Drought emergency declaration expanded in California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCAL/CNN) – The ongoing drought is forcing California’s governor to expand the emergency declaration already in place for some areas.

California’s bone-dry landscape reveals all we need to know. The state is locked in another intense drought. The governor is now asking residents and businesses to conserve an additional 15% of water usage.

Governor Gavin Newsom explained his executive order is an official step toward pushing for water conservation. “That executive order will specifically lay out a framework to encourage voluntary water conservation efforts.”

The governor said 50 of the state’s 58 counties are now included in the drought proclamation. That does not include Los Angeles or the surrounding counties but it may be only a matter of time.

Brad Rowen is a managing partner of Vitello’s Restaurant in Tujunga Village. He said their restaurant survived the pandemic and is now thriving. The drought is just another challenge.

“We’ve been through so much in the past 12 to 18 months,” he said. “We’re going to do our part. I’m not going to stop making pasta. I’ll still use the same amount of water to boil pasta. The same amount of water for ice tea and coffees well now just wait for customers to ask for water”

Carla Roxeanne lives in studio city. She said she’ll work to conserve but a big concern is the long-term future. “Everybody has to do their part,” she said. “I think when it comes when it comes to landscaping and stuff like that we may have to do away with a lot of this grass. Maybe put stones and things like that… that don’t need water maybe. That’s one thing we can look at for the future”

Water use during the 2013-2016 drought was reduced by 21% per capita, according to the governor’s office.  Now, in July 2021, were still 16% below 2013 levels.

Terrence McCarthy is with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. He said residents in the Southland have done an excellent job conserving. He said beyond landscaping and shorter showers, check your home for leaks. Less use means a better chance of keeping water bills from becoming more expensive. “There may be increases that we see just as a result of increases in costs in general, across the whole market,” Terrence said.

Newsom is proposing the state invest more than $ billion in water resiliency projects over the next four years.

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