After landing in Fresno around 2:30 p.m., the president will hold what the White House calls “a roundtable with community leaders” at the San Luis Water Facility in Firebaugh. He’ll then tour a farm in Los Banos and deliver remarks.
During his trip, he’ll announce $173 million in California drought aid – $100 million for livestock, $60 million for food banks and the rest for conservation, watershed protection and rural communities.
“The president has been very clear that he doesn’t want any delay. He wants folks to move as quickly as possible. And the announcement today in terms of the disaster assistance is a reflection of that.” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who previewed the announcement in a call with reporters Thursday.
Mr. Obama will also link droughts in California and elsewhere to global warming. “We really understand a number of the reasons that global climate change is increasing the intensity and the frequency and the length of droughts in drought-prone regions,” said Dr. John Holdren, who leads the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Accompanying the president today: California Governor Jerry Brown and U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.
“I think you want him to see just the devastation of the drought and how serious it is and how we need the federal government to invest in water projects,” said Brown as he toured the World Ag Expo in Tulare this week.
The president will only spend three hours in the Central Valley, and his meetings are closed to the public. Your best chance to see him is at the airport, looking out at Air Force One from afar.
With the shift from winter to spring comes new watering limitations for Sacramento residents. To conserve water, residents are being asked to only water twice a week.
The drought has left honey bees without their normal supply of wildflowers to feed on. Beekeepers have supplemented their diet, but that lacks nutrition to keep hives healthy. CapRadio's Amy Quinton tags along with a local beekeeper to learn more.
There’s a bit more progress in the delicate dance of reaching a deal on a new California water bond proposal that would replace the $11 billion bond currently on the November ballot. But a deal – if any – is still months away.
Many people in the Sacramento region responded to calls to conserve water, using less last month than in the previous two Februaries. Many cities have not met conservation goals.
The city of Sacramento is moving ahead with a plan to offer rebates to people who rip out their front lawns and replace them with drought-tolerant landscaping.