Newsom Declares Drought Emergency Across California

Gov. Gavin Newsom today declared a drought emergency for the entire state of California, as conservation efforts continue to fall far short of state targets.

Newsom also authorized California’s water regulators to ban wasteful water use, such as spraying down public sidewalks, and directed his Office of Emergency Services to fund drinking water as needed. But he stopped short of issuing any statewide conservation mandates.

“As the western U.S. faces a potential third year of drought, it’s critical that Californians across the state redouble our efforts to save water in every way possible,” Newsom said in a statement.

Gavin Newsom Calls on Californians to Cut Water Use by 15%, Expands Drought Emergency

Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded his drought emergency declaration Thursday and called on Californians to reduce water consumption by 15%.

In a pair of emergency orders issued during an appearance at parched Lopez Lake near San Luis Obispo, the governor added nine more counties to the list of those covered by his emergency declaration from two months ago. That makes the drought official in 50 of the state’s 58 counties — essentially, everywhere except San Francisco and urban Southern California.

The counties added to the list: San Luis Obispo, Inyo, Marin, Mono, Monterey, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz. Extending the emergency to a broader area makes it easier for the State Water Resources Control Board to cut off water rights to farmers who pull water from rivers and streams.