SACRAMENTO–In the state budget soon to be sent to Governor Gavin Newsom for his signature is $9.25 million to support the Atmospheric Rivers Research, Mitigation, and Climate Forecasting Program in the Department of Water Resources (DWR), funding originally requested by AB 557, a bill by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa).
“Water is the lifeblood of our $50 million agricultural sector and nearly all of us rely on these systems for flood protection and to transport water from the mountain regions, where most of the rain and snow falls, to the valleys that support agriculture, and to the coastal areas where a majority of Californians live and work,” said Wood.
Existing law established this research program and requires the DWR, once funds become available, to research climate forecasting and the causes and impacts that climate change has on atmospheric rivers, to operate reservoirs in a manner that improves flood protection and to operate flood control and water storage facilities to capture water generated by atmospheric rivers.
“Climate change has made this pattern more extreme and is making decisions by water managers more difficult,” said Wood. "As we experience larger and more intense atmospheric rivers, followed by longer and more severe droughts, our ability to accurately predict when, where, and how these weather patterns will affect our state’s water supply is critical to protecting our economy and our safety.”
AB 557 was introduced earlier this year to obtain the $9.25 million in funding, and although held by the Assembly Appropriations Committee, the funding was placed in the budget. This funding is expected to stand, however, the Governor has until June 30 to review all line items in the budget.
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