Following the second driest year on record and with near record low storage in California’s largest reservoirs, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation on Tuesday extending the drought emergency statewide and further urging Californians to step up their water conservation efforts as the western U.S. faces a potential third dry year.
Bolstering conservation efforts, the proclamation enables the State Water Resources Control Board to ban wasteful water practices, including the use of potable water for washing sidewalks and driveways. Newsom issued an executive order in July calling on Californians to voluntarily reduce water use by 15% compared to 2020 to protect water reserves and complement local conservation mandates. The governor’s action comes as the Board reports that in August, California reduced urban water use by 5% compared to 2020.
“As the western U.S. faces a potential third year of drought, it’s critical that Californians across the state redouble our efforts to save water in every way possible,” Newsom said. “With historic investments and urgent action, the state is moving to protect our communities, businesses and ecosystems from the immediate impacts of the drought emergency while building long-term water resilience to help the state meet the challenge of climate change impacts making droughts more common and more severe.”
A copy of today’s proclamation can be found here.
The proclamation added the eight counties not previously included in the drought state of emergency: Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco and Ventura. In addition, the proclamation requires local water suppliers to implement water shortage contingency plans that are responsive to local conditions and prepare for the possibility of a third dry year.
Expanding the Save Our Water initiative, California has launched water conservation public education campaigns in partnership with stakeholders, including public water agencies. Statewide per capita residential water use declined 21% between 2013 and 2016 and as of 2020, the urban sector is using approximately 16% less on average statewide than in 2013.
California is experiencing its worst drought since the late 1800s, as measured by both lack of precipitation and high temperatures. August 2021 was the driest and hottest August on record since reporting began and the water year that ended last month was the second driest on record. Tuesday’s proclamation authorizes the governor’s Office of Emergency Services to provide assistance and funding under the California Disaster Assistance Act to support the emergency response and delivery of drinking water and water for public health and safety.
More information on the state’s response to the drought and informational resources available to the public are available at https://drought.ca.gov/.
The information above is from a press release obtained by The SCV Proclaimer.