A drought emergency has been declared for California. On Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom made a statement urging residents to use water responsibly. The statewide drought emergency declaration comes just a few months after the governor declared a drought emergency in selected counties.
“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 July, Newsom declared a drought emergency in most counties. The Tuesday declaration expanded this declaration to the entire state. The governor also urged residents to cut 15% of their daily water use and empowered the Water Resources Control Board to tackle water wastage practices such as washing sidewalks and driveways.
According to E. Joaquin Esquivel, the chair of the California water board, residents have been responsive in controlling water use. Esquivel says that the response from locals has been encouraging and helped conserve water.
Recent reports say the state should expect to receive some rain and snowfall towards the end of the month. However, this may not be enough to cure the drought that has lasted three years in some areas. Experts say that California would have to receive up to 140% of its average annual precipitation to end the drought.
California recently recorded its driest year in almost a century. According to the California Department of Water Resources, the 2021 year was the driest since 1924. Some places such as San Francisco have received less than half of their annual precipitation this year, a situation that has driven water shortages.
“[E]xtreme conditions that once were rare are occurring with increased frequency,” the Department of Water Resources said. “California’s climate is transitioning to a warmer setting in which historical relationships among temperature, precipitation and runoff are changing.”
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