[QODLink]
Weather

California drought gets state aid

The worst dry spell in recorded history has brought a response from politicians.

Last updated: 20 Feb 2014 10:12
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
President Barack Obama pledged $160 million in federal assistance to farmers [EPA]

California has unveiled a $687 million relief plan aimed at helping the US state overcome the effects of the worst drought in recorded history.

Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal is designed to fund a clean-up of drinking water supplies, improve water conservation and make irrigation systems more efficient. Penalties for the illegal diversion of water supplies would also be increased.

The plan would make provision for emergency food and shelter for agricultural workers who have lost their jobs as a result of the effect the drought has had on the industry.

Last month, Governor Brown declared a drought emergency and called on consumers to cut their water consumption by 20%.

Agriculture remains a major contributor to the US’s most populous state’s economy. It is worth an estimated $37 billion each year. California is the world’s fifth largest supplier of food and agricultural commodities.

Visiting the San Joaquin Valley last week, President Barack Obama pledged $160 million in federal assistance to farmers.

Mr Obama linked the drought to climate change, saying that unless carbon pollution was curtailed such dry spells would grow more severe.

2013 was the driest year on record across California and 2014 continues that trend with most places recording their driest ever January. Temperatures were also well above average, breaking records set back in 1976.

Until recently the snow pack across the Sierra Nevada mountains, which supplies the bulk of the state’s drinking water, stood at just 15% of the long-term average. Despite significant snowfall in recent days, this deficit is likely to have a significant impact on water availability in the coming month.

The drought across the western side of the US is believed to be a result of the displacement of the jet stream which has, in turn, brought one of the coldest winters on record to many central and eastern parts of the US.

320

Source:
Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
Al Jazeera asked people across Scotland what they think about the prospect of splitting from the United Kingdom.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
join our mailing list