Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown ‘not ready’ for mandatory water restrictions in drought

Rep. Doris Matsui and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell look at work being done at the Folsom dam as Jay Emami with the Bureau of Reclamation gives them a tour of the construction Friday.
Rep. Doris Matsui and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell look at work being done at the Folsom dam as Jay Emami with the Bureau of Reclamation gives them a tour of the construction Friday. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Gov. Jerry Brown said Friday that he remains reluctant to impose mandatory water restrictions on Californians, saying the state is doing “pretty well” conserving water voluntarily as it enters a fourth year of drought. Brown’s remarks came as U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced additional funding for drought relief projects in the West, including about $29 million for California’s Central Valley Project.

Brown appealed to residents in January 2014 to reduce water use by 20 percent, a threshold the state first met in December.

“I think we’re doing pretty well,” the Democratic governor said at a news conference at the Capitol. “I’m not ready for mandatory restrictions.”

Brown added that he is “reluctant to expand the coercive power of state authority, so wherever we can engage a voluntary citizenship, I’m for that.”

Jewell appeared with Brown in Sacramento for the announcement of additional drought-related funding. It will pay for increased drought monitoring, groundwater banking and habitat conservation.

Asked about the significance of a relatively small amount of money, Brown said he is “pretty happy” to get the allocation.

More important, he said, was Jewell’s presence, which Brown called an “important indicator that California and the federal government are good partners.”

Call David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1215. Follow him on Twitter @davidsiders.

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