Governor Newsom and the legislature are inching closer to reaching a deal on the details of the 2021-2022 State Budget. While the Legislature passed and sent a budget bill to Governor Newsom ahead of the June 15th deadline, much of the detail for how funds will be appropriated are still being negotiated through follow-up legislation, referred to as budget trailer bills. Last week, Governor Newsom signed a second budget bill, SB 129, that provides some detail for how the State will fund various water and drought initiatives and agricultural programs.
The Budget commits approximately $5.1 billion over four years to the state’s water resilience and drought preparedness and response including:
- $100 million for water conveyance repairs;
- $60 million for implementation of the sustainable groundwater management Act (SGMA) through groundwater projects;
- $40 million for CDFA’s State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP); and,
- $450,000 to coordinate drought response, drought management, and SGMA implementation.
Of this amount, $2.1 billion General Fund over three years is set aside for water resilience investments that will be negotiated this summer.
The Budget also includes $236 million General Fund in sustainable agriculture investments and an additional $617 million General Fund over two years to be allocated based on additional negotiations with the Legislature this summer.
The Sustainable Agriculture Package includes:
- $180 million one-time General Fund for the Air Resources Board to provide incentives to farmers in the San Joaquin Valley for use of alternatives to open burning;
- $50 million for the Healthy Soils Program
- $9.8 million in 2021-22 and $7.8 million in 2022-23 for grants for IPM research and education.
The inclusion of funding for ag burning alternatives is critically important for growers in the San Joaquin Valley who are subject to new regulations that will phase out and soon prohibit open burning.
While we are encouraged by the allocations included in the Drought Response and Water Resilience package, we will continue to advocate for additional funding for SGMA implementation which grants for multi-benefit land repurposing projects such as groundwater recharge.