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California Lawmakers Approve $687M Water Relief Package

Photo caption: California's current drought is illustrated in these 2011 and 2014 images of ...

Photo credit: California Department of Water Resources

California's current drought is illustrated in these 2011 and 2014 images of Folsom Lake, a reservoir in Northern California located 25 miles northeast of Sacramento.

Water levels around the state might be low, but at least some money is flowing from California’s capital.

The state Senate and Assembly on Thursday both approved emergency drought relief legislation. The $687-million package immediately will provide emergency drinking water and food assistance for parts of California. It will also accelerate grants for water projects around the state.

Republican Assemblyman Jeff Gorell says the legislation is just a first step.

“We didn’t get to this point of this drought over night. We’re not going to fix it in just one day, certainly not with these bills. More substantive infrastructure and reform solutions are needed in both the short term and the long term, including the development of additional storage as soon as possible,” Gorell said.

The bulk of the money for projects comes from unallocated water infrastructure bonds. The legislation now awaits Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature.

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