Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday unveiled a $5.1 billion plan for California’s water infrastructure, drought response and preparations for a “climate resilient system.” In addition to the proposed $5.1 billion funding, which will be spread out over four years, the plan includes $1 billion to help Californians pay their overdue water bills.
Drought Preparedness and Response
The Governor’s plan makes investments to support safe drinking water, water supply and reliability, and flood resilience by allocating:
- $1.3 billion for drinking water/wastewater infrastructure, especially for small and disadvantaged communities;
- $150 million for groundwater cleanup and water recycling to improve climate resilience;
- $300 million for Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) implementation to improve water supply security, water quality, and water reliability;
- $200 million for water conveyance to address subsidence and rising cost of moving water through the Friant-Kern Canal, the Delta-Mendota Canal, the California Aqueduct, and the San Luis Canal;
- $220 million for Salton Sea to maximize habitat outcomes and provide immediate economic relief to the community;
- $140 million to reduce flood risk for 1.1 million people and over $100 billion of assets;
- $200 million for Oroville Pump Storage to increase clean electricity generation to improve grid reliability; and
- $60 Million for State Water Efficiency and Enhancement (SWEEP) grants to help farmers reduce irrigation water use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture pumping.
The plan includes immediate drought support by allocating:
- $91 million for critical data collection to improve forecasting, monitoring and assessment of hydrologic conditions;
- $27 million for emergency and permanent solutions to drinking water drought emergencies;
- $500 million for multi-benefit land repurposing to support growers with long-term, flexible support;
- $300 million for drought relief and urban water management grants for approximately 2,400 small community water systems that serve schools and all of California’s 58 counties as they plan for drought and potential water shortages; and
- $33 million for fisheries and wildlife to protect and conserve California’s ecosystems.
The plan also allocates:
- $266 million for water resilience projects to improve ecosystem health for native fish in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and their tributaries;
- $230 million for ecosystems to improve the ability of fish and wildlife to migrate safely; and
- $200 million for habitat restoration and multi-benefit projects including tidal wetland, floodplain, and flood-risk reduction projects to restore fish and wildlife habitat.