Water Conservation Ordered: Gov Brown Declares Drought State Of Emergency In California

12:03 PM: Gov. Jerry Brown today proclaimed a drought state of emergency in what is expected to be the driest year on record in California.

Brown ordered state agencies to take actions to prepare for emergency conditions and called on Californians to reduce water consumption voluntarily by 20 percent.

“We have to recognize this is not a partisan adversary,” Brown said at a news conference in his office at the State Building in San Francisco.

“This is Mother Nature. We have to live within the resources we have,” the governor said.

Brown’s proclamation says state water supplies have dipped to “alarming levels,” with mountain snowpacks at 20 percent of normal for this time of year, reduced surface flow in rivers and significant drops in reservoir and groundwater levels.

The proclamation includes a series of executive orders requiring state agencies to aid affected farmers and communities by expediting water transfers and releasing stored water from reservoirs.

State agencies were also ordered to develop water conservation plans. The Department of Forestry will hire additional seasonal firefighters, Brown said.

Brown said he hopes to get federal aid to deal with the drought but said he did not know specifically what that aid might be.

Brown said he hopes the environmental analysis of his Delta Plan, which proposes two 35-mile tunnels to divert water to Central and Southern California, will speed up. Some conservationists and local officials have opposed the plan.

Brown said allocating water in California entails conflicts between northern and southern and urban and rural parts of the state, but said, “We all depend on one another.”

California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger said he welcomed the proclamation.

Wenger urged Brown to lead a campaign for increased water storage facilities to provide more flexibility in the face of volatile weather patterns.

“Conservation alone won’t solve our chronic water supply problems. California must commit to improve its water system,” Wenger said in a statement.

Outside the State Building, a group of about 25 members of several environmental groups chanted and carried signs urging Brown to end fracking in California. Fracking, the hydraulic fracturing of underground rock to release oil, uses millions of gallons of water.

David Turnbull, campaigns director for Oil Change International, said, “To allow water-intensive fracking for oil to continue in a drought is to deny the reality of what California’s farmers and communities are facing every day.”

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

9:56 AM: Gov. Jerry Brown today proclaimed a drought state of emergency in California.

“We have to recognize this is not a partisan adversary,” Brown said at a news conference in San Francisco this morning.

“This is Mother Nature. We have to live within the resources we have,” the governor said.

Brown said 2014 is projected to become the driest year on record in California.

His proclamation of a state of emergency includes a series of executive orders requiring state agencies to aid affected farmers and communities by expediting water transfers and releasing stored water from reservoirs.

The governor also ordered state agencies to implement water conservation plans and called on all Californians to reduce their water usage by 20 percent.

“We all depend on one another,” he said.

Brown said he hopes to get federal aid to deal with the drought but said he did not know specifically what that aid might be.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

9:44 AM: Gov. Jerry Brown today declared a drought in California and encouraged water conservation during what is expected to be the driest year on record in the state.

Brown made the declaration at a news conference in San Francisco this morning and also issued a proclamation directing state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for drought conditions.

According to the proclamation, snowpacks in California’s mountains are at about 20 percent of their normal average and the state’s reservoirs have dropped to very low levels.

The proclamation calls on all Californians to reduce their water usage by 20 percent and orders all state agencies to implement water use reduction plans, including placing a moratorium on “new, non-essential landscaping projects at state facilities and on state highways.”

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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  • sebra leaves

    Stopping fracking during a drought does sound like a good idea. Would you rather protect the state’s food supply or the oil and gas industry? You can’t easily cut back on food production and then go back to it when it rains.