California lawmakers are finally getting serious about the worsening drought in California. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer jointly introduced a bill this week that outlines a host of anti-drought efforts to be paid for with federal funds. The California Emergency Drought Relief Act calls for desalination research, grants for new water-metering and stormwater capture, as well as $200 million for new water recycling projects. All of these measures are a last-ditch attempt to make the most of what water remains in the state before it dries up.
California experienced the hottest June on record this summer, and the raging heat heightens the effects of the drought substantially. Residents of the state have already reduced water consumption by an overall 27 percent and farmers have abandoned thousands of acres of croplands, but experts are concerned it may not be enough. This is especially true as long as celebrities and oil refineries are permitted to continue consuming water in alarmingly high quantities.
Senators Feinstein and Boxer, both Democrats, are hopeful their bill will help address both the short- and long-term impacts of the drought, but they also acknowledge any measure like this is difficult to push through to legislation. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives already shut down a similar bill last year, and the same could happen with this one. Conservationists continue to warn drastic action is needed to rescue the Golden State from its current course.
Via The Verge