Governor Brown and Legislative Leaders Announce $1 Billion Emergency Drought Package

Citing the devastating effects of the drought on local communities, Gov. Jerry Brown with Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), Republican Leaders Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) and Assembly Member Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) announced a two-bill package that will expedite $1 billion in funding to be used for drought relief and to improve the state’s resiliency to “extreme weather events.”

According to the Governor’s Office, the legislative package would accelerate $128 million in expenditures from the governor’s proposed budget to provide direct assistance to workers and communities most impacted by the drought and to implement the California Water Action Plan. It also would appropriate $272 million in Proposition 1 funding for safe drinking water and water recycling and accelerate $660 million for Proposition 1E, a 2006 bond earmarked for flood protection.

“There is no greater crisis in our state today than its lack of water,” de León said at a press conference announcing the bills.

He said that the legislative package would include one appropriations bill and one policy bill and also would create a “first-ever office” to assist communities hit hardest by the drought. He expressed his commitment to ensuring continued assistance, calling today’s actions a “down payment” and saying he expects the Legislature “will approve additional funds later in the budget cycle.”

Atkins also expressed her commitment to ensuring that the state meets emergency needs but also plans for long term-solutions. “The drought isn’t letting up, so we can’t let up either,” she said.

Senate Republican Leader Huff and Minority Leader Olsen expressed support for the bills.

“Historic problems require historic solutions,” Huff said of the plan, while also calling for more “personal responsibility” and continued water conservation.

Brown was pressed by reporters regarding the state’s drought response and in particular Tuesday’s actions by the State Water Resources Control Board to extend and expand emergency water use regulations.

Although he said there would be “more orders to come,” Brown was careful to note that he did not want to “second guess” the State Board’s actions. Brown also told reporters he shared the “sense of urgency” being expressed and would “up the pressure” at the appropriate time.

“It’s time for California to pull together and it’s going to be more difficult,” Brown said.

The governor’s press release on the drought relief package is available at

ACWA’s press release commenting on the drought relief package is available here.

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