California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCalifornia regulator proposes ban on oil drilling near schools, hospitals, homes Biden says he would tap National Guard to help with supply chain issues Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Nations plan to pump oil despite net zero promises MORE (D) called on residents of the state to cut their water use by 15 percent as the state expanded its drought emergency declaration to 50 of the state’s 58 counties.
The order does not make cuts to water use mandatory and instead suggests individual reductions such as one fewer day a week of outdoor watering, or less frequent use of washing machines. Newsom told reporters Thursday that the state was “encouraging people to do common-sense things,” according to The Sacramento Bee.
“The entire state is in a drought today, and to meet this urgent challenge we must all pull together and do our part to reduce water use as California continues to build a more climate-resilient water system to safeguard the future of our state,” Newsom said in a statement. “We’re proud of the tremendous strides made to use water more efficiently and reduce water waste, but we can all find opportunities this summer to keep more water in reserve as this drought could stretch into next year and beyond.”
In 2015, Newsom’s predecessor, Gov. Jerry Brown (D), initially made the same call for voluntary reductions but ultimately ordered 25 percent mandatory reductions, according to the Bee.
Newsom faces the state’s second-ever gubernatorial recall election in September, although most polling shows him heavily favored to remain in office.
Newsom announced the two new executive orders Thursdy in San Luis Obispo County, one of the nine counties to which the drought emergency now applies. The other new counties include Inyo, Marin, Mono, Monterey, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz.
While drought conditions are currently present throughout the state, adding counties to the emergency declaration means they are hardest-hit and will allow state agencies to more quickly take reief action, according to Newsom’s office.
The orders come as record heat has scorched much of the western and northwestern U.S., and wildfires have broken out unseasonably early. Once the full wildfire season begins, experts say it could be made worse by dryer conditions and unusually low winter snowpack.