Governor Expands Drought Declaration, Calls for 15% Voluntary Conservation by ACWA Staff Jul 9, 2021 Water News On July 8, Gov. Newsom issued both a Proclamation that expands the state’s drought emergency to include nine additional counties and an Executive Order calling for Californians to voluntarily reduce water use by 15% compared to 2020 levels. The drought emergency, which now covers 50 of the state’s 58 counties, 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. Newsom’s conservation request applies to residential, industrial, commercial, agricultural and institutional water users. He tasked the State Water Resources Control Board with tracking and reporting monthly on the state’s progress toward achieving a 15% reduction in statewide urban water use as compared to 2020 use. “ACWA applauds the Governor’s leadership on the state’s drought response. The voluntary approach to reducing water use emphasizes the need for Californians to do their part to use water wisely but also provides local water managers with appropriate discretion based on local water supply conditions,” said ACWA Executive Director Dave Eggerton. On another front, Newsom and legislative leaders recently reached a tentative agreement to provide more than $2 billion for drought infrastructure funding. ACWA staff has been advocating extensively for investments in water infrastructure through state and federal funds. This advocacy has included strong support for conveyance, SGMA implementation, groundwater remediation, recycled water projects, and other funding categories. In addition to extensive advocacy, ACWA has a developed and compiled a number of drought-related resources, including: Website: ACWA’s dedicated webpage, acwa.com/drought, has links to drought resources, including proclamations, water agency efforts in resiliency and communications tools. Agency summaries: The webpage, acwa.com/drought-response, features a summary of various member agencies’ drought responses, including mandatory or voluntary conservation orders and links to agencies’ Water Shortage Contingency Plans. The site has served as an information clearinghouse for the media and policymakers. Communications tools: Members 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. The following tools are available to assist member agencies as they engage with customers and stakeholders at the local level (some require member login to access). Drought talking points Agriculture-related talking points A drought messaging webinar on June 30 featured representatives from the California Water Efficiency Partnership and California Farm Water Coalition sharing lessons learned from the previous drought and how urban and agricultural agencies can best communicate to their customers and stakeholders about drought. A recording of this webinar is available online. “Increasing Climate Resiliency” handout for use with customers 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.