A State Senate subcommittee advanced a $3 billion drought relief package on Thursday. Agricultural interests praised the $300 million for grants related to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), along with $250 million for water use efficiency grants, with $40 million of that for a CDFA program for farmers.

“Our growers are in a really tough spot right now, and we need to make SGMA work,” said Sen. Henry Stern of Canoga Park, encouraging his colleagues “to keep going bigger” with the funding amount.

Agreeing with Stern, the Ag Council called for $1 billion for groundwater projects in critically overdrafted basins and for multibenefit land retirement efforts. The group also hopes to include food processing plants in the water efficiency grants.