Drought Assistance

California is experiencing an unprecedented drought. Precipitation and snowpack are a small fraction of their normal averages, reservoirs are at low levels and rivers have severely diminished flows. We face extreme water scarcity for an uncertain amount of time.

This growing crisis made it necessary for Governor Brown to declare a drought State of Emergency in January 2014. The Governor directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages and called on all Californians to reduce their water consumption by 20 percent. CSD has joined with the rest of the state in helping Californians cope with this unprecedented drought.

Supportive services for low-income workers in agriculture and ancillary industries

Regional Migrant & Seasonal Farmworker Agencies are able to offer supportive services to drought-impacted, low-income migrant and seasonal farmworkers, other low-income agricultural workers, low-income workers in industries ancillary to agriculture, and their families and households. These services can include housing assistance, utility assistance, food, transportation, and employment supportive services. Migrant and seasonal farmworkers whose employment in agriculture have been directly impacted by the state’s drought may also be eligible for employment training and job placement services. 

Do you qualify?

Qualifying individuals must meet certain eligibility and program requirements. Please contact your area's local Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Agency to determine eligibility. 

Contact a local provider for services.

If you are in need of drought assistance, contact the local Migrant & Seasonal Farmworker Agency in your county to check if drought services are offered* and if you qualify. To search by county, visit the Find Services in Your Area page.

* Services are offered in the counties of Fresno, Kern, King, Madera, Merced, Monterey, San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, Tulare and Yolo.

How is the drought assistance funded?

CSD-administered drought assistance programs for qualifying low-income Californians are funded by both state and federal monies. California’s 2016-17 State Budget  provided $7.5 million for the Drought Emergency Assistance Program that provides supportive services for low-income agricultural workers and their families affected by the drought. CSD drought assistance programs also leverage State General Funds and federal fund sources like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to provide additional services to drought impacted workers, such as health and safety improvements for households through residential weatherization and energy efficiency services. 


Governor Brown convened an interagency Drought Task Force to provide a coordinated assessment of the State’s dry conditions and provide recommendations on current and future state actions. The response to this statewide disaster requires the combined efforts of all state agencies and the state's model mutual aid system to address.

In addition to CSD's current drought assistance services, CSD piloted the Drought Water Assistance Program (DWAP) in 2014 and 2015 to assist drought impacted, low-income households with their residential water utility bill to prevent disruption in vital water services and to promote water conservation. CSD provided $1.2 million in CSBG Funding to CSBG agencies in 10 counties that were experiencing some of the worst drought impacts. CSBG agencies in these counties provided residential water financial assistance benefits and water conservation education to low-income households, and partnered with local water providers to enhance the effectiveness of outreach and coordinate payment of a client’s current, past due and/or disconnected water utility bills. This pilot program ended in December 2015.