Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Drought Proposal: Some Solid Steps Toward Building Climate-Resilient Water Systems

California Gov. Gavin Newsom extended emergency drought declarations to 39 counties and announced $5.1 billion in funding for a menu of measures to address the drought and related water challenges. His proposal takes timely advantage of a massive $75.7 billion budget surplus.

“The exceptional high temperatures of the past several weeks and the accompanying scant runoff underscore how vulnerable our water systems are in the face of climate change. EDF applauds Gov. Gavin Newsom’s swift, yet targeted response to these critically dry conditions, including the administration’s proposal to spend $5.1 billion for drought infrastructure, preparedness and response to ensure our state’s water systems are more resilient to climate change. The size of this investment reflects the scope and urgency of the water challenges facing our state as temperatures rise and droughts become more intense and frequent.

We are particularly encouraged that the governor’s proposal addresses the needs of diverse water users, including people who lack access to clean drinking water, native fish and agricultural communities. We are pleased to see the plan proposes $500 million for multibenefit land repurposing, which aligns with an EDF proposal in state bill AB 252 to establish a Multibenefit Land Repurposing Incentive Program to help farmers transition to groundwater sustainability while creating new benefits for the Central Valley. It is also important to highlight that the governor’s proposal dedicates nearly $700 million for nature-based solutions, including projects to restore ecosystems for fish and wildlife that are on the brink of collapse. Finally, we appreciate the inclusion of $91 million for critical data collection to improve drought response through innovative tools.”

  • Ann Hayden, Senior Director, Western Water and Resilient Landscapes

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