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USDA Pledges More Drought Aid To Rural Californians


US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the USDA will provide $9.7 million in drought aid to rural Californians.

The emergency water grants will go to 73,000 people in 11 counties.

Carlen Overby lives in the Tulare County community of Cameron Creek Colony. About 10-percent of its people have no access to water. 

“The first thing, you get stressed because when you turn your faucet on in the morning, you don’t know if water is going to come out," says Overby. "Our well went dry July 4th. We are currently hooked up to our neighbors well, but we don’t know how long theirs is going to last.”

A $500,000 dollar grant will allow the neighborhood to construct pipelines to nearby Farmersville. 

Vilsack says the grants are triple the amount committed to earlier this year during his visit with President Obama. But he says more needs to be done.

“At the of the day, there does need to be action by Congress to provide some long-term stability in this issue." says Vilsack. "I think that’s what the drought assistance bills that are pending in Congress could do, it’s what adequate resources in a budget could do.”

The USDA has designated 57 of California’s 58 counties as disaster areas, making farmers and ranchers eligible for emergency loans.



Amy Quinton

Former Environment Reporter

Amy came to Sacramento from New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) where she was Environment Reporter. Amy has also reported for NPR member stations WFAE in Charlotte, WAMU in Washington D.C. and American Public Media's "Marketplace."  Read Full Bio 

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