- Associated Press - Monday, July 13, 2015

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Washington State officials say drought relief money is available to help address hardships from water shortages.

The Legislature has appropriated $16 million for drought relief and the Washington Department of Ecology is accepting grant applications for public projects that help with that effort.

The funds can be used to help protect public health and safety as well as to reduce economic or environmental impacts from water shortages.

Ecology Director Maia Bellon signed a drought emergency funding rule to make grant money available to public entities such as cities, public utilities and irrigation districts.

They can use the grants for a variety of projects, including modifying wells, purchasing water rights and building pipelines.

Gov. Jay Inslee declared a statewide drought in May.

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