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First California Governor To Deal With Two Droughts Over Four Terms

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

California Gov. Jerry Brown, center, answers a question concerning the executive order he signed that imposes mandatory water restrictions at Echo Summit, Calif., Wednesday, April 1, 2015.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Jerry Brown is the first California governor forced to deal with two droughts over four terms in office.

This week Brown issued a sweeping executive order on water conservation. 

Longtime California journalist Leo McElroy watched Brown grapple with drought in the 1970s. He says this time is different. 

"He was still kind of feeling his way, whereas now he knows where he's going, he knows what he can do, so he can come out with a much more sweeping declaration than he ever would've dared in 76-77,” said McElroy. 

McElroy says two state agencies, the Department of Water Resources and the Water Resources Control Board, will impose water regulations, but local water agencies will have to enforce them. 

“You're going to hear the screams for money from those who say 'we can't do all this stuff you want us to do if you don't give us more money to do it with,’” he said. 

McElroy says Brown faces criticism for not requiring the agriculture industry to reduce water use and for not moving faster to manage the drought. 

He said Jerry Brown's legacy will likely be how he managed the drought, rather than high speed rail or Delta tunnels.

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