Drought Conditions Return: Governor Calls for All Californians to Voluntarily Reduce Water Use by 15%
Less than five years after California’s last major drought ended, the Golden State is once again experiencing drought conditions. After two especially dry winters, decreased river flows prompted Governor Gavin Newsom to declare a drought emergency for several California counties earlier this year. What started with three counties has now expanded to encompass 50 counties.
The current drought conditions present urgent challenges for California, including the risk of drinking water shortages in vulnerable communities, greatly increased wildfire activity, diminished water for agricultural production, adverse impacts on fisheries and additional water scarcity if drought conditions continue. As a result, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-10-21 on July 8, 2021, which calls on all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water use by 15 percent from their 2020 levels.
Fortunately, for Southern California, the region’s water providers have taken proactive measures and invested in water supply, infrastructure, and water conservation to prepare for water supply challenges, particularly drought. With California’s semi-arid climate, dry conditions are not unusual, and drought is always on the horizon. In addition to proactive planning and investments by water providers in water recycling, water use efficiency, and groundwater storage, Orange County has benefited tremendously from the widespread adoption of water-smart behaviors by residents and businesses. Over the last several decades, Orange County water users have enthusiastically adopted lifestyle changes and taken advantage of water-smart technology to save over 17 billion gallons of water each year. As a result, there is no need for mandatory water restrictions in Orange County at this time.
However, it is still critical for residents and businesses to make every drop count. Reducing water use is the least costly method we have to extend our water supply reliability, drought or not. Water-saving programs, incentives, and simple water-smart behavioral changes make it easy to reduce your water use. For more ways you can make a difference, visit mwdoc.com/savewater.