California Governor Jerry Brown and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval met at a forum on Thursday for the first in a series of year-long meetings on how best to combat the West’s devastating drought, now in its fourth year.
According to the Associated Press, the meetings will serve as the basis for a full report on drought strategy to be released next summer. Sandoval and Brown will meet with a bipartisan panel of water, energy, and agriculture officials, as well as private sector leaders in these areas, to determine the best course of action. This week’s meeting was centered on the drought’s effect on agriculture.
“I think the drought will test our imagination and our science, our technology and our political capacity to collaborate,” Brown told the forum in his opening statements.
Brown has already backed legislation in an effort to mitigate the region’s catastrophic drought; just ten days ago, California voters passed Proposition 1, a $7.5 billion water bond that appropriates money to state water storage and purification projects.
Brown reportedly acknowledged at the forum that another of his proposals, a $25 billion water pump under the Delta that would make it easier to pump water to the Central Valley and Southern California, will be controversial.
“There are a lot of people who think somehow engineering water from point A to point B is somehow unnatural,” Brown said at the forum. “Well we long ago passed the unnatural in California.”
Gov. Sandoval, a Republican, told the forum that Nevada’s farmers need help.
“These farmers… they come to me and they feel really helpless,” Sandoval said. “They don’t know what to do. And their livelihood is at stake.”