Governor Brown: Drought Declaration Certain, But Timing is Not - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Governor Jerry Brown: Drought Declaration Certain, But Timing is Not

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Governor Jerry Brown made a stop in Fresno during a two-day swing to gather support and input over his latest budget plan.

But inevitably, time and again, the focus shifted to the issue of water—or a lack of it.

Central Valley growers and lawmakers pressed Governor Brown on declaring a drought.

While he did commit to signing a declaration, he didn't say when he would do this.

"I say it's coming... just wait," he told reporters, during a news conference at Fresno City Hall. "My staff and administration are preparing the appropriate papers to do what is necessary."

A drought declaration would ease restrictions and water transfers--increasing access to more water for growers in a year of a severe drought.

In November, growers were told by the Department of Water Resources they would only receive five percent of the water they have requested.

Some growers and lawmakers shared their concerns with Brown during a morning meeting at the headquarters for the Westlands Water District.

Many echoed the warning that without a declaration, the Central Valley faces a "potentially catastrophic year."

"It gave valley farmers, electeds and water managers a good opportunity to tell him first hand, not just what's happening economically, but also the human side of what all this means," said Assemblyman Henry T. Perea, a democrat from the 31st District.  

But Brown says there's more to the declaration than simply hearing their concerns.

"The way they view it is different than people in other parts of the state," said Brown.

Brown told growers that he's waiting for information from the Federal Government, too, "I thought the federal government was being slow," he said.

He's also waiting on his own staffers.

"I asked what they were waiting for, and they gave a credible answer," he said, but wouldn't further explain the comment.

While Brown did not provide specifics on what the drought declaration could include, he did hint that any declaration would have widespread implications across the state.

"The cities and everyone else needs to use water as efficiently as possible," he said.

KMPH Fox 26 News did press Governor Brown on the future of the proposed $11 billion water bond.

It has already been shelved twice, and had been expected to be on the ballot in November.

The bond would pay for water storage facilities, which could help in years when there's not as much rainfall.

Brown said he's not sure that voters would be willing to fund a bond at that level. 

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