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Jerry Brown Unveils $1 Billion Drought Relief Package

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California Gov. Jerry Brown was scheduled to visit the state Capitol in Sacramento on Thursday morning to outline a $1 billion plan to help the state navigate through a fourth year of drought.

Of the requested funds, $660 million will come from a flood control ballot measure approved in 2006, according to the Los Angeles Times. An additional $272.7 million will come from funds allocated in November’s $7.5 billion water bond, Proposition 1. The money will reportedly be spent on drinking water protections, recycling programs, and desalination plants.

If the California legislature approves the spending package, it would mark the second straight year in which the state has spent a significant amount of money on emergency drought measures. Last year, Gov. Brown secured a $687.4 million drought relief package, a plan some said did little to address the state’s overall water concerns.

Brown’s proposal comes after California’s State Water Resources Control Board approved sweeping new restrictions this week on water districts across the state. Under the new rules, Californians will only be permitted to water their lawns twice per week and are forbidden from watering for at least 48 hours after a rainstorm. Additional water restrictions were placed on restaurants and hotels.

NASA senior water scientist Jay Famiglietti warned last week that California has just one year’s worth of water in its reservoirs. The shortages also extend to the crucial Sierra Nevada snowpack, where water content levels are at a historic low.

The shortage has gotten so severe that farmers in northern California are finding it more profitable to sell water to municipal water districts than to plant food.


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