White House to Send $110 Million in Drought Aid to California and Other Western States

A worker stands in a bean field last year in drought-ravaged Huron, Calif. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)
A worker stands in a bean field last year in drought-ravaged Huron, Calif. (Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

California will receive tens of millions of dollars in new drought aid from the U.S. government that will provide relief for farmers, displaced workers and rural communities that have run out of drinking water, officials said Friday.

Obama administration officials announced a total of about $110 million in new drought assistance for western states, on top of more than $190 million that had already been allocated this year.

Much of the new spending announced Friday will go to California, including $18 million to provide temporary jobs for workers displaced by the drought, said Portia Wu, an assistant Labor secretary.

A UC Davis study recently estimated that the drought will cost the state more than 18,000 jobs.

California also will receive $10 million for rural communities that need emergency water, and $6.5 million for projects to improve water management over the next two years, officials said.

“We’re marshaling every resource we have to provide meaningful relief,” Mike Connor, a deputy Interior secretary, said on a conference call with reporters.

Earlier on Friday, President Obama and senior officials participated in a briefing on drought and wildfire preparedness with Western governors, including California Gov. Jerry Brown. About 35% of the West faces severe to exceptional drought, officials said.

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SOURCE: MATT STEVENS
The Los Angeles Times

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