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Interior secretary announces $260 million in water funding for California

April 15, 2009 |  1:02 pm

The Interior Secretary is in Sacramento today, touring drought conditions with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and announcing a major federal cash infusion to help Californians cope with them.

Secretary Ken Salazar announced this afternoon that President Obama's signature economic stimulus bill will bring $40 million to the state for "immediate emergency drought relief," including installing groundwater wells for farms and cities and several other measures.

The money is part of a $260-million water package for California and $1 billion in water spending nationwide.

“In the midst of one of the deepest economic crises in our history, Californians have been saddled with a drought that is putting tens of thousands of people out of work and devastating entire communities,” Salazar said in a press release. “President Obama’s economic recovery plan will not only create jobs on basic water infrastructure projects, but it will help address both the short- and long-term water supply challenges the Golden State is facing."

Read on for the full list of California water spending from the stimulus outlined in the interior secretary's press release:

-- $40 million for immediate emergency drought relief in the West, focused on California. These investments will allow for the installation of groundwater wells to boost water supplies to agricultural and urban contractors, the facilitation of the delivery of Federal water to Reclamation contractors through water transfers and exchanges, and the installation of rock barriers in the Sacramento Delta to meet water quality standards during low flows;

-- $109.8 million to build a screened pumping plant at the Red Bluff Diversion Dam to protect fish populations while delivering water to agricultural users irrigating approximately 150,000 acres;

-- $22.3 million to address dam safety concerns at the Folsom Dam near Sacramento, which is currently among the highest risk dams in the country for public safety;

-- $8.5 million to repair water-related infrastructure at Folsom Dam;

-- $20 million for the Contra Costa Canal to protect water supplies for 500,000 Californians and to build fish screens to restore winter-run Chinook salmon and the endangered Delta smelt;

-- $4.5 million to restore the Trinity River and honor the Federal government’s responsibility to the Native American Tribes;

-- $26 million for Battle Creek Salmon/Steelhead Restoration project, which will help restore fisheries that support thousands of jobs in northern California;

-- $4 million to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan for conveyance systems to move Central Valley Project and State Water Project water, habitat restoration and adaptive management;

-- $4 million to broaden scientific knowledge of Klamath River sedimentation for future management decision-making;

-- $20.7 million in smaller water infrastructure and related projects across California.

-- Jim Tankersley

Corrected, 5:04 p.m.: In a previous version of this post, the headline stated that the funding was entirely for drought aid. Only a portion of the funds are for drought relief.