Governor Newsom’s Proposed Budget Includes Funding for Drought by ACWA Staff Jan 11, 2022 Water News Gov. Gavin Newsom on Jan. 10 unveiled his proposed state budget for the 2022-’23 Fiscal Year. The $286 billion budget, including a $20.6 billion General Fund surplus for discretionary purposes, includes several state priorities including funding for COVID, wildfires, drought, climate change, education and more. “ACWA is very encouraged by the Governor’s proposed additional investment for water and drought projects and forest health and will continue to advocate throughout the legislative session for additional funding for other critical issues such as dam safety,” said ACWA Executive Director Dave Eggerton. Building upon last year’s three-year, $5.2 billion allocation to support drought response and long-term water sustainability, the Governor’s budget includes an additional $750 million General Fund drought response package focused on immediate drought response needs. The Governor’s proposed budget also includes $582 million for forest management projects. The additional $750 million drought response package would be allocated to several ACWA priority issue areas, including: Water Conservation Programs — $180 million for grants to large urban and small water suppliers to improve water efficiency, address leaks, reduce demand, provide water use efficiency-related mapping and training, support turf replacement and maintain a drought vulnerability tool. Urban and Small Community Drought Relief — $145 million for local emergency drought assistance and grants to local water agencies facing loss of water supplies. On-Farm Water Conservation — $20 million to bolster the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program, which provides grants to implement irrigation systems that save water on agricultural operations. Fish and Wildlife Protection — $75 million to mitigate immediate drought damage to fish and wildlife resources and build resilience of natural systems. Multibenefit Land Repurposing — $40 million to increase regional capacity to repurpose irrigated agricultural land to reduce reliance on groundwater while providing community health, economic well-being, water supply, habitat, renewable energy, and climate benefits. Groundwater Recharge — $30 million to provide grants to water districts to fund planning, engineering, water availability analyses and construction for groundwater recharge projects. Technical Assistance and Drought Relief for Small Farmers — $10 million to provide mobile irrigation labs, land use mapping and imagery, irrigation education, and direct assistance to small farmers and ranchers who have experienced water cost increases of more than 50 percent. Drought Contingency—$250 million as a drought contingency set aside to be allocated as part of the spring budget process, when additional water data will be available to inform additional drought needs. California’s Constitution requires the Governor to submit a balanced budget proposal to the Legislature by Jan. 10 of each year. The Legislature now has until June 15 to pass the budget.