The governor can’t control the weather, but he does have quite a bit of power over the budget. Brown and Democratic leaders want to spend more than $680 million on projects to provide immediate, and longer term, drought relief.
“We don’t know when it’s going to rain. Or, if it does rain, we don’t know how long it’s going to rain," Brown said. "And, therefore, we really don’t know how bad the drought is going to be over the next year or two or three."
Brown’s plan requires legislative approval. Most of the money will come from bonds earmarked for water infrastructure. Much will go toward projects that help communities capture and manage water.
State Republicans say the Democrat's plan does not go far enough. They say they'll propose legislation of their own.
Legislation introduced in the California state Assembly would create the Lower American River Conservancy to improve, protect, preserve and possibly expand the 5,000-acre American River Parkway.
January brought above-average rainfall and snow to much of California, partly due to El Niño. But forecasters say the ocean warming condition is "taking a break" for the next week or longer.
The U.S. Drought Monitor says, other than a slight reduction in exceptional drought in the northern Sierra, it needs more time to assess impacts of the recent moisture on California's long-term drought.
California regulators have made modest adjustments to water conservation requirements for cities.
The second measurement this winter of snowpack in the Sierra Nevada was 130 percent of average. State water officials say the snowpack will help reservoir recovery.