am

Without regard for anything that the state does the city of Pleasanton MUST stop watering that stupid golf course! They need to scrap any plans to plant things at the pioneer cemetery as well and stop overwatering all of the parks. This city is the most wasteful of any that I have ever seen short of those in the LA area. Now the people in LA could show all of us how to waste water. They get it from us for free and spill it all over the concrete.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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