Governor Issues Drought State of Emergency Proclamation

  • by ACWA Staff
  • Apr 21, 2021
  • Water News

Gov. Newsom today proclaimed a drought emergency in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, noting the severe conditions in the Russian River Watershed. The proclamation helps agencies access important resources and provides the State Water Resources Control Board with authority to adopt emergency regulations to curtail water rights in the counties. It does not include conservation mandates.

Newsom announced the drought emergency during a press conference from Lake Mendocino, which is at a record low, noting that not all regions of the state are experiencing the same extreme conditions. He said a targeted, sequential approach was appropriate, and he would extend the order as needed.

In conjunction with the emergency declaration, Newsom directed state agencies to take immediate action to bolster drought resilience and prepare for impacts on communities, businesses and ecosystems. These actions recognize the state’s strengthened drought resilience following California’s most recent drought.

ACWA member agencies continue to plan for and invest in projects and programs that diversify supplies and advance water use efficiency to prepare for drought and impacts of climate change on our state’s water resources. During the press conference, Newsom, Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot and State Water Board Chair Joaquin Esquivel noted the importance of partnerships with local water agencies and complimented Sonoma County Water Agency for its work with Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO).

“Local public water agencies take dry year conditions very seriously and plan for and invest in local solutions to ensure preparedness for dry years. ACWA stands ready to work collaboratively with members, and in partnership with the state and federal governments to protect and maximize our available water supplies,” said Executive Director Dave Eggerton.

In addition to extensive advocacy on water use efficiency proposals at the Legislature and at state agencies, ACWA has been working on several fronts to respond to emerging water efficiency and drought issues and to keep its members apprised of developments.

Activities include:

  • Resources: ACWA has launched a new website page, www.acwa.com/drought, to serve as a resource for member agencies looking for more information about drought issues. In addition, ACWA’s water use efficiency web page, www.acwa.com/water-use-efficiency, provides information about ongoing regulatory efforts, including the development of urban water use objectives.
  • Information clearinghouse:  ACWA will serve as an information clearinghouse for the media and public by sharing member agencies’ stories of investment in water management and drought resiliency. Share your stories by uploading to ACWA’s website at www.acwa.com/drought.
  • Communications toolkit: Member agencies are encouraged to educate their local communities about water resiliency investments and the importance of state and federal funding to improve aging water infrastructure and ensure a more reliable, resilient water supply. ACWA previously prepared a toolkit to assist member agencies as they engage with customers and stakeholders at the local level. Members can access the toolkit at https://www.acwa.com/resources/toolkit-to-help-members-with-drought-messaging/.
  • In addition, the Department of Water Resources’ Save Our Water campaign has a partner toolkit with videos, bill inserts, social media graphics and other materials (in English and Spanish) that water agencies can download and use to communicate with customers about water use efficiency.

 

 

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