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$375 Million in Stimulus Money will Address California Water Crisis

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After yesterday's local board vote that reduced water supplies in Southern California by 10%, $260 million from the Department of the Interior will go to projects in the state that should expand water supplies, repair aging water infrastructure, and help mitigate the effects of the drought. “President Obama’s economic recovery plan will not only create jobs on basic water infrastructure projects, but it will help address both the short- and long-term water supply challenges the Golden State is facing," said Secretary Ken Salazar. "From boosting water supplies and improving conservation to improving safety at our dams, these shovel-ready projects will make a real and immediate difference in the lives of farmers, businesses, Native American Tribes and communities across California.” Most projects--some are listed below--focus in Northern California where water is transferred to whet the appetites of Southern Californians.

Project list:

  • $40 million for immediate emergency drought relief in the West, focused on California. These investments will allow for the installation of groundwater wells to boost water supplies to agricultural and urban contractors, the facilitation of the delivery of Federal water to Reclamation contractors through water transfers and exchanges, and the installation of rock barriers in the Sacramento Delta to meet water quality standards during low flows;
  • $109.8 million to build a screened pumping plant at the Red Bluff Diversion Dam to protect fish populations while delivering water to agricultural users irrigating approximately 150,000 acres;
  • $22.3 million to address dam safety concerns at the Folsom Dam near Sacramento, which is currently among the highest risk dams in the country for public safety;
  • $8.5 million to repair water-related infrastructure at Folsom Dam;
  • $20 million for the Contra Costa Canal to protect water supplies for 500,000 Californians and to build fish screens to restore winter-run Chinook salmon and the endangered Delta smelt;
  • $4.5 million to restore the Trinity River and honor the Federal government’s responsibility to the Native American Tribes;
  • $26 million for Battle Creek Salmon/Steelhead Restoration project, which will help restore fisheries that support thousands of jobs in northern California.
  • $4 million to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan for conveyance systems to move Central Valley Project and State Water Project water, habitat restoration and adaptive management;
  • $4 million to broaden scientific knowledge of Klamath River sedimentation for future management decision-making;
  • $20.7 million in smaller water infrastructure and related projects across California.

An additional $135 million is available for grants for water reuse and recycling projects.

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