ICYMI: Governor Newsom, CA Leaders Applaud Feinstein, Padilla Efforts to Secure Critical Funding for Drought Resiliency in Inflation Reduction Act￼
CALIFORNIA — Governor Gavin Newsom and local leaders and advocates across California applauded the historic $4 billion dollars for drought resiliency included in the Inflation Reduction Act that passed the Senate:
“This funding is critical to stabilize the Colorado River system and accelerate projects at the Salton Sea to protect public health and the environment. Thanks to our California Senators for working with us on this priority and helping to lead the charge on this essential investment,” said Governor Newsom.
“Our Congressional delegation for years has steadfastly worked with us to secure federal funding to address the crisis at the Salton Sea,” said G. Patrick O’Dowd, Executive Director of Salton Sea Authority. “I commend Senators Padilla and Feinstein in the strongest possible terms for including this absolutely essential funding in the bill so that the impacts on the Salton Sea and surrounding disadvantaged and tribal communities of any future Colorado River water cuts from our region are fully mitigated by the federal government.”
“We really appreciate the efforts of Senators Feinstein and Padilla working with their colleagues to secure additional funding for Colorado River Basin drought relief activities, including at the Salton Sea. This funding will make a difference,” said Chris Harris, Executive Director of Colorado River Board of California.
“During this unprecedented drought, it is important we have this commitment and financial resources from the federal government to combat climate change, conserve water and protect the Colorado River Basin, and we are grateful to Senator Feinstein and Senator Padilla for their leadership,” said Adel Hagekhalil, General Manager of Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
“Thanks to Senators Padilla and Feinstein this historic legislation addresses the urgent drought-related climate threats California is facing now, from the Colorado River to the Salton Sea,” said Marshall Johnson, Chief Conservation Officer of National Audubon Society. “The Inflation Reduction Act will build climate resilience to protect our communities as well as birds and other wildlife, and will help restore the rivers, lakes, and wetlands we all need.”
California and the Western United States remain under threat by extreme drought and record heat. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, over 70 percent of the Western states are classified as experiencing some level of drought, with nearly 30 percent of Western land experiencing extreme or exceptional drought.
The $4 billion in drought resiliency funding included in the Inflation Reduction Act will provide critical new tools for the federal government to help mitigate the impact of drought in the Western Unites States – with priority given to the Colorado River Basin and inland water bodies like the Salton Sea. The Bureau of Reclamation will be able to use this new funding to compensate water users for voluntary water use reductions, with a priority for users who receive water from the Colorado River, which will help blunt impacts to California communities as the state continues its collaborative efforts to reach an agreement with the seven Colorado River Basin States on how to sustain the Colorado River. It will also expand on California’s existing water conservation efforts by funding investments in urban and agricultural water use efficiency projects, including through the installation of drought-resilient landscaping and water-saving measures like canal lining and leveling of drainage ditches.
The Inflation Reduction Act will mitigate the harmful effects of drought by funding environmental restoration projects across the state, including by funding habitat projects that could restore imperiled ecosystems and benefit winter-run chinook salmon, an endangered species that has been severely imperiled by recent droughts.
Importantly, with passage of the bill, the federal government will be able to dramatically scale up its participation in vital public health and ecosystem restoration projects at the Salton Sea, helping to improve air quality for local communities, restore habitat, and address climate resiliency at the Salton Sea.