On April 16th, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife, and Representative Scott Peters (D-San Diego) introduced the Drought Relief Obtained Using Government Help Today (DROUGHT) Act, legislation to help alleviate the Western water crisis caused by the long-term drought conditions affecting the Colorado River and its reservoirs. The bill would allow federal government loans to take on a greater share of the rising cost of water infrastructure projects. 

The DROUGHT Act would allow drought-impacted and underserved communities to both draw down additional federal funds and remain eligible for long-term, low-interest WIFIA loans. It does not affect the obligation of borrowers to repay their loans, the timeline for repayment, or interest rates of applicable loans. 

The bill is being co-sponsored by Representatives Nanette Barragán (D-Long Beach) and Raul Ruiz (D-El Centro) in the House of Representatives.