New Legislation to Help Drought Relief Efforts

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New legislation will help free up state money for drought relief efforts. The money won’t help growers get all the water they need, but it will help offset some of the community’s costs caused by the drought.New Legislation to Help Drought Relief Efforts

Together, SB 103 and SB 104 create a $687 million drought-relief plan, which redirects money in the state budget and draws from two previously approved bonds.

Here’s how the money is to be divided:

  • $475 million in accelerated grant funding for water conservation and recycling projects
  • $15 million for communities running low on drinking water supplies
  • $47 million for food and housing assistance for people in the communities most affected by the drought

We spoke recently with Andy Sousa, director of the Community Food Bank, which helps provide food in some of those areas – namely some of the rural areas of Fresno County where most of the residents are farm workers. With farmers planting less crops and losing money because of the drought, fewer farm workers are needed.

Meanwhile, the new legislation also increases penalties for illegally diverting water. The legislation will take effect immediately once signed by the governor.