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California Drought Emergency Declared

—Submitted by California Gov. Jerry Brown's Office

With California facing water shortfalls in the driest year in recorded state history, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today proclaimed a State of Emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for these drought conditions.

“We can’t make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas,” said Governor Brown. “I’ve declared this emergency and I’m calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible.”

In the State of Emergency declaration, Governor Brown directed state officials to assist farmers and communities that are economically impacted by dry conditions and to ensure the state can respond if Californians face drinking water shortages. The Governor also directed state agencies to use less water and hire more firefighters and initiated a greatly expanded water conservation public awareness campaign (details at saveourh2o.org). 

In addition, the proclamation gives state water officials more flexibility to manage supply throughout California under drought conditions.

State water officials say that California’s river and reservoirs are below their record lows. Manual and electronic readings record the snowpack’s statewide water content at about 20 percent of normal average for this time of year.

The Governor’s drought State of Emergency follows a series of actions the administration has taken to ensure that California is prepared for record dry conditions. In May 2013, Governor Brown issued anExecutive Order to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water and water rights. In December, the Governor formed a Drought Task Force to review expected water allocations, California’s preparedness for water scarcity and whether conditions merit a drought declaration. Earlier this week, the Governor toured the Central Valley and spoke with growers and others impacted by California’s record dry conditions.

To read the full text of the emergency proclamation, please click here. 
Just One Vote January 17, 2014 at 02:40 PM
Finally Gov. Brown realized all this gorgeous weather comes at a high price: redwood trees distressed by not enough fog/rain; salmon distressed by no spawning stream access; farmers distressed by inadequate irrigation water for crops; high fire danger in watershed areas resulting in potential mud slides; record low Sierra snowpack limiting recharge of valley ground waters and salt water intrusion into aquifers threatening our local drinking water. It’s beyond me why our local and state politicians haven’t taken a stronger stand recognizing the problem and mandating conservation measures. The answer may be that we continue to re-elect officials who tell us what we want to hear rather than educating us on what we need to know. Maybe the fault is ours for not speaking up to demand action on an issue that affects everyone regardless of age, beliefs, social position, financial status or political affiliation. Better late than never, Gov. Brown. Thank you for finally recognizing what the rest of us have been enduring.

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