Drought

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California's Actions to Combat Drought & How to Help

After two exceptionally dry winters, California is once again experiencing drought conditions. Although periodic drought is a natural part of our climate cycle, global climate change intensifies it. 

Most rain and snow fall occur in California from November through April. This precipitation fills our reservoirs and aquifers that we use to supply homes, businesses, and farms with water. It also provides a vital life source for fish and wildlife that rely on our rivers and wetlands.

 Visit the state’s dedicated page on California’s Drought Action. To learn more about water conservation, visit Save Our Water.

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State Actions to Combat Drought


Governor Gavin Newsom has taken significant steps to prepare Californians for evolving drought impacts. The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) has partnered with other state departments and agencies to form the Drought Resilience Taskforce. The Taskforce, led by the Governor’s Office, meets regularly to coordinate state response to drought.

In April 2021, Governor Newsom signed an emergency proclamation directing state agencies to take immediate action to increase drought resilience across the state. He also declared a State of Emergency in Mendocino and Sonoma counties due to severe drought conditions in the Russian River Watershed.

Just a month later, Governor Newsom would expand his drought emergency proclamation to include Klamath River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Tulare Lake Watershed counties where immediate action is needed to protect public health, safety, and the environment. Now, 41 counties are under a drought state of emergency, representing 30 percent of the state’s population.

In July 2021, Governor Newsom calls on Californians to reduce water use by 15% to help protect water reserves if drought conditions continue. Drought emergency proclamations expanded to include Inyo, Marin, Mono, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.

As part of California’s Comeback Plan, the Governor signed the 2021-22 state budget agreement, which includes funding for water resilience and drought response. Climate change is making droughts more common and more severe. 

The Governor’s Plan invests $5.1 billion over four years in drought support, water supply and natural habitat restoration projects around the state to build climate resilience in the face of more extreme cycles of wet and dry.

Ways You Can Help

Drought conditions present different, unique challenges to various portions of California. But there are things we can all do to limit the impacts of drought.
  • Limit showers to 5-minutes when possible 

  • Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth 

  • Only wash full loads of laundry 

  • Plant drought-resistant plants 

Local governments may have provided specific recommendations or restrictions for your area, visit their website for more information. For general tips on water conservation, visit Save Our Water.

 

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