State may be drenched, but ‘drought’ label remains on Valley and it’s partly about money

Keeping those four counties under a drought declaration ensures money continues to flow for emergency drinking water projects to help water-short communities address dry or contaminated wells, the governor’s order said.
The governor’s order said most of the conditions that prompted his drought declarations of 2014 and 2015 have diminished.
Indeed, another storm was moving through California as the governor issued his order.
“Conservation must become a way of life.” Within the four counties, most communities and farmers are not affected by the continued drought declaration, but small communities where wells have gone dry or there is no access to clean water are included, said water board officials.
For example, Gomberg said, “It allows us to continue the emergency measures, such as for bottled water or emergency hookups in East Porterville.” The State Water Resources Control Board announced Friday that it has approved up to $35 million in grants and loan forgiveness to connect East Porterville residents dealing with dry and contaminated wells to clean and reliable drinking water from the city of Porterville’s public water system.
Cities with ample water supplies will continue to live by state rules as other communities in California’s 54 other counties, state water officials said.
Being better stewards of our natural supplies is critical to securing a sustainable water future for California’s people, economy, and environment.” But a spokeswoman for Westlands Water District, the largest agriculture water district in the nation, said farmers had little choice but to pump water from the ground.
The district supplies water to farmers in Fresno and Kings counties as part of the Central Valley Project, a joint agreement between the federal government and the state.
In the last three years, the district’s farmers have received little to no water from the Central Valley Project.
“Water that typically has gone to the region has stayed in the delta for the protection of fish species.” Holman said the continued drought emergency won’t have an impact on Westlands farmers this year.

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