Drought in California

A Secret Service agent looks over a parched field as President Obama visited the region to discuss California’s drought. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / February 14, 2014)

By Anthony York
February 19, 2014, 8:14 p.m.

SACRAMENTO — A proposed $687.4-million drought-relief package was unveiled Wednesday to free up water supplies and aid Californians facing financial ruin.

The proposal presented by Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders would provide millions of dollars to clean up drinking water, improve conservation and make irrigation systems more efficient.

“We really don’t know how bad the drought is going to be,” Brown said to reporters at the state’s emergency operations center.

The plan contains money for emergency food and housing for those out of work because of the drought, including farmworkers, and to provide emergency drinking water to communities in need.

Under the legislation, which could be enacted within weeks, the State Water Resources Control Board would be directed to find ways to expand the use of recycled water and storm-water runoff.

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