A California drought relief plan is being pushed by some of the country’s largest technology companies and may ultimately be adopted by the Federal Reserve, according to people familiar with the matter.
In an interview with CNBC on Monday, IBM and Dell, two of the world’s largest companies, said they will work with state governments to develop a plan to help drought-stricken California.
They say the drought relief proposal will include “costs to build, install and manage water-efficient infrastructure” to help states in the drought respond to the threat of water shortages.IBM has already worked with state leaders to develop plans to help California, and it’s been widely seen as a major force behind the California plan.
Dell and IBM are also among the leading technology firms that are lobbying on the issue.
The plan is likely to be approved by the Fed in a matter of weeks, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private discussions.
The plans could help alleviate the worst drought conditions since California was hit by an El Nino event in 1997, which caused a drought that has forced more than 10 million people to flee their homes.
The companies also say the plan will help the federal government “combat climate change.”
“We can’t keep doing this, we can’t afford to keep doing it,” IBM’s president of global innovation, Mike Rokis, said at a conference in San Jose on Monday.
The water-saving measures are a first step to the Fed’s $85 billion program to buy government bonds to finance a wide array of infrastructure projects.
The Federal Reserve said last week it will buy $4.5 trillion in Treasury bonds this year.
The bond purchases will help reduce the costs of debt service for homeowners and businesses, as well as help boost economic growth in the nation’s second-largest economy.
In a statement on Monday to Reuters, Dell said it was “very committed to the drought response plan that the Fed and other agencies have put forward” and would “continue to work with our customers and partners to develop and implement the plan.”
The companies declined to say if they had any meetings with federal officials on the plan.
“Our focus is on providing state and local governments with the tools to respond effectively and quickly to the challenges they face,” Dell said.
The drought has already affected the state’s agriculture sector, which relies heavily on irrigation.
More than 20 percent of the state has lost crops this year, according the California Department of Water Resources, which said that number could double this year and increase in the coming months.