Feb. 25 (UPI) — California Gov. Jerry Brown urged lawmakers to provide the funds needed to increase flood protection following the Orville dam fracture.
Following heavy winter rains in the state, Brown said $437 million is needed for flood-related projects. During a press conference in Sacramento on Friday, he asked lawmakers in Washington to approve $387 million in water bond money, with the remaining $50 million coming from existing general fund money.
“The recent storms have had a real impact,” he said. “We’ve got dam spillways eroding. We’ve got roadways crumbling. We have aging infrastructure and it’s maxed out.”
The $387 million would be used to fund high-priority flood prevention projects including reducing urban flood risks, maintaining levees and building levee setbacks through June 2018.
The other $50 million would be directed toward immediate needs like stockpiling sandbags and other flood-fighting equipment and funding ways to improve communication between government agencies.
Brown visited the Orville Dam on Wednesday and said the state faces $187 billion in unmet infrastructure needs.
“There is real work to be done,” he said. “We got to belly up to the bar and start spending money.”
State Resources Secretary John Laird sent letters to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation encouraging increased inspections of federally owned dams and updates for reservoir operating manuals.
“Over the next two years, California will spend over $1 billion on flood control projects,” he wrote. “It is our hope that the federal government can help us with its appropriate share.”