California Gov: We’ll be paying more for water, but we’ll be giving it to everyone.
The Assembly approved Assembly Bill 1521 by a vote of 33-2 Tuesday, making the first bill of its kind in California history.
It would create a state program that would provide more than half of the state’s water for drought-stricken Central Valley communities.
The legislation was championed by the state agriculture secretary and was supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the California Sierra Club, and the Sierra Club of Southern California.
It is a victory for the farmers and ranchers who have been fighting the drought, the agricultural groups that fought for this legislation, and for the public at large who has been saying, ‘We can’t afford to live in drought, and you can’t just keep going on this way,'” Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier, D-Huntington Beach, told reporters.
The bill would provide about $1.4 billion over 10 years to water-strapped Central Valley farmers and businesses and will provide $1 billion annually in funding for the state Water Conservation Fund, said DeSauro.
The Water Conservation Board will be responsible for providing water-intensive water supplies to the Valley, he said.
It’s also an important first step in addressing the problem of water scarcity in Central Valley and other California communities, said Assemblyman Bill Monning, D (Santa Cruz).
The bill is not a silver bullet to solve the problem, but it is an important step to give farmers and their families the opportunity to buy back water, he told reporters outside the Assembly chamber.”
This is a major step forward in water supply and conservation and it’s a step in the right direction,” he said in a statement.
The bills also include a new law that will provide water-restricted communities with about 10 percent of the California State Water Resources Control Board’s annual budget.
The new legislation will allow the Water Conservation Commission to set its own funding priorities for the region, said Bill Brown, director of water policy for the California Department of Water Resources.
The commission would also be responsible to set water-use policies and enforce those policies, Brown said.
In other news, The Associated Press reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U,S.
Environmental Protection Agency have jointly issued an urgent warning that wildfires are spreading rapidly in the southern U.K., including England.
The warning, which is the most severe since World War II, is a sign that the fires are now threatening homes and businesses, with the potential for a devastating firestorm, the AP reported.