California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday expanded his April 21 proclamation of drought emergency to 39 additional water parched counties.
The declaration now adds Colusa and most of Northern California where Newsom said accelerated action is needed to protect public health, safety, and the environment.
In total, 41 counties are under the drought state of emergency, representing 30 percent of the state’s population.
Newsom said Monday that early warm temperatures and extremely dry soils have further depleted the expected runoff water from the Sierra-Cascade snowpack, resulting in historic and unanticipated reductions in the amount of water flowing to major reservoirs, especially in Klamath River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and Tulare Lake Watershed counties.
“With the reality of climate change abundantly clear in California, we’re taking urgent action to address acute water supply shortfalls in northern and central California while also building our water resilience to safeguard communities in the decades ahead,” Newsom said in a statement. “We’re working with local officials and other partners to protect public health and safety and the environment, and call on all Californians to help meet this challenge by stepping up their efforts to save water.”
The Governor’s executive action has directed state agencies to partner with local water suppliers to promote conservation through the “Save Our Water” campaign, a critical resource for Californians during the 2012-2016 drought.
State officials said some municipalities have already adopted mandatory local water-saving requirements, and many more have called for voluntary water use reductions.
“It’s time for Californians to pull together once again to save water,” said California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot, in a statement. “All of us need to find every opportunity to save water where we can: limit outdoor watering, take shorter showers, turn off the water while brushing your teeth or washing dishes. Homeowners, municipalities, and water diverters can help by addressing leaks and other types of water loss, which can account for over 30 percent of water use in some areas.”
Colusa County Board of Supervisors Chairman and Supervisor Denise Smith had already been working on a local declaration of drought emergency after the governor’s April proclamation authorized emergency regulations that greatly curtailed local water deliveries without providing state funding.
Evans said Tuesday that he and Smith would review the impacts of Newsom’s newest drought emergency and work from there.
“We need to see what it will do for us as opposed to us,” Evans said. §