More than 80% of California is now in severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. (Courtesy of U.S. Drought Monitor)
More than 80 percent of California is now in severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. (Courtesy of U.S. Drought Monitor)

A day after the U.S. Drought Monitor reported that more than 80 percent of California is now experiencing extreme drought, the federal government is giving the state $9.7 million. The money will help California communities hit hardest by the severe dry spell, including Cloverdale in Sonoma County.

Much of the aid will help Californians whose wells have dried up connect to the municipal water supply. Some 73,000 Californians in 11 counties are expected to be impacted by the relief funding.

U.S. Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack is visiting the state today and says he’s witnessed the emotional toll the drought is taking on some Californians.

“If you don’t have an opportunity to talk with folks who are experiencing this on a day to day basis in a real way, you can sometimes lose sight,” he said.

He added that his department won’t have any more funds to hand out unless Congress passes the drought assistance bills championed by California’s legislators. The Obama administration says it has given more than $50 million to help Californians deal with the three-year drought.

“The best thing to happen would be for Congress to take action on the drought assistance bill,” Vilsack said. “(S)o that California and other states can better prepare for what are going to be very difficult circumstances with changing weather patterns.”

Here’s the project list from the USDA:

Recipient Project Description ECWAG Amount County
Jackson Valley Irrigation District Floating pump station, pipeline $500,000 Amador
River Pines Public Utility District Well replacement $392,000 Amador
New Auberry Water Assoc. Well and water hauling $400,000 Fresno
City of Huron Water allocation purchase $500,000 Fresno
City of Orange Cove Water allocation purchase $390,000 Fresno
Frazier Park Public Utility District Well replacement $500,000 Kern
Lake of the Woods Mutual Water Company Tank, pumps, well $500,000 Kern
Madera County Well replacement for Parkwood $500,000 Madera
Mariposa Public Utility District Purchase existing well, replace pump $181,470 Mariposa
Placer County Water Agency Connect Ophir Gardens $500,000 Placer
Mountain Gate Community Services District Well and Pipe Extension $289,000 Shasta
City of Montague Buying bottled water $200,000 Siskiyou
City of Cloverdale Deaeration treatment $285,000 Sonoma
Alpaugh Community Services District Well extension and pump $250,000 Tulare
Earlimart Public Utility District Well replacement $500,000 Tulare
Pixley Public Utility District Well replacement $500,000 Tulare
Terra Bella Irrigation District Water allocation purchase $287,100 Tulare
Teviston Community Services District Well repair and New well $500,000 Tulare
Tipton Community Services District Well replacement $500,000 Tulare
City of Farmersville Connect Cameron Creek Colony $500,000 Tulare
London Community Services District Well replacement $500,000 Tulare
Lindsay-Strathmore Irrigation District Water allocation purchase $65,500 Tulare
Poplar Community Services District Well extension and pump $462,000 Tulare
Strathmore Public Utility District Water allocation purchase $28,500 Tulare
Groveland Community Services District Water treatment plant $500,000 Tuolumne
TOTAL $9,730,570

The Associated Press and Katrina Schwartz contributed to this report.

Author

Olivia Allen-Price

Olivia Allen-Price is an interactive and engagement producer at KQED News. She has previously worked at The Baltimore Sun and The Virginian-Pilot. Talk to her about running, curly hair and playing the ukulele. Reach her @oallenprice or by email at ohubertallen@kqed.org.

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