Nine More Counties Placed Under Emergency Drought Declaration
Governor Gavin Newsom signed another drought state of emergency proclamation on Thursday.
The declarations tacks on nine more counties, bringing the total number under emergency orders up to 50, out of California's 58 counties. Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, San Bernardino and Ventura counties are currently not included in the drought emergency.
The declaration gives the state the power to curtail water use. For now, though, conservation is voluntary.
Newsom signed an executive order to encourage reduction of water use by 15%, not only for residences, but also for industrial, commercial, and agricultural use.
"Like reducing the amount of irrigation, the water you're doing out on your lawns for example. Reducing perhaps the time that you are in a shower. I'm not eliminating that time... I'm not here as nanny state... we're not here trying to be oppressive. Again, these are voluntary standards," Newsom said.
He told reporters that this year's state budget allocates $5.1 billion for drought mitigation, and he expects more counties to come under emergency orders.
Officials say climate change is exacerbating conditions, with temperature readings from the U.S. Drought Monitor this year up to 17 degrees higher than average in the Western states.