PHILLIPS – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. will attend the California Department of Water Resources manual snow survey tomorrow at Phillips Station. Electronic readings show that the Sierra Nevada snowpack’s water content is lower than any year on record dating back to 1950 – just 8 percent of the historical average in late March. The snowpack is normally at its peak on April 1.
When: Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at approx. 11:00 a.m.
Where: Phillips Station, off Highway 50 near Sierra-at-Tahoe Road.
**NOTE: This event is open to credentialed media. Due to parking restrictions, media should not arrive before 10:00 a.m. and must set up by 10:45 a.m. Parking zones and additional information can be found here.
Last week, Governor Brown signed emergency legislation to fast-track more than $1 billion in funding for drought relief and critical water infrastructure projects to help address California’s water needs and prepare for an uncertain future. This builds on unprecedented action by the State Water Resources Control Board over the past year to prohibit wasteful water use and encourage Californians to conserve. The Water Board’s emergency regulations – the most stringent statewide measures in California’s history – include strict limits on outdoor irrigation (two days a week in much of California), bans on hosing down outdoor surfaces, decorative water fountains that don’t recirculate water and car washing without an automatic shut-off nozzle and requirements that bars and restaurants only serve water upon request and hotels ask guests staying multiple nights whether linens and towels need to be washed.
The Governor has also taken critical steps to prepare the state for prolonged droughts, leading the campaign to pass Proposition 1, California’s $7.5 billion water bond, which won bipartisan approval in the Legislature and was approved overwhelmingly at the polls. The funds represent the most significant statewide investment in water supply infrastructure projects in decades – a package that includes surface and groundwater storage, ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration, and drinking water protection. Additionally, for the first time in California’s history, Governor Brown signed legislation creating a framework for local, sustainable management of groundwater, which accounts for about one-third of California’s water supply.
Over the past two years, state and federal water regulators have also limited water allocations from the State Water Project and Central Valley Project for agricultural users to historically low levels – between zero and 20 percent of contracted amounts and junior water rights have also been drastically curtailed. As growers and farmworkers grapple with these historically dry conditions, the California Department of Food and Agriculture has provided $20 million in grants to help implement water conservation projects that will help save hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of water statewide.
In addition to last week’s emergency funding, the state has committed more than $870 million in drought relief since last year to assist drought-affected communities and provide funding to better use local water supplies. In February, Governor Brown also met with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell in Sacramento to announce nearly $20 million in federal drought relief for California’s Central Valley Project.
In December 2013, the Governor formed a Drought Task Force to quickly respond to the emerging drought impacts throughout the state. The following month, the Governor declared a drought state of emergency and the administration finalized a comprehensive Water Action Plan that charts the course for California to become more resilient in the face of droughts and floods moving forward. Later in 2014, the Governor issued executive orders to further strengthen the state’s ability to manage water and habitat effectively in drought conditions and streamline efforts to provide water to families in dire need.
Governor Brown has called on all Californians to reduce their water use by 20 percent and prevent water waste. Visit SaveOurWater.com to find out how everyone can do their part and Drought.CA.Gov to learn more about how California is dealing with the effects of the drought.