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California Takes Action to Prepare for the Upcoming Wet Season

WHAT TO KNOW: $95 million in funding from the 2023-24 state budget was recently made available to support flood preparedness and recovery projects in at-risk communities. The state is providing local partners with flood fighting materials and training, and supporting pre-season emergency response coordination across California.

SACRAMENTO – During Flood Preparedness Week, Governor Gavin Newsom highlighted the state’s ongoing work to prepare for another potential wet winter, including more flood fighting materials prepositioned in vulnerable communities and $95 million in funding recently made available for various projects to repair levees, enhance flood diversion and recharge capacity, and support communities impacted by record flooding this year.

This funding is in addition to the $40 million that was previously provided to the communities of Pajaro and Planada for flood relief this summer, including direct relief to residents and workers regardless of documentation and citizenship status. The Governor, in partnership with the Legislature, invested a total of $436 million in the most recent budget to support flood response and projects to protect communities from future flooding.

What Governor Newsom said: “As we head into another wet season, the state is moving quickly to shore up protections for at-risk communities, continue supporting impacted residents, and invest in the tools needed to meet the challenges of extreme weather across the state.”

The $95 million in funding highlighted today includes:

  • $67 million for DWR to support critical repair of levees impacted by the storms and flood diversion and recharge enhancements.
  • $14 million to the State Water Resources Control Board to support domestic wells impacted by flooding.
  • $11.7 million in additional funding for the Storm Assistance for Immigrants project to support direct assistance to Californians experiencing hardship due to the storms from December 2022 through April 2023 and who are ineligible for federal assistance due to immigration status.
  • $2.3 million to begin the next phase of a project to repair damage to the Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory in Tulare County operated by the University of California.

Here’s what else the state is doing:

  • The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has more flood fighting materials pre-positioned at more locations, including 2.4 million more sandbags this water year.
  • The State-Federal Flood Operations Center is supporting pre-season emergency response coordination across the state to give local counties and communities the resources and training needed to respond to potential flooding.
  • DWR and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation are closely coordinating to ensure the state’s reservoirs have flood space available under a second year of flood conditions, and store as much water as possible.
  • Earlier this month, the Governor signed AB 876 by Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, an urgency measure to expedite critical levee upgrades and speed up construction of the Pajaro River Flood Risk Management Project, while maintaining important environmental and water quality protections. The Governor previously signed legislation in 2021 and 2022 to advance funds for the project and cover up to 100 percent of non-federal costs.
  • DWR supports forecast-informed reservoir operations (FIRO) assessments, which use improved weather and water forecasts to help reservoir operators decide when to release or hold water.
  • Forecasting and warning data from tools and research developed by DWR and academic partners this year help keep partner agencies and the public up to date on potential flood threats during storms and inform emergency response efforts.

DWR is participating in events this week to raise public awareness of flood risk and highlight the work by state, federal and local partners to protect communities. More information can be found here.

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