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Governor Schwarzenegger Signs Legislation to Strengthen Flood Protections in California

Oct 10, 2007

Governor Schwarzenegger today announced that he has signed legislation that will strengthen flood protections in California. The legislative package will lead to the development of a comprehensive Central Valley Flood Protection Plan. It will also reform the Reclamation Board to improve efficiency, require cities and counties to increase consideration of flood risks when making land use decisions and create a new standard in flood protection for urban development in the region.

"I have always said public safety is my number one priority, and the package of bills I am signing today will tremendously strengthen flood protection in California," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "California's Central Valley has thousands of miles of levees protecting millions of residents and we expect millions more in the coming decades. We want to make sure the tragedies of Hurricane Katrina do not happen here if there is an earthquake or other natural disaster. That is why we will establish 200-year flood protection as the standard for urban developments in the Central Valley so our growth will be safe growth."
The following bills have been signed into law:

  • AB 156  by Assemblymember John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) – Changes various provisions of the Water Code related to operation of the state-federal flood control projects in the Central Valley.
  • SB 5 by Senator Mike Machado (D-Linden) – Requires the Department of Water Resources and the Central Valley Flood Protection Board to prepare and adopt a Central Valley Flood Protection Plan by 2012, and establishes flood protection requirements for local land-use decisions consistent with the Central Valley Protection Plan.
  • AB 162 by Assemblymember Lois Wolk (D-Davis) - Requires cities and counties to address flood-related matters in the land use, conservation, safety, and housing elements of their general plans.
  • SB 17 by Senator Dean Florez (D-Shafter) – Reforms and renames the Reclamation Board to improve proficiency, and requires development of State Plan of Flood Control for the Central Valley.
  • AB 70 by Assemblymember Dave Jones (D-Sacramento) – Provides, generally, that a city or county may be required to contribute a fair and reasonable share of the increased flood liability caused by its unreasonable approval of developments following the failure of a state flood control project.

AB 5 Assemblymember Lois Wolk (D-Davis) – Makes clarifying and technical changes to the preceding bills.

Governor Schwarzenegger has been committed to doing everything necessary to rebuild our aging levee system and protect Californians from dangerous floods that could harm communities, agriculture and water supplies.

"Last year, Californians made the commitment to invest nearly $5 billion to secure our levees when we passed Propositions 1E and 84. Today's bills are the next step in ensuring a safe future for our state," continued the Governor.

In May of 2006, the Governor signed AB 140 , the $4 billion levee repair and flood control bond element of the Strategic Growth Plan that California voters approved to fund urgent repairs and essential improvements of levees and other flood control facilities in the Central Valley and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. These funds will also leverage federal and local dollars to fund flood prevention projects and improve disaster preparedness. He also signed AB 142 that appropriated $500 million from the general fund to the Department of Water Resources for levee evaluation and repair.

In February of 2006, the Governor declared a State of Emergency for California's levee system and ordered the California Department of Water Resources develop a plan to begin immediate repairs to prevent catastrophic flooding and loss of life. The Governor's emergency declaration allowed state agencies to begin repair work immediately by fast-tracking State environmental permits and utilizing emergency contracting procedures. As a result and with funding from AB 142, thirty-three of the most vulnerable levee sites in Northern California were repaired.

© 2006 State of California