Governor Newsom Declares Drought Emergency in Two California Counties

Declaration Signals Need for Major Water System Reform

SACRAMENTO – California Governor Gavin Newsom today proclaimed a State of Emergency in Sonoma and Mendocino counties as California and much of the West face drought and near-drought conditions that threaten the economy, public health, and ecosystems. The declaration allows for the use of emergency regulations and resources to respond to drought in the two counties and directs state agencies to lay the groundwork for drought response statewide. 

Following is a quote from Kate Poole, Senior Director in NRDC's Nature Program.  

“California has seen droughts before, but what we are experiencing now are changes to our hydrology on a broader scale, that require us to revamp our relationship with water from the bottom up. California must invest aggressively in water conservation and reuse to alleviate over-tapped rivers and aquifers. It is time for state leaders to revisit our outdated water rights and allocation system to ensure safe drinking water and create realistic expectations of what nature will provide in a hotter, drier future caused by human-driven climate change. The State Water Board must require that more water remain instream to protect water quality, reduce the outbreak of harmful algal blooms, and restore struggling salmon.”  

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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