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article imageCalifornia Governor Jerry Brown announces drought relieve package

By Paul Bright     Feb 19, 2014 in Environment
California Governor Jerry Brown announced the state's proposition to aid drought victims via a proposal worth nearly $700 million.
California Governor Jerry Brown announced a drought proposal act designed to help relieve financial damage due to one of the worst droughts in the state’s recent history. The aid package totals $687.4 million to help get California through the current and future crises.
In the announcement, Governor Brown said "The state is doing its part by providing immediate funding for drinking, water, food, housing and assistance for water-conserving technologies." Some elements include offering relief to out-of-work farmers that have no crops to harvest due to the extreme drought.
A majority of the funds would come through water bonds approved by the voters as well as pollution fees. Even though some drought relief funded by the aid package could take place immediately, such as recycling storm water, other elements wouldn’t begin for another two years.
Some legislators are hopeful about the proposal but still see it as not enough to give the help that’s truly needed. More must be done to respond to the many pleas from the families, farmers and small business owners who are bearing the brunt of the extreme drought conditions plaguing our state, said Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway.The California drought, which began three years ago, is showing significant damage across the entire state. 14 of Southern California’s major reservoirs are at record lows.
In an average year, Los Angeles County redistributes more than 75,000 foot acres of storm water. In the last 5 months, they have only spread out 6,900.
Last month, Northern California finally received measurable precipitation- about 2 inches of rain. Yet it still fell short of normal levels. San Francisco International typically receives 11 inches in January, while the Santa Rosa Airport gets almost 21 inches. Even the early February storms-which dumped as much as 11 inches of rain in Northern California- did little to relieve the overall drought damage.
Yet California legislators remain hopeful about the aid package, should it be approved, cautioning that all existing environmental protection guidelines would remain in place. "We're not waiving our environmental laws or hiking fees and taxes. We're saving time and we're saving water," Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said.
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