Klamath River end at the Pacific Ocean, view from the Klamath overview in Klamath, California
Klamath River end at the Pacific Ocean, view from the Klamath overview in Klamath, California. Photo By Jairo Rene Leiva (Shutterstock.com)

Press Release Provided by State Water Contractors

On May 10, 2021 Governor Gavin Newsom announced the expansion of his April 21 Emergency Drought Proclamation to include the Klamath River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Tulare Lake Watershed Counties. Stopping short of a full statewide drought declaration, today’s emergency drought proclamation now places 41 counties under a drought state of emergency, representing 30 percent of the state’s population. Citing depleted snowpack levels in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and an estimated historic 500,000 acre-feet reduction in available water supplies – enough water to support up to one million households per year – today’s proclamation creates increased regulatory flexibility that will allow our state’s water officials and public water agencies to more easily move and store water for the benefit of the people, businesses, families, farms and fish that depend on it.

The new $5.1 billion drought and water resilience package comes on the heels of today’s earlier expanded drought declaration and will be folded into the Governor’s $100 billion California Comeback Plan. This latest water proposal includes a suite of actions designed to improve California’s water supply outlook and bolster resilience to the impacts of climate change over the next four years, including:

Investments to support safe drinking water, water supply and reliability, and flood resilience, including a $200 million down payment for Senator Melissa Hurtado’s bill, SB 559, which would establish a state fund for subsidence repairs to critical water infrastructure.

  • Immediate Drought Support
  • Nature-Based Solutions

“Drought doesn’t come in cycles anymore; it is our new normal and we should act accordingly. We appreciate the Governor’s actions today in proposing funding for critical drought-resilient projects that will mitigate the immediate impacts of the current drought as well as ensure better water management in the future,” said Jennifer Pierre, General Manager of the State Water Contractors.

“While substantial investments have been made to develop more local sources of water supplies and to implement sustainable water management practices throughout the state, helping to reduce the pain of this current drought for many of the larger urban areas, we must not rest on our laurels. Capitalizing on the immense progress Californians have made to reduce their annual water use, conservation must become our way of life if we are to successfully adapt to this new normal. Conservation is important, but it is also not enough. To secure California’s water future, we must continue to invest in our state’s water infrastructure, the storage and conveyance facilities that help us move and store water when its wet, for use when it’s not.”