San Francisco, CA, United States (4E) – Gov. Jerry Brown declared California under a drought emergency Friday urging residents to cut water use by 20 percent and directing state agencies to conserve water.
Falling reservoir levels, a record dry 2013 and urging from politicians and agricultural interests prompted Brown to make the proclamation.
“We can’t make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens,” Brown said in a statement.
Under the emergency declaration, California agencies will campaign to save water, expedite voluntary water transfers by rights holders to districts in need of supplies and hire additional seasonal firefighters. Agencies will also ease requirements in releasing from reservoirs and monitor groundwater levels.
Water rationing is not mandated though some Northern California communities are voluntarily doing it.
The last drought emergency in California was declared in 2009 by then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Last year was the driest in California history and a respite is not expected yet as storms are being guided away from the state and western U.S. by a high pressure area, said meteorologist Jan Null of Golden Gate Weather Services.