Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday declared a drought emergency for California, opening the potential floodgates for the state to seek assistance and federal aid.
SAN FRANCISCO — Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday declared a drought emergency for California, opening the potential floodgates for the state to seek assistance and federal aid.
"We can't make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California's drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas," said Brown in a statement. "I've declared this emergency and I'm calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible."
Brown also urged residents across the state to reduce water use by 20 percent as a conservation strategy.
Brown made the announcement in San Francisco.
California is going into its third dry year in a row, and suffered a serious lack of precipitation.
On Tuesday, Kern County's Board of Supervisors issued a resolution urging the governor to declare the drought, and to allow for more water to be transferred to the Central Valley.
According to a report issued by the U.S. Drought Monitor, California's drought problem is especially critical in the central and northern parts of the state.
"It is my hope the emergency declaration will help soften the impact this historic drought is having on the hardworking people of the Central Valley," said Sen. Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield). "Now that California has made an emergency declaration, it is time for President Obama to act. State and federal water officials need to move quickly and get additional resources to the areas most affected.
"While this declaration will bring some help to our drought stricken communities, it emphasizes the need for the state to have a comprehensive plan for the future. This plan must include new storage, because without it we are destined to see droughts become more frequent and more devastating."
Congressman Kevin McCarthy also weighed in on Gov. Brown's declaration.
"Today's drought declaration by Governor Brown reaffirms what Californians throughout our state and especially in our local communities know firsthand," McCarthy said in a statement. "As we approach another drought year, I continue to call on federal and state officials to take immediate action to provide water supplies to our local families, farmers, and small businesses and develop an operational plan that maximizes water supplies to communities in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. Restrictive environmental regulations reduce our supplies when water is available in wet years, but exacerbates the negative impacts during years of drought. At a time when we are in dire need of water, we must provide flexibility and allow water to flow around the state."