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
Last year, California saw everything from intense drought to torrential rain. Researchers and water agencies say that the future of the state’s drought depends on adapting to these shifts.
As the drought dries up California’s wetlands, traveling birds such as ducks, geese and eagles are struggling to survive and breed. “This drought is bad. The odds are against us,” a state expert said.
Drought resilience depends on location but also extraordinary engineering — determining which California places are running out of water this year and which remain in good shape.
About 4,300 users were issued notices to halt diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Experts say the current drought is hotter and drier than previous ones, meaning water is evaporating faster.
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