Governor Approves 2019-’20 California State Budget by Matt Veeh Jun 27, 2019 Water News California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed the 2019-’20 state budget that addresses a number of key ACWA priority goals, ranging from safe drinking water for disadvantaged communities to improved forest health. “ACWA applauds the leadership of Governor Newsom, Senate President pro Tem Atkins, Assembly Speaker Rendon, and the Legislature for their action to provide the needed funding so that disadvantaged communities in California that do not have access to safe drinking water will have that access.,” said ACWA Executive Director Dave Eggerton. “We are also pleased to see financial support for voluntary agreements for the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems, atmospheric river research and investment in healthier forests and watersheds.” Drinking Water Solutions The $215 billion budget includes a safe drinking water funding solution that relies on revenue from California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) and money from the General Fund. ACWA supports this solution, which does not include a water tax. For fiscal year 2019-’20, the safe drinking water funding solution will be funded with $100 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) and $30 million from the General Fund. This funding is in the new budget. After the first year, the funding will be 5% of the GGRF continuously appropriated – capped at $130 million per year with a general fund backstop. This part of the solution is expected to be enacted in SB 200 (Monning, E. Garcia and Bloom) next week. Voluntary Agreements The new state budget also allocates $70 million toward projects identified in voluntary agreements, including habitat restoration and scientific research. ACWA supports voluntary agreements as an “all-of-the-above” strategy to protect and enhance the Bay-Delta ecosystem while providing reliable water supplies for California’s residents, food production and economy. Atmospheric Rivers Additional funding for scientific research includes $9.25 million to accelerate improvements in forecasting atmospheric rivers, the sporadic storms that account for up to half of California’s total annual precipitation. ACWA has supported additional funding for atmospheric river forecasting because of its tremendous potential to improve water supply resilience. Headwaters The new state budget sets aside $235 million to implement the Wildfire and Recovery Legislative Package, which includes increasing the pace and scale of enhancing forest health. Headwaters health depends on forest health, and the protection of the water supply at its source is an ACWA priority.