Drought Declared in 41 California Counties, la off the List for Now

Example of drought-resistant landscaping.

Thirty percent of California’s population is now under a drought state of emergency. On Monday, May 10, California Governor Gavin Newsom expanded an already-in-place state of emergency to include key California watersheds such as the Klamath River, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Tulare Lake Watershed, according to a press release from the governor’s office. 

“Climate change-induced early warm temperatures and extremely dry soils have further depleted the expected runoff water from the Sierra-Cascade snowpack, resulting in historic and unanticipated reductions in the amount of water flowing to major reservoirs,” the governor’s office wrote. 

“Extraordinarily warm temperatures in April and early May separate this critically dry year from all others on California record,” the statement said. 

The governor’s office said the drought had reduced expected water supplies by more than 500,000 acre feet, which is enough to supply up to one million households with water for a year. 

Newsom’s emergency proclamation allows for actions such as the identification of water suppliers at extreme financial risk that may need extra support and the streamlining of water transfer processes.

Though the drought has not yet touched LA County, California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot encouraged Californians to “pull together once again to save water” in the press release. 

“All of us need to find every opportunity to save water where we can: limit outdoor watering, take shorter showers, turn off the water while brushing your teeth or washing dishes,” Crowfoot’s statement said. “Homeowners, municipalities, and water diverters can help by addressing leaks and other types of water loss, which can account for over 30 percent of water use in some areas.”