There are a number of factors to consider when declaring a state of emergency. After a dry water year, little to zero water allocations, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack declaring drought conditions in counties up and down the state and even the entire republican delegation sending letters Governor Gavin Newsom, Congressman Jim Costa said declaring drought can be tricky.
“Certainly the governor has the ability to declare a drought status but its tricky to understand the state and federal water projects, how they operate.” Costa said.
Congressman David Valadao was one member who signed off on the letter to Newsom urging action. In a statement he said, “It is imperative we do all we can as elected leaders to ensure our constituents, and the communities they live in, have access to the resources they need during this time, namely water. In order for all of us affected by this critical situation to get through it, we need the state government to be willing to help out as well. We cannot rely on the federal government alone. Please step up to the challenge and provide this designation so our farmers, agriculture workers, and communities can have some certainty and stability in an otherwise tumultuous and scary time.”
During a press conference, Costa was asked if he felt the same way as the other legislators with regard to declaring drought. Costa didn’t give an exact answer, however he did say he recently spoke with the Governor about several drought contingencies and that “there are other tools the governor has at his disposal to deal with these drought condition, but designating a drought triggers other actions that we may not think gives us the flexibility necessary the limited water that we do have behind our reservoirs,” Costa said.
Listen to the full report below.