March 1, 2014
SACRAMENTO – As California grapples with the driest period in its history, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed legislation to assist drought-affected communities and provide funding to better use local water supplies.
“Legislators across the aisle have now voted to help hard-pressed communities that face water shortages,” said Governor Brown. “This legislation marks a crucial step – but Californians must continue to take every action possible to conserve water.”
The legislation had broad, bipartisan support. SB 103 passed 34-2 in the Senate and 64-3 in the Assembly. SB 104 passed 33-3 in the Senate and 68-1 in the Assembly. The bills provide $687.4 million to support drought relief, including money for housing and food for workers directly impacted by the drought, bond funds for projects to help local communities more efficiently capture and manage water and funding for securing emergency drinking water supplies for drought-impacted communities.
In addition, the legislation increases funding for state and local conservation corps to assist communities with efficiency upgrades and reduce fire fuels in fire risk areas, and includes $1 million for the Save Our Water public awareness campaign – which will enhance its mission to inform Californians how they can do their part to conserve water.
“Like the rain this weekend, this package is badly needed to help mitigate the effects of the historic drought California is facing. But also like the rain, we need to see more,” said Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez. “That’s why every Californian needs to continue to conserve water, and there’s more work to do on storage, water quality improvement and environmental protections. If we don’t act now, the problems we face will only get worse.”