Gov. Newsom Expands Drought Emergency Statewide, Urges Californians to Increase Water Conservation Efforts

Proclamation authorizes the National Water Board to ban unnecessary uses of water, bolstering conservation efforts

SACRAMENTO – After the second driest year on record and with near-record storage in California’s largest reservoirs, Governor Gavin Newsom today issued a proclamation extending the statewide drought emergency and urging Californians to step up their water conservation efforts as the western United States faces a potential third year drought.

By bolstering conservation efforts, the proclamation allows the state’s Water Resources Control Board to ban water-wasting practices, including the use of potable water to wash sidewalks and driveways. The governor issued an executive order in July calling on Californians to voluntarily reduce their water use by 15% from 2020 to protect water supplies and complement local conservation mandates. The governor’s action comes today as the Council reports that in August, California reduced its urban water use by 5% from 2020.

“As the western United States faces a potential third year of drought, it is critical that Californians across the state redouble their efforts to conserve water in every way possible,” said the Governor Newsom. “With historic investments and urgent action, the state is working to protect our communities, businesses and ecosystems from the immediate impacts of drought while building long-term water resilience to help the state meet the challenge of the impacts of climate change making droughts more common and more severe.

A copy of today’s proclamation can be found here.

The proclamation adds the eight counties that were not previously included in the state of drought emergency: Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco and Ventura. Additionally, the proclamation requires local water providers to implement water shortage contingency plans that meet local conditions and prepare for the possibility of a third dry year.

Expand the Save our water initiative, a critical resource during the last drought, California has launched strong public education campaigns on water conservation in partnership with stakeholders, including public water agencies. Per capita residential water use statewide declined by 21% between 2013 and 2016, and as of 2020, the urban sector uses about 16% less on average across the state. Status as of 2013. The Administration will continue to monitor changing drought conditions and assess all available tools to respond in real time.

California is experiencing its worst drought since the late 1800s, measured by both lack of rainfall and high temperatures. August 2021 was the driest and warmest August on record since reporting began and the hydrologic year that ended last month was the second driest on record. Today’s proclamation authorizes the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to provide assistance and funding under the California Disaster Assistance Act to support emergency response and the provision of clean drinking water and water for public health and safety.

The governor’s return plan in California invests $ 5.2 billion over three years to support immediate drought response and long-term water resilience, including $ 815 million for emergency relief projects drought to secure and expand water supplies, drought contingency planning and multi-benefit land reallocation projects; support for drinking water and sanitation infrastructure, with an emphasis on small, disadvantaged communities; Implementation of the law on sustainable management of groundwater to improve the safety and quality of water supply; and projects to support wildlife and habitat restoration efforts, among other nature-based solutions.

More information on the state’s response to drought and publicly available information resources are available at https://drought.ca.gov/.

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