Governor Newsom’s Proposed Budget Includes Funding for Drought by ACWA Staff May 13, 2022 Water News Gov. Gavin Newsom today unveiled his revised state budget for the 2022-’23 Fiscal Year. The $300.7 billion budget includes several priorities of interest to ACWA members, including funding for drought, climate change, forest management and more. Building upon last year’s three-year, $5.2 billion allocation to support drought response and long-term water sustainability, the governor’s revised budget includes an additional $2 billion for drought response and water resilience. This is part of the governor’s larger $47.1 billion climate package. The budget also includes $1.4 billion to help Californians pay utility bills, including $200 million dedicated to water bills. Below are some of the highlights of the budget proposal that address ACWA priority issue areas. The Legislature now has until June 15 to pass a state budget. Drought Response and Water Resilience package: $530 million to support water recycling and groundwater cleanup; advance drinking water and clean water projects that leverage significant federal infrastructure funds; and continue aqueduct solar pilots. $553 million to provide grants to urban water districts and smaller community water suppliers for drought-relief projects; support data, research, and public education campaigns; support local technical assistance emergency drinking water response, including the purchase and pre-positioning of water storage tanks; enhance water rights enforcement and modernization tools; and support food assistance programs for farmworkers impacted by drought. $280 million to address fish and wildlife impacts associated with drought and climate change, and to build aquatic habitat and water resilience projects to support implementation of voluntary agreements with water suppliers. $187 million to support agricultural water conservation practices; incentivize farmers to install more efficient irrigation equipment and provide on-farm technical assistance; provide direct relief to small farm operators; and support additional water conservation projects. Additional Water Investments: $500 million in the 2025-’26 General Fund, to serve as a multi-year commitment to promote strategic water storage projects in the state that benefit water supply reliability and the environment. $200 million for water and wastewater arrearages through the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program, administered by the Department of Community Services and Development. $1.2 million ongoing for the Judicial Council to address climate, environmental and water-related legal disputes $75 million in one-time General Fund expenditures to support the California Small Agricultural Business Drought Relief Grant Program and provide direct assistance to eligible agriculture-related businesses that have been impacted by severe drought conditions. $10 million for Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operations and $6.7 million for the airborne snow observatory program.