Governor Gavin Newsom spoke to farmers all across the state with current and future plans to address the ongoing drought in California at Lake Oroville this week. He touted $5 billion in investments already committed to support drought response now and build water resilience for the future, and $22.5 million in additional funding for drought response, including $8.25 million to increase water conservation outreach and education.
“With the climate crisis threatening communities across the West, we must double down on our work to build water resilience in our communities for the long haul,” said Governor Newsom. “All of us must do our part to tackle the intensifying drought conditions felt across the state. We’re investing critical resources to battle the drought’s impacts on our communities and ecosystems and finding innovative solutions to deal with these new realities.”
The Governor is proposing $2 billion to spur clean energy projects across the state and bolster grid reliability. The budget includes funding to secure and expand water supplies; bolster drought contingency planning and multi-benefit land repurposing projects; support drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, with a focus on small and disadvantaged communities; advance Sustainable Groundwater Management Act implementation to improve water supply security and quality; and support wildlife and habitat restoration efforts, among other nature-based solutions.
“As this drought persists into a third year, we are experiencing drier and hotter weather than ever before,” said California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot. “These conditions diminish our water supplies but also threaten energy reliability. We are adapting to these unprecedented conditions and working to find flexibilities where possible to safeguard both water supplies and grid reliability.”
Newsom, through an executive order last month, called on local water suppliers to move to, at a minimum, Level Two of their Water Shortage Contingency Plans, which require locally-appropriate actions that will conserve water across all sectors. The Executive Order also directed the State Water Resources Control Board to consider a ban on the watering of decorative grass at businesses and institutions.