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California Drought Emergency Declared

Governor Brown has 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.

Patch file photo
Patch file photo
—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. 



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Tom McAfee January 17, 2014 at 01:02 PM
"I’m calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible.” -- Well, Jerry, how about a moratorium on fracking for starters, or better yet, a permanent BAN on this insanity?? The process uses enormous amounts of water, pollutes what's left, and extracts toxic hydrocarbons that will make this current drought seem like a minor inconvenience compared to what further carbon burning will cause in the future.
Elvis January 17, 2014 at 02:47 PM
great post. stopping all fracking activities in california would save a lot of water. plus that would give scientists time to study the issues and then media could publish the results and the government officials could prohibit/regulate fracking as needed.
Guy Meyer January 18, 2014 at 05:07 PM
Time to take the necessary step of changing our 'growth policies' of developers and the state - defining economic growth by housing starts is a path to disaster. Moratorium on all new water hookups. A much needed opportunity to redefine our future.

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