Assembly member Eduardo Garcia Statement on Emergency Drought Relief Package

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Bear tracks in the mud at Shasta Lake on Nov. 1, 2013. (Molly Samuel/KQED)
Bear tracks in the mud at Shasta Lake on Nov. 1, 2013. (Molly Samuel/KQED)

(SACRAMENTO, CA)— State Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia released the following statement on Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.’s emergency drought relief proposal Thursday:

“Today’s emergency drought relief package will bring the needed aid to the economic, environmental and public health crisis that we are facing throughout our state and our districts. This is a step in the right direction but more must be done and as Californians we must band together and roll up our sleeves to combat this water crisis. I look forward to the debate and working with the newly created office that will help disproportionately impacted communities such as ours,” said Garcia.

Thursday’s Emergency Relief Package is detailed in two legislative proposals:

One aspect of the bill appropriates over a billion dollars in Proposition 1 (water bond) and Proposition 1-E (flood protection bond). Voters approved these funds for water and flood related investments.

More specifically, these funds would be used to address the impacts of the drought in the following ways:

  • Emergency drinking water.
  • Food assistance for 29 counties most impacted by the drought.
  • Assessment of current surface and groundwater conditions and expedited water transfers.
  • Drought response coordination.
  • Water use efficiency grants for agricultural and urban water users.
  • Emergency water supply and education.
  • Water recycling and desalination efforts.
  • Critical operations to protect fish and wildlife.
  • Technical assistance for small and disadvantaged communities with drinking water needs – including a dedicated unit at the State Board to focus on disadvantaged communities.

The second portion of the bill focuses on policy aspects of the draught and stresses the need to speed up contracting for funds, and creating an office that helps disproportionately impacted communities respond to their water challenges and access state resources.