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California unveils legislation to help deal with drought

Feb. 19, 2014 at 5:56 PM

SACRAMENTO, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- California officials Wednesday unveiled a $687.4 million plan to help the state cope with its severe drought.

Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders said the proposal would provide funds for direct relief for farm workers who will likely be out of a job for an extended period as growers cut back on their planting.

In addition, the legislation provides funding for water-conservation projects and a public-awareness campaign to remind Californians it is shaping up to be a long, dry summer.

"This is a call to action," Brown said in a written statement. "We must all do our part to conserve in this drought. The state is doing its part by providing immediate finding for drinking water, food, housing and assistance for water-conserving technologies."

The package includes $40 million from the state's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Fund that will be transferred to state's agriculture and water departments to help pay for various conservation and water infrastructure projects.

The measures also include provisions making it easier for the state to enforce water laws and halt illegal diversions of water from state water delivery systems.

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