Governor asks Californians to reduce water usage 15%
Gov. Gavin Newsom extended emergency drought declarations to nine additional counties, including Santa Barbara County, Thursday.
Of the state’s 58 counties, 50 are under the emergency declaration — or around 42% of the state’s population. The only areas not included are San Francisco and most of Southern California.
The governor also signed an executive order, urging all Californians to voluntarily cut their water usage 15%. The order extends beyond residences to commercial and agricultural settings as well.
He gave examples of “common sense” reductions, like cutting back on irrigation to plants and only running the dishwasher when it’s full. More ideas are available at saveourwater.com.
“We’re not trying to be oppressive. Again, these are voluntary standards,” Gov. Newsom said in a press conference at Lopez Lake near San Luis Obispo .
He referenced the 2013-2016 drought, when the state imposed mandatory efforts. Californians have cut back water usage 16% since 2013.
Local water municipalities within the emergency declaration can address issues more urgently with fewer “hurdles.”
Gov. Newsom lauded the potential for a $5.1 billion budget for water resources, though the legislature has yet to approve an investment this large.