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Brown, De León, Atkins To Unveil Emergency Drought Legislation Thursday

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

San Luis Reservoir was well below average in this October 2014 photo.

Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

CapRadio's Continuous Converage:

California Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic leaders will introduce $1.1 billion emergency drought legislation Thursday that would go towards water recycling,  desalination, water quality and flood protection projects. The governor, Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins will announce the package at 10:30am Thursday at the state Capitol.

Two sources familiar with the proposal say the goal is to pass the legislation by the end of next week, when lawmakers begin their spring break. Because Democratic leaders will use a bill linked to the current year's state budget to pass the drought funding, they can pass the package with a simple majority - without any Republican votes.

One of the sources says the money would come mostly from the water bond voters approved last November, Proposition 1 ($270 million), and the flood control bond approved in 2006, Prop 84 ($660 million).

The $535 million in Prop 1 funds, the source says, includes $137 million for projects that would capture or use water more efficiently; and $135 million for water quality improvements - largely for poor communities that have very little drinking water, or whose water is contaminated.

It's the second consecutive year that the governor and Democrats have put forth emergency measures in response to the drought. Last year's package was $680 million. It took months for the state to award much of that money.

Earlier this week, the State Water Resources Control Board approved new water restrictions, including a limit on the number of days that lawns can be watered and a requirement that hotels provide guests the option of not having their sheets and towels washed daily.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the emergency drought legislation would include $535 million from Prop 1. That figure has been revised downward to $270 million.

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Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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