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Conservation Groups Praise Drought Measures in President’s Budget Proposal

President Obama's budget proposals fully fund drought-fighting measures that are supported by conservation groups. (NOAA)
President Obama's budget proposals fully fund drought-fighting measures that are supported by conservation groups. (NOAA)
February 11, 2016

LOS ANGELES - California conservation groups are cheering President Obama's new budget proposal for fiscal year 2017 because it fully funds important anti-drought measures.

For example, the budget would put $2 million toward better instruments to measure the water flowing through the Klamath Basin. Brian Johnson, the California drought director for Trout Unlimited, says it's important to have a precise measurement of the water supply.

"It's good for us to see the support for better data," says Johnson. "It's hard for us to make good decisions on water if we don't know how much there is, and how much people are using. But that's exactly the kind of thing that's been hard to fund over the years."

The budget also increased the funding for conservation programs within the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make farming operations more water-efficient.

Jimmy Hague, director of the Center for Water Resources with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, is glad the budget fully funds the Bureau of Reclamation's Smart Water program.

"That would be helping us use ag water more efficiently, but also improving some of the infrastructure, like pipes and canals, so we can wring some more water out of the system," says Hague.

Congress will now debate the President's budget proposal and come up with a spending bill, which will be voted on this fall.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced her own bill that focuses on investing in water recycling and desalination.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA