Santa Monica Lookout
|Santa Monica’s State Assembly Representative Leads Fight for Drought Relief||
When one lives in a city as breathtakingly beautiful and unique as Santa Monica, inevitably that city will be shared with visitors.
By Daniel Larios
February 27, 2014 -- Santa Monica's representative in the State Assembly is leading the fight for drought relief in California.
The Assembly's Budget Subcommittee on Resources and Transportation, chaired by State Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), voted 3-to-2 Wednesday to approve a $687.4 million emergency drought relief plan to address the State's increasingly dire water problem.
“California is experiencing one of the worst droughts since we began keeping records more than 150 years ago. We must prepare as if these conditions will continue for the foreseeable future,” said Bloom.
Funds will also be used for a number of other broad initiatives, from food assistance to housing to conservation programs, all designed to alleviate the burden of those affected by the drought.
The proposed plan would supplement the $183 million from existing federal funds for drought relief programs pledged by President Barack Obama two weeks ago.
Both the State Senate and the Assembly are expected to approve the plan, which has been inserted into Assembly Bills 79 and 80, on Thursday.
Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency last month due to what many are calling the worst drought in California's modern history.
During the same period, San Francisco received only 5.85 inches of rain, which is 35 percent of normal levels, officials said.
Even with recent snowfalls, the amount of snow in California’s Sierra Madre mountain range is less than a quarter of normal levels, according to officials.
Said Bloom, “Absent significant rainfall and snowfall over the next few months, we all will have to make significant immediate lifestyle changes and ultimately cultural changes to ensure that there is sufficient water for farms, fish, wildlife, and communities.
“For those of us in more urban areas, this means local governments may ban landscape or lawn watering, impose mandatory water rationing, prohibit washing cars, or increase water rates,” he said.
Bloom’s hometown has already begun urging its residents to cut back on excessive use of water, warning them that wasting water could come with consequences. (“Santa Monica to Crack Down on Water Waste,” January 14)
There are currently 500,000 acres of unused farmland. That number could double by next year if conditions don’t improve, according to officials.
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