By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Gov. Jerry Brown announced he’ll spend nearly $700 million in a sweeping drought relief package to help those dealing with the worst water shortage in modern history.

The governor ramped up his words of warning for Californians: Conserve or beware.

“This is serious. Today is a call for action,” he said.

The governor chose the Office of Emergency Services, with its giant monitors tracking fire danger and forecasts, for his surprise announcement to unleash $689 million in water conservation funding.

Brown resisted calls for mandatory water rationing, but didn’t eliminate the possibility in the future.

“We’re going to take it step-by-step, but what needs to be done will be done,” he said.

The new funding plan comes a week after President Barack Obama’s visit to discuss federal aid for the California drought.

Now, a new round of state dollars will go to shovel-ready conservation projects.

Sacramento Regional Water Authority has grant applications already in place to build pipelines to connect neighboring water districts and rebate programs for more efficient water appliances.

“All we need now is the funding to get these programs started,” said Amy Talbot with the Sacramento Regional Water Authority.

Money to save every drop of water during this drought.

“You can’t manufacture water,” Brown said. “You can desalinate it, or you can capture and restore it and you can move it. Within those constraints, that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

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