Radio Actuality

Recovery Act Invests $40 million for California Drought Relief


The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Mike Connor announced today that $40 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) has been released for drought-relief projects in California.  Projects include the installation of temporary pipelines and pumps, drilling and installation of new water wells, well-enhancement projects, and a groundwater monitoring effort.  In an interview, Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes said these investments will help preserve permanent crops and associated jobs in an area that is experiencing a prolonged drought, economic hardship and some of the highest unemployment rates in the United States.

Topic / Summary / Transcript
Topic: Deputy Secretary David Hayes was appointed by Secretary Salazar to lead the federal water efforts in California.  He says the emergency drought relief will help to stretch limited water supplies.
Up to $40 million will be available through a program that now has identified specific projects that have essentially earned the right to spend this money.  Most of those projects are in the Central Valley.  They provide opportunities for emergency access to water and essentially enable the stretching of limited water supplies.

Topic: Deputy Secretary Hayes says the drought projects can begin immediately.
This money is ready to go right now.  Folks have put in proposals, proposals have been accepted.  The paperwork is getting done, the money will flow.

Topic: Deputy Secretary Hayes says California water is a top priority for recovery dollars.
To illustrate the point of how important California is, the entire water budget for the recovery act is about a billion dollars.  Fully a third of that we’re spending in California.  So we are totally focused on making the recovery act dollars work for California and then in partnering with the state in a way that has not happened in the recent past to help solve the continuing conflicts around water and the environment and we’re going to continue to stay on the job.

Topic: Deputy Secretary Hayes promises the federal government will be a full partner with California.
Now unfortunately the federal government has not been engaged in California in recent years on these very difficult issues of water and environment.  And in fact the governor has essentially had to go it alone with other state interests and stake holders and they’ve made great progress through their Delta Vision approach to chart a path forward.  It’s time now for the federal government, which operates the largest water project in the state, to be a full partner with the state.  And that’s what we’re essentially announcing today.  Actually this is the latest in a series of announcements.