Newsom Extends Drought Emergency Across State to Include Southern California

A Colorado River aqueduct. Courtesy of the San Diego County Water Authority

With water conservation efforts continuing to fall short, Gov. Gavin Newsom extended a drought emergency declaration statewide Tuesday, adding eight counties that were previously excluded, including all of Southern California.

“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. “With historic investments and urgent action, the state is moving to protect our communities, businesses and ecosystems from the immediate impacts of the drought emergency while building long-term water resilience to help the state meet the challenge of climate change impacts making droughts more common and more severe.”

The expanded declaration extends the emergency to eight counties that were previously excluded — Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, Ventura, Imperial and San Francisco.

When the original declaration was issued in July, Newsom issued a call for Californians to voluntarily cut back there water use by 15% below last year’s level. The latest state figures, however, showed that urban water use in August was cut by just 5%.

The emergency declaration requires local water suppliers to implement water shortage contingency plans to respond to local conditions and prepare for the possibility of another dry year.

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