California is experiencing its third straight dry year and many of the state’s reservoirs are at historic lows. Brown says he won’t make water conservation mandatory, but he says it’s important to “awaken” Californians to the serious issue.
Declaring a drought expedites water transfers to allow water to flow where it is needed most. It also relaxes some water quality regulations.
As part of the declaration, the California Department of Water Resources will also identify groundwater shortages and land fallowing and provide a update by April 30.
“We are in an unprecedented very serious situation and people should pause and reflect on how dependent we are on the rain, on nature and one another.”
~Gov. Jerry Brown
A new study finds California’s Central Valley has three times more water beneath it than previously estimated.
UPDATE June 26: Fire managers says the Erskine Fire near Lake Isabella in Kern County has grown to 43,460 acres and is 40 percent contained. Two people have died, and more than 250 structures have been destroyed and an additional 75 damaged.
Four consecutive years of drought, millions of dead trees and summer heat, are all factors as thousands of firefighters work to control wildfires in California.
Not much change is expected in drought conditions in California during the summer "dry season" but wildfire danger is increasing, with 66 million dead trees in the Sierra Nevada adding potential fuel.
The U.S. Forest Service says 66 million trees are dead in the Sierra Nevada after four consecutive years of drought in California and a bark beetle infestation.