Political Notebook

D.C. Democrats take another stab at water relief

California Democrats on Thursday opened up the taps on another bill designed to aid drought-stricken Western states. Its future is uncertain.

Introduced in both the House and Senate, the "W21: Water in the 21st Century" package includes an assortment of grants, loan guarantees, research aid and planning guidance. The money includes $150 million for regional water management, reclamation, and recycling projects grants, $9 million a year for water research and hundreds of millions of dollars for the EPA's "WaterSense" conservation program.

"Anyone who knows California knows that we have forever fought about water and it's time to change the story," Sen. Barbara Boxer said in a statement.

Boxer introduced the Senate version of the bill along with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is taking the lead in trying to negotiate another California drought relief package.

The new bill does not include the dam authorizations or restrictions on environmental protections included in a water bill approved earlier this year by the Republican-controlled House. The new bill's cost could also prove a stumbling point for some Senate Republicans.

Authors of the House version include Rep. Grace Napolitano, a Southern Californian who is the ranking Democrat on the House water and power subcommittee.