Members of the California Democratic delegation have written a letter to Governor Brown, noting that yesterday, the House passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 which reauthorized the Bureau of Reclamation’s Emergency Drought Relief Act program.
The legislators point out that the Emergency Drought Relief Act provides authorities to Reclamation that can help minimize or mitigate drought damages and losses, such as construction of temporary facilities, drilling of wells, facilitating water transfers, and issuing contracts to move non-project water on project facilities, but these authorities do not occur automatically:
“The Governor must first issue a drought declaration in the state prior to the Secretary of the Interior determining whether assistance is merited. Given that the most recent Department of Water Resources snowpack survey showed that the snowpack is 20% of normal, we must ensure that the federal agencies have the authorities to take action. Congress has taken the necessary steps, and we respectfully ask that you declare a drought emergency so that these provisions are put in place right away.”
Read the full text of the letter here: 2014-01-16 LTR CA Members to Gov re drought declaration