As California suffers from a record drought, Governor Jerry Brown will join Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and administration officials today in Mather to announce emergency drought legislation.
The announcement will take place today, on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Operations Center, 3650 Schriever Avenue, Mather, CA 95655. This event is open to credentialed media only.
A press release from the Governor's Office didn't mention any of the specifics of the legislation, but focused on drought actions taken so far by the administration, including water use reductions at state facilities, conservation of water in northern California reservoirs, fishing restrictions on some rivers, due to low flows and the seeking of authority to make water exchanges to "those who need it the most."
The document also didn't mention Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels, although it cite the California Water Action Plan. Nor did it mention Brown's support for the expansion of water-intensive fracking in California by signing Senate Bill 4, the green light for fracking bill, in September.
The press release did note that "Governor Brown and the administration have also expressed support for federal legislation introduced by Senators Feinstein and Boxer and Representatives Jim Costa, Tony Cárdenas and Sam Farr."
According to the press release, "With California facing one of the most severe droughts on record, Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency last month and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages Governor Brown met with President Obama about crucial federal support during the ongoing drought last week, and the state continues to work with federal partners to ensure a coordinateddrought response. Governor Brown and the administration have also expressed support for federal legislation introduced by Senators Feinstein and Boxer and Representatives Jim Costa, Tony Cárdenas and Sam Farr.
Across state government, action is being taken. The Department of General Services is leading water conservation efforts at state facilities, and the Department of Transportation is cutting water usage along California’s roadways by 50 percent. Caltrans has also launched a public awareness campaign, putting a water conservation message on their more than 700 electronic highway signs.
In January, the state took action to conserve water in numerous Northern California reservoirs to meet minimum needs for operations impacting the environment and the economy, and recently the Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced they would seek the authority to make water exchanges to deliver water to those who need it most. The State Water Resources Control Board announced it would work with hydropower generators and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to preserve water in California reservoirs. Recently the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Fish and Game Commission restricted fishing on some waterways due to low water flows worsened by the drought.
The state is working to protect local communities from the dangers of extreme drought. The California Department of Public Health identified and offered assistance to communities at risk of severe drinking water shortages and is working with other state and local agencies to develop solutions for vulnerable communities. CAL FIRE hired additional firefighters and is continuously adjusting staffing throughout the state to help address the increased fire threat due to drought conditions. The California Department of Food and Agriculture launched a drought website to help farmers, ranchers and farmworkers find resources and assistance programs that may be available to them during the drought.
Even as the state deals with the immediate impacts of the drought, it’s also planning for the future. Recently, the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and CDFA released the California Water Action Plan, which will guide state efforts to enhance water supply reliability, restore damaged and destroyed ecosystems and improve the resilience of our infrastructure.
Governor Brown has called on all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20 percent, and the Save Our Water campaign launched four public service announcements encouraging residents to conserve and has resources available in Spanish. Last December, the Governor formed a Drought Task Force to review expected water allocations and California’s preparedness for water scarcity. In May 2013, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water."
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