Legislature Approves Fiscal Year 2021-’22 Budget by ACWA Staff Jun 16, 2021 Water News The California Legislature approved a tentative $267 billion state budget on June 14, hours before the Constitutional deadline. Legislative leaders and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration continue to negotiate many of the details of the spending plan, which is required to be in place by the start of the new fiscal year on July 1. A few of the spending highlights in the current version of the budget, include: $3.475 billion for water and drought resilience (with the details to be negotiated). $1 billion in COVID-19-related water arrearage debt relief. $1 billion for wildfire prevention and resilience. $60 million in one-time Department of Water Resources grants to support local planning and implementation of Groundwater Sustainability Plans across critically over-drafted basins. In April, the Senate released a proposed $3.41 billion drought relief package that included funding for many water management categories and related tools, such as sustainable groundwater management, water use efficiency, atmospheric rivers research, and relief for Californians who have accumulated water and wastewater bill debt due to COVID-19’s financial impacts. ACWA immediately supported this proposal. Newsom released his own $5.1 billion budget proposal In May to bolster the state’s drought and water resilience, including investments in conveyance, sustainable groundwater management, safe drinking water, recycled water, and other water-related projects. Newsom also announced $1 billion to help address water bill debt that has accrued due to the financial impacts of COVID-19. ACWA appreciated this proposal, which included additional categories and a higher total funding level. ACWA continues to advocate in favor of the Senate’s original proposal plus additional funding categories, including dam safety, Integrated Regional Water Management, and conveyance, and increased funding for some categories such as groundwater quality, recycling and water quality. ACWA staff and members have participated in many meetings with legislators and the Administration to share ACWA’s recommendations.