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Feds Give $150 Million To Help California With Drought

planetlight / Flickr
 

planetlight / Flickr

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing $150 million to help California deal with the on-going drought.

Most of the money, about $130 million, will pay for federal agency watershed restoration projects in the Sierra Nevada.

The Sierra snowpack usually provides water during the spring and summer, but the snow had already melted by late-May this year. 

The U.S. Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, will do the restoration work, which is intended to reduce wildfire risk and improve water quality and wildlife habitat.  

California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird said those projects will benefit the 25 million Californians that rely on Sierra supply for drinking water. And also the irrigation needs of agricultural users downstream in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys. 

"We are just facing an unprecedented time, the four driest years that we have had in sequence in California history, that taxes our agricultural industry as well as the individual citizens,” said Laird during a telephone news conference Wednesday. “Stepping up with the drought assistance is just the kind of support that is very helpful, it's targeted to people that have their backs against the wall and really need it right now." 

Roughly 35 percent of the Western U.S. is in severe to exceptional drought.