KGET followed up with California’s Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot after Gov. Gavin Newsom extended the drought-related emergency to the entire state.
Crowfoot said more than a few rainstorms are needed to get California out of its drought situation.
“The depths of the challenge we face with this drought right now, our reservoirs, where a lot of our water supply is held, many are at their lowest levels in 40 years,” Crowfoot explained.
Crowfoot echoed Newsom’s call for Californians to conserve water.
In a second year of drought, the entire state is under a state of emergency after Californians conserved about 5% of water in August compared to the same time last year, as opposed to the 15% Newsom requested.
Crowfoot said the order to conserve water is still voluntary, not mandatory.
“Californians are moving in the right direction and we are seeing increased water conservation,” he said.
He said over the next few months, the state water board will decide what wasteful uses of water should be banned during the drought.
“It’s going to do so based on a lot of analysis and likely some public hearings. That process is going to play out into early next year. Then we’ll be in a place if the drought persists and we don’t get really strong precipitation this winter, to prohibit those wasteful uses heading into 2022,” Crowfoot explained.
With wet weather set to hit the northern part of the state over the next several days, state leaders said the much-appreciated rain comes with a risk for which they’re preparing.
“I want to ask everybody to be vigilant. Not only to conserve water because we’re in a drought but do be cognizant of flooding risks and take action and pay attention to your communities as they communicate what we can do to protect ourselves from flooding as well.”
California is set to spend about $5.3 billion over the next three years for drought response and long-term water projects.