Nine more counties were added to California’s drought emergency declaration at a press conference near San Luis Obispo. Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, San Mateo, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Inyo, Marin, and Mono counties have all been added to the list. At Lopez Lake, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a declaration of emergency as well as an executive order related to drought.
“A total now of 50 of our 58 counties officially are now in an order that allows the ability for local water agencies as well as our state partners to be efficient and effective in terms of moving to address issues in real-time. In essence, clearing away a lot of the hurdles,” said Newsom. “This fundamental proclamation just simply allows for the capacity to do things that otherwise would be laborious and take time; to move more effectively and efficiently to address conditions as they take shape in real-time.”
The only counties where a drought emergency has yet to be declared are San Francisco, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial, and San Diego. Newsom explained that approximately 42 percent of the state’s population now falls under a drought emergency declaration. As part of the recent announcement, Californians are again being asked to reduce water use with the signing of an executive order. “That executive order specifically will lay out a framework to encourage voluntary water conservation efforts in the state of California,” Newsom stated.
Newsom said the goal is to reduce industrial, residential, and agricultural water use by 15 percent. When asked about measuring agricultural use, specifically using meters, Newsom indicated that the question has been raised frequently in recent months. “What the state simply does not know is jaw-dropping as it relates to that question. The fact that over decades we haven’t sought to get those answers is curious and questionable,” said Newsom.