President Obama unveiled a $183 million aid package to states suffering from a drought, in Fresno, Calif., Friday.
The aid includes money for ranchers in California who have lost livestock, communities that are running out of water and farmers that need help conserving scarce water resources.
“Everybody, from farmers to industry to residential areas to the north of California, the south of California and every place in between, as well as the entire western region, are going to have to start rethinking how we approach water for decades to come,” the president said.
The president said $100 million in aid can be used by ranchers to feed their livestock when fields dry up, for example.
The president will make $60 million in Agriculture Department funds available to food banks in California's driest towns, and students who qualify for free and reduced price lunch during the school year will be able to eat meals at 600 locations in drought-stricken areas this summer. Other programs announced included $5 million to stabilize dry stream banks, and small community water districts set to run out of water in the next 60 to 120 days will be able to apply for $3 million in grants.
Additionally, Obama instructed the Interior Department to gives water contractors “flexibility” to meet their obligations, and said a temporary moratorium will be placed on water use by federal agencies in affected states for new, “non-essential” landscaping projects.