This week, Governor Newsom unveiled a $5.1 budget package for immediate drought response and long-term water resilience including state investment in water infrastructure. The proposal is a significant increase over an earlier released proposal presented by the Senate, which called for $3 billion in total drought-related spending.
The Governor’s proposal provides, over 4 years, the following:
- $300 million for Sustainable Groundwater Management Act implementation
- $200 million for water conveyance improvements to repair major water delivery systems damaged by subsidence.
- $500 million for multi-benefit land repurposing to provide long-term, flexible support for growers.
- $60 million for State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP)
- $1.3 billion for drinking water
- $150 million for groundwater cleanup and water recycling projects.
- $230 million for wildlife corridor and fish passage projects
- $200 million for habitat restoration
- $91 million for critical data collection to repair and augment the state’s water data infrastructure
- $33 million for fisheries and wildlife support
- $27 million for drinking water drought emergencies.
Armed with a historical budget surplus and new federal relief dollars from The American Rescue Plan, the legislature and Governor are expected to deliver a substantially larger budget than what was proposed in January. The Governor will announce his May Revision for the 2021-22 budget at the end of the week, which will include his $5.1 billion drought proposal. Over the next several weeks, the legislature and Governor will negotiate the final details of the budget, which must be approved by the legislature by June 15th and signed by the Governor within 30 days thereafter.
The agricultural industry and water districts are working together to advocate for funding to support the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. In a letter to the Governor’s office and Senate Leadership, we requested a total of $1.3 billion for SGMA, including infrastructure investment and repairs on the Friant-Kern Canal and the CA Aqueduct.
We are encouraged the Governor’s proposal allocates funding for these critical projects and will continue to work with our partners to advocate for this funding in the final budget.
The Governor this week also significantly expanded his April 21 drought proclamation to include 41 counties in the Klamath River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the Tulare Lake Watershed regions.