California Dryin’

With California’s snowpack at 17 percent of average, 2015 is on track to be the driest ever recorded in the Sierra Nevada mountains, prompting a new wave of regulatory and legislative measures to combat the drought. On Tuesday, the State Water Board voted to strengthen and extend emergency drought rules, including limiting lawn irrigation to two days per week and requiring restaurants to ask before serving guests water. On Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown was joined by state Assembly and Senate leadership to announce a new $1 billion emergency drought bill. The bill expedites state bond funds, including $128 million for direct food assistance to drought impacted communities, $272 million for safe drinking water and water recycling projects, and $660 million for improved flood protection infrastructure from the 2006 Proposition 1E. On March 27, the Bay Area Council Water Committee, under the leadership of co-Chairs Andy Ball, West Coast President of Suffolk Construction, and Jim Levine, Managing Partner of Montezuma Wetlands LLC, is meeting to discuss drought awareness measures and priority regional projects eligible for Proposition 1 funding. To engage with the Water Committee, please contact Policy Director Adrian Covert.

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