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Gov. Gavin Newsom urges all Californians to cut water use by 15%

The Lexington Reservoir in Los Gatos on June 28, 2021. Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded drought emergency declarations to nine more counties, including San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, on July 8, 2021. Photo by Kevin Legnon.

As extreme drought claims most of the state, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday asked Californians to voluntarily cut their water use by 15%.

The request, Newsom said, applies to businesses and agriculture as well as residents. Meeting the target could save enough water to supply 1.7 million average households for one year, according to state officials.

Speaking from windy Lopez Lake in San Luis Obispo County, Newsom stressed that the reductions are voluntary and urged Californians to make common sense cuts like looking for leaks and running full loads of laundry and dishes.

"Not here as a nanny state. And we’re not trying to be oppressive," he said. "But nonetheless, the sober reality is such that here we are again, and we will need to proceed with the lessons learned from the last drought."

Newsom also on Thursday expanded drought emergency declarations to nine more counties, including three parched Bay Area counties and several along the Central Coast. Fifty counties, home to 42% of the state’s population, are now under drought emergencies.

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The nine new counties with emergency declarations are Inyo, Marin, Mono, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz. Conditions are not severe enough to include Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco and Ventura, all of which have sufficient supplies in storage so far.

"Water is a precious essential resource. With San Mateo and Santa Clara counties now included in the Governor's emergency drought proclamation, we all must take steps to ensure we are conserving water and doing our utmost to further water resilience," state Sen. Josh Becker, D-Menlo Park, said in a statement following the governor's announcement.

The emergency declarations will ease environmental and other regulations to speed drought responses, such as purchase of bottled water supplies.

During the last drought from 2012 to 2016, Californians were ordered to cut their water use by an average of 25% statewide. Even with the new drought emergency declarations, there is still no statewide emergency or mandate to reduce water use.

For now, the statewide requested cuts are voluntary. Standardized water waste rules stalled after the last drought, leaving Californians with a patchwork of water restrictions that has some Californians restricting their shower time and others flush with water.

Between 2013 and 2016, Californians on average reduced their residential use by 30% in summer when they were asked to cut back.

In April, Californians in residential areas used 14% less water than they did in 2013. But the State Water Resources Control Board warns that water use is ticking up. April was the first month of 2021 when urban suppliers distributed more water than in 2015 — with an estimated 152 billion gallons compared to 149 billion gallons, said Charlotte Ely, conservation supervisor for the water board at a June water board meeting.

"Historically low winter and spring precipitation has resulted in the highest April numbers since 2015," Ely said. "We are still well below the 2013 baseline, but the savings between 2013 and (the) present is narrowing."

Gov. Gavin Newsom asks all Californians to reduce their water use by 15% at a press conference at Lake Lopez in San Luis Obispo County on July 8, 2021.

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Email Rachel Becker at [email protected]

CalMatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California's policies and politics. Read more state news from CalMatters here.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom urges all Californians to cut water use by 15%

by / CalMatters

Uploaded: Thu, Jul 8, 2021, 1:31 pm

As extreme drought claims most of the state, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday asked Californians to voluntarily cut their water use by 15%.

The request, Newsom said, applies to businesses and agriculture as well as residents. Meeting the target could save enough water to supply 1.7 million average households for one year, according to state officials.

Speaking from windy Lopez Lake in San Luis Obispo County, Newsom stressed that the reductions are voluntary and urged Californians to make common sense cuts like looking for leaks and running full loads of laundry and dishes.

"Not here as a nanny state. And we’re not trying to be oppressive," he said. "But nonetheless, the sober reality is such that here we are again, and we will need to proceed with the lessons learned from the last drought."

Newsom also on Thursday expanded drought emergency declarations to nine more counties, including three parched Bay Area counties and several along the Central Coast. Fifty counties, home to 42% of the state’s population, are now under drought emergencies.

The nine new counties with emergency declarations are Inyo, Marin, Mono, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz. Conditions are not severe enough to include Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco and Ventura, all of which have sufficient supplies in storage so far.

"Water is a precious essential resource. With San Mateo and Santa Clara counties now included in the Governor's emergency drought proclamation, we all must take steps to ensure we are conserving water and doing our utmost to further water resilience," state Sen. Josh Becker, D-Menlo Park, said in a statement following the governor's announcement.

The emergency declarations will ease environmental and other regulations to speed drought responses, such as purchase of bottled water supplies.

During the last drought from 2012 to 2016, Californians were ordered to cut their water use by an average of 25% statewide. Even with the new drought emergency declarations, there is still no statewide emergency or mandate to reduce water use.

For now, the statewide requested cuts are voluntary. Standardized water waste rules stalled after the last drought, leaving Californians with a patchwork of water restrictions that has some Californians restricting their shower time and others flush with water.

Between 2013 and 2016, Californians on average reduced their residential use by 30% in summer when they were asked to cut back.

In April, Californians in residential areas used 14% less water than they did in 2013. But the State Water Resources Control Board warns that water use is ticking up. April was the first month of 2021 when urban suppliers distributed more water than in 2015 — with an estimated 152 billion gallons compared to 149 billion gallons, said Charlotte Ely, conservation supervisor for the water board at a June water board meeting.

"Historically low winter and spring precipitation has resulted in the highest April numbers since 2015," Ely said. "We are still well below the 2013 baseline, but the savings between 2013 and (the) present is narrowing."

Email Rachel Becker at [email protected]

CALmatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California's policies and politics.

Comments

Virginia Smedberg
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jul 9, 2021 at 6:16 pm
Virginia Smedberg, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jul 9, 2021 at 6:16 pm

Article says "Conditions are not severe enough to include Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco and Ventura, all of which have sufficient supplies in storage so far." Intrigues me that all but SF are in So Cal - and they get their water from US in No Cal... or I think some from the Colorado River - they don't have any local sources so far as I know. So evidently they have created storage facilities better than we have. To store "our" water... (my opinion - but have you flown down the I-5 corridor and seen the LARGE blue stripe that is carrying our water to them...).


tmp
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jul 9, 2021 at 11:34 pm
tmp, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jul 9, 2021 at 11:34 pm

It would be easier to believe that Newson really cared if he also demanded that developers stop building office buildings that will bring in millions of new residents and he stopped pushing for new housing development for millions of people.

Building, construction, new people and facilities all require water on an ongoing basis. Why should people here sacrifice when he will just give that sacrifice away to developers rather than admit that California is a desert with a maxed out population and along with being careful with water we need to stop this endless population growth.

Let's see some real sacrifice from those elites in Sacramento who tell us to scrimp and be miserable while they eat at fancy restaurants and give away the state to their developer friends.


Ferris Young
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Jul 10, 2021 at 7:22 am
Ferris Young, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Jul 10, 2021 at 7:22 am

Water will become the new gold and saavy speculators are taking note.


Leslie York
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jul 11, 2021 at 8:34 pm
Leslie York, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jul 11, 2021 at 8:34 pm

You can't conserve your way out of a drought.

A succession of California Governors has done pity little about water since the '70s, but we will have a high-speed train between Bakersfield and Merced in this soon-to-be dust bowl. AFAIK there are no state desalination plants on the drawing board.

But you'll be able to go between Bakersfield and Merced in a hurry.


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