Yesterday afternoon Governor Newsom expanded the state’s drought emergency proclamation to include 30 percent of the state’s population, a total of 41 counties, which are now under a drought state of emergency. The 39 counties added were: Del Norte, Humboldt, Siskiyou, Trinity, Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Kern, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Modoc, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Benito, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Solano, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Tuolumne, Yolo and Yuba counties. Additionally, the proclamation provides new authority for the existing drought emergency announced on April 21 for Mendocino and Sonoma counties.
The Governor’s proclamation directs the State Water Board to consider modifying requirements for reservoir releases and diversion limitations to conserve water upstream later in the year to maintain water supply, improve water quality and protect cold water pools for salmon and steelhead. The state of emergency also enables flexibilities in regulatory requirements and procurement processes to mitigate drought impacts and directs state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water from one water right holder to another, enabling available water to flow where it is needed most.
The Governor’s executive action last month directed state agencies to partner with local water suppliers to promote conservation through the Save Our Water campaign, a critical resources for Californians during the 2012-2016 drought. Some municipalities have already adopted mandatory local water-saving requirements, and many more have called for voluntary water use reductions.
Actions taken by the Administration to address drought to date include:
- Identifying water suppliers at extreme financial risk that may need additional support due to the combined impacts of COVID and drought.
- Updating the Department of Water Resources’ Dry Well website, which tracks voluntarily reported supply issues by counties.
- Streamlining water transfer processes.
- Issuing letters from the State Water Resources Control Board to water right holders, urging them to plan for potential shortages by reducing water use and adopting practical conservation measures.
- Completing the state’s first drinking water needs assessment in which the State Water Board identified small water systems and domestic wells that are failing or at risk of failing to meet the state’s drinking water standards. By working toward solutions with these systems, we are improving their drought resiliency.
You can click here to view the Governor’s press release, and click here to learn more about California’s drought response. For any questions, please reach out to Louie Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.