Calif. — California authorities conducted their last manual snowpack survey today in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and there was no snow at the site.
The state’s Department of Water Resources said that water content in the snowpack in the mountain range is at just 6% of its historical average for late March.
Thats the lowest level since record-keeping began in the 1960s, winter snowfall supplies about a third of Californias water.
Governor Jerry Brown was on hand and ordered mandatory water restrictions today for the first time in Californias history.
Governor Jerry Brown, For that reason I am initiating an executive order mandating substantial water reduction across our state, as Californians we have to pull together and save water in every way we can.”
He signed an executive order demanding cities and towns cut water usage by 25%, not only will residents, businesses and farms have to restrict water use, local governments will have to replace grassy lawns with drought-tolerant landscaping.
Brown’s order announced Wednesday will:
“Survival Mode”: California Farmers Battle Persistent Drought
Replace 50 million square feet of lawns throughout the state with drought tolerant landscaping in partnership with local governments;
Direct the creation of a temporary, statewide consumer rebate program to replace old appliances with more water and energy efficient models;
Require campuses, golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscapes to make significant cuts in water use; and
Prohibit new homes and developments from irrigating with potable water unless water-efficient drip irrigation systems are used, and ban watering of ornamental grass on public street medians.
Water restrictions approved earlier this month banned restaurants from offering water unless customers ask and forced hotels and motels to offer guests a chance to deline fresh towels and sheets.
Infographic from Meet the Press.
NBC Bay Area contributed to this story.