On Wednesday, February 10, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (Dem.-California) introduced a draft bill with the explicit purpose to “provide short-term water supplies to drought-stricken California and provide for long-term investments in drought resiliency throughout the Western United States.” Entitled, “California Long-Term Provisions for Water Supply and Short-Term Provisions for Emergency Drought Relief Act” (hereinafter “bill”), the 184-page bill lays out mandates for the use of funds for water projects, water infrastructure improvements and storage, emergency drought relief, and protection of listed and endangered species.
Technology and financing for water supply and re-use are also focuses of the bill. Notably, the bill supports the use of desalination and water recycling. With regard to desalination, the bill identifies 26 desalination projects throughout California that are capable of producing more than 330,000 acre-feet of water per year. The bill proposes adding long-term funding to support desalination projects. In addition, the bill recognizes the need for conservation and water re-use by authorizing the expenditure of $200 million in funds for the Bureau of Reclamation’s water recycling and reuse program. This money would be used to fund projects to reclaim and reuse wastewaters and naturally impaired ground and surface water.Continue Reading Fish versus Farms: Proposed Federal Legislation Seeks a Balance for California Water Supplies