Governor Convenes Drought Task Force

Gov. Jerry Brown has directed state officials to begin meeting weekly to assess whether a drought declaration is needed.

Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin, State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus, California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross, and Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci were instructed to immediately convene an interagency Drought Task Force, in a Dec. 17 letter addressed to those officials.

The task force will review water allocations and the state’s preparedness, as well as coordinate with federal and local agencies.

“We must do everything we can to address the impacts of water shortages and move water from where it is available to where it is needed,” Brown wrote.

The governor mentioned actions such as a clearinghouse for water shortage information, regional assessments, infrastructure improvements and trucking water. Last spring Brown directed state agencies to cut red tape for voluntary water transfers.

The impetuses for the task force, Brown said, are this year’s record-dry conditions and the unusually low 5% initial allocation projected from the State Water Project. “The federal government likely will soon follow suit,” Brown wrote, referring to the Central Valley Project.

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