The state Senate approved $18 million for a state drought preparedness account on Thursday, the last day of the Legislature’s first special session.
Senate Bill 6125, which still needs to be approved by the House, would allow the Department of Ecology to begin emergency drought response.
Cities and other entities must get water from a source that will receive less than 75 percent of its normal water supply to be eligible to apply for money, and the lack of water is expected to cause an undue hardship to the entity or fish and wildlife.
“As lawmakers we need to do everything we can to assist the state’s agricultural community. I’m hopeful that the House of Representatives will act quickly to get this bill to the governor’s desk,” Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, sponsor of the bill, said in a statement.
Any unused money from the account would go toward the state’s disaster preparedness account if a drought is not declared in 2016.