When discussing money for water storage and conveyance,a central talking point for the Newsom administrationhas been that 85% of the funding generally comes from the local level. But that perspective may be evolving.
“We believe there needs to be a new generation of investment from state government and federal government,” said California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot on Thursday at a conference for the Association of California Water Agencies.
Crowfoot said he is keeping his fingers crossed with the federal infrastructure package in development. The state would channel that money “into the regions, to build your own regional resilience based on the priorities that you have in different parts of the state.”
Crowfoot notedthe governor’s new $5.1 billion drought packagefor the budget is more than he proposed in a climate resilience bond last year. A lot of the focus is now on the Central Valley, given the stressors of drought, groundwater management plans and voluntary agreements for Delta flows, said Crowfoot. He encouraged water districts to make their voices heard in the coming weeks as the Legislature considers the proposal.
On the note of voluntary agreements, Crowfoot said negotiations halted last weekend ahead of the governor’s drought declaration, though the work continues. The state aims to restore river systems in a way that “provides the certainty that water users need, given these uncertain conditions,” and with shared goals.
“Our focus has never been more intense to get this done,” he said. “Just to be completely candid there, we're not there yet.”
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