“California Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin on Wednesday welcomed an “all-in” federal effort to help California cope with extreme drought.
“The effects of this widespread drought are clearly beyond the control of local personnel, services, and facilities in nearly every corner of California,” said Director Cowin. “It will require the combined efforts of all of our agencies to address the public health, economic, and environmental ramifications of this drought.”
Director Cowin joined U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor and administrators from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), National Integrated Drought Information System and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wednesday at a Sacramento press conference to demonstrate a united and coordinated federal response to record-breaking drought conditions in California.” … “
“With California in its worst drought in the state’s 160 years of record-keeping—and following Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s declaration of a Drought State of Emergency on January 17—the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture and Commerce are working with the State of California to accelerate water transfers and exchanges, provide operational flexibility to store and convey water, expedite environmental review and compliance actions, and pursue new or fast-track existing projects that might help stretch California’s water supplies.
Federal and State officials met today to discuss a collaborative response to the drought to minimize its social, economic and environmental impacts. Led by Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor and California Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin, administrators from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), National Integrated Drought Information System and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers joined in a demonstration of support for an “all-in” strategy on ongoing efforts to address drought conditions in California. The agencies are seeking maximum flexibility in carrying out water supply operations, investing in conservation measures and coordinating with the California State Water Resources Control Board to implement any new operational standards.
Today Reclamation and NRCS announced they are working together to leverage Federal funds for water delivery agencies and agricultural producers, and will provide up to $14 million in funding for water districts and associated growers to conserve water and improve water management. The projects funded through this partnership in Fiscal Year 2014 will help communities build resilience to drought, including by modernizing their water infrastructure and efficiently using scarce water resources, while continuing to support the agricultural economy.
“The drought situation is dire throughout the state, and communities, farms, ranches, businesses and the environment are feeling its effects,” stated Connor. “The federal and state governments can provide assistance in a variety of ways, and we are coordinating the federal response to bring resources and assistance to California through the National Drought Resilience Partnership.” …
Michael Connor, Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation; William Stelle, Jr., Regional Administrator, NOAA Fisheries; and Ann Mills, Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, USDA, applauded the Brown Administration’s development of the California Water Action Plan, and pledged federal support for the state’s efforts:
The Obama Administration has been and continues to be committed to a comprehensive suite of actions necessary to promote a sustainable, reliable water supply to serve the people, the economy, and the environment of California. In support of the California Water Action Plan, we are pleased to share a white paper entitled, “Federal Investments for the California Bay-Delta Region” which describes the wide array of federal activities and programs, across several agencies, that complement the state’s plan and goals for the Bay-Delta and the rest of the state.
The actions we are taking will help promote conservation and better management of water to satisfy current and future demands as the state’s population increases. These actions, in combination with the commitments set forth in the California Water Action Plan, illustrate the strong state and federal partnership to achieve reductions in water demand, increases in water reliability, improved water quality, habitat conservation and water operations.