Tuesday, April 24 , 2018, 8:42 pm | A Few Clouds 53º


Williams Announces $1 Billion in Emergency Drought Funding Heads to Governor’s Desk

Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, announced on Thursday the passage of $1 billion in emergency drought funding from the state Assembly.

The agreement to expedite bond and general fund monies will make the state more resilient to the disastrous effects of climate change and help ensure that all Californians have access to local water supplies, while considering critical operations to protect fish and wildlife.

In addition to funding emergency drinking water, drought response coordination, water recycling and desalination efforts, the legislation will also provide food assistance to 29 counties, including Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

“Fruits and vegetables from California now form over 50 percent of the food we provide and represent the cornerstone of our strategy to use nutrition and food literacy to increase the health of our cCounty. The drought has had a drastic affect across our operations. An increase in the Drought Food Assistance Program is crucial for us to be able to bring in more fresh fruits and vegetables that food insecure families rely on for good nutritional health,” said Erik Talkin of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

"We are grateful to Assemblyman Williams for being a leader in this major effort to support FOOD Share and other California food banks so we can continue to provide the same level of service to the hungry,” said Bonnie Weigel, president and CEO of FOOD Share.

The legislation includes more than $1 billion for local drought relief and infrastructure projects to make the state's water infrastructure more resilient to extreme weather events. The package accelerates $128 million in expenditures from the governor's budget to provide direct assistance to disadvantaged communities, workers and populations impacted by drought and to implement the Water Action Plan. It also includes $272 million in Proposition 1 Water Bond funding for safe drinking water and water recycling and accelerates $660 million from the Proposition 1E for flood protection in urban and rural areas.

Most importantly, these funds will provide emergency drinking water, food assistance to severe drought impacted counties, drought response coordination, and water use efficiency grants for agricultural and urban water users.

“While Californians are doing what they can to conserve water, the Legislature has a responsibility to expedite these funds for shovel-ready projects that help our communities,“ Williams added.

— Anett Hurtado is a field representative for Assemblyman Das Williams.

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