Schwarzenegger announces $5.9 billion plan to battle drought

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced a $5.9 billion plan to prepare for his state’s almost-certain continued drought and population boom. Taking the need to douse Big Agriculture as a given, Schwarzenegger called for construction of new reservoirs and dams — but, true to his Greeninator reputation, he also gave a nod to river restoration and conservation. California water policy is famously controversial, with farmers, greens, and local water districts often vehemently disagreeing; the San Joaquin Delta, source of water for two-thirds of Californians and home to endangered salmon and smelt, is a particular hotspot. Schwarzenegger has recently hinted at building a peripheral canal to carry water around the delta, an idea that came up in 1982 and was trounced by greens who feared diverted water would suck the delta dry. The leader of the state Senate has offered a competing water plan; once a final proposal is hammered out, voters could have their say as early as February.