For the past four years, California has suffered the worst drought in recorded history. Water cutbacks in Inland Southern California have been particularly hard.
But residents have stepped up and exceeded efforts to conserve water and use it more wisely. Overall, California exceeded the Governor’s call for a 25% water conservation target.
Current signs are the drought may abate this coming winter. But state government must be a partner—and not simply issue directives or pass new laws--to help local governments and residents conserve water and use it more wisely.
Senator Roth was an early supporter of Proposition 1, the California Water Bond, which provides $7.5 billion in new water supply and water quality investments. The Water Bond includes funding to improve water quality, with $800 million allocated for the prevention and cleanup of groundwater pollution. There is also $2.7 billion for new water storage, including dams and projects that replenish groundwater.
In addition, Senator Roth helped pass comprehensive drought legislation that appropriated funding for:
- $549 million from previous water bonds for infrastructure grants for local and regional projects to increase local reliability, expand the use of recycled water, enhance the management and recharging of groundwater storage and strengthen water conservation.
- $20 million for the Department of Water Resources (DWR) for grants to improve water use efficiency and save energy.
- $10 million transferred from the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Fund for the California Department of Food and Agriculture to invest in irrigation and water pumping systems that reduce water and energy usage.
- $15 million for the Emergency Drinking Water Fund to address emergency water shortages due to the drought.
Senator Roth will continue to fight for streamlined drought response legislation to expedite the permitting of projects to protect drinking water and water supply reliability and to incentivize new technology that will make California more water efficient. He will make it a priority to provide funding to help residents invest in low-water consumption landscaping, low flow plumbing fixtures and other investments to reduce water use and save money.