FRESNO, California. (KSEE) – Central Valley counties hoping for an emergency drought declaration to help get them through another dry year did not get their wish Wednesday.
Governor Gavin Newsom targeted only two counties, Sonoma and Mendocino.
Ryan Jacobsen the CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau said the outlook is grim for the San Joaquin Valley.
“We’re looking at one of the worst years on record here. We got very dismal water allocations and so 2021 is shaping up to be one of the toughest years we’ve seen,” he said.
According to the Department of Water Resources, this is the fourth driest year on record statewide. Newsom said some places are being hit harder than others but it’s still possible the whole state may be declared under a drought emergency.
“We’re taking a sequential approach. We’re taking a targeted approach and we’re taking an approach based on upon actual conditions on the ground,” he said.
State Senator and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Andreas Borgeas had hoped for more action.
“We should be doing this on a statewide basis because you cannot regionalize this emergency. That’s not the way waterworks,” he said.
Borgeas said the valley was passed up on help it desperately needs.
“An emergency declaration is not a symbolic event. It’s a legal event and it allows for the governor to relax regulatory, environmental, and administrative impediments to the transfer of water. So under the circumstances, we believe that Central Valley is in desperate need for this water availability,” he said.
Jacobsen said he’s hoping even without an emergency declaration they may get some form of aid.
“What’s concerning with situations like this is we don’t know if this is year two of a two year drought, or year two year of a five to ten year drought and because of that we have to do everything we can to get everything in order and prepare, and prepare and prepare,” he said.
The state has launched a new drought preparedness website where you can track current conditions along with the state’s response.