As California's drought worsens, state grants for drought projects are a relief

Feb 23, 2022

Despite recent snowfall, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation confirmed that California’s drought is worsening and that weeks of dry weather wiped out many of the gains recorded during the rainy and snowy December. In the first two weeks of February, major reservoirs such as Shasta, Folsom, and Oroville lost an estimated 1.2 million acre-feet of inflow.

This is a timely reminder for cities that preparing for drought conditions is necessary, and for cities looking for funding for drought-related projects, the task just got easier. Information about the state’s drought relief and water conservation measures, including drought assistance programs, can be found at California Drought Action. Several funding opportunities, many of them funded by last year’s budget, are still available.  

  • The Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Funding supports drought relief projects that impact health and human safety, impact fish and wildlife, or restore water to those threatened with water loss or contamination. The California Department of Water Resources is currently accepting applications for projects that affect underrepresented communities. 
  • The Small Community Drought Relief Program helps communities that are not served by an urban water supplier — one that supplies at least 3,000 connections or 3,000 acre-feet of water per year. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds are awarded, or until Dec. 29, 2023, whichever comes first.
  • The Cleanup and Abatement Account Funding Program supports various projects throughout the year, such as water infrastructure repair or water delivery, that benefit disadvantaged communities.

The website also contains information about regulatory changes, assistance programs for families and farmers, current water conditions, and links to other resources. The website will be updated as more information becomes available.

Additionally, the California Department of Water Resources launched a statewide water condition dashboard. The new website tracks local water conditions, such as reservoirs, snowpack, and vegetation stress, in real-time. The dashboard also allows users to compare data by year and region. The tracker can be used when planning for water conservation, hazard mitigation, and other drought-related projects.