Central Valley lawmakers declare local drought emergency


FRESNO, California. (KGPE) – Local lawmakers are calling on Governor Newsom to loosen certain regulations that make it harder for the valley to allocate more water during one of the state’s driest years on record.

Members of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors say many crops will undoubtedly fail this year because of the drought, but they’re hoping if the governor declares a statewide drought emergency and relocates some water to the valley, some might be saved.

“There are some orchards that are going to die, there’s no, ‘ifs, ands, or buts’ about that…they will die. Every day he waits is bad,” said Buddy Mendes from district four.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 76.5% of Fresno County is in a severe drought, and 85% of California is. This is in addition to a year that the Department of Water Resources says the state’s snowpack is at just 59% of average.

“There’s nothing we can do to prevent this drought from hitting us, it’s already here,” said Nathan Magsig from district five.

If Newsom declares a statewide drought emergency, it would remove regulatory and administrative barriers that make it harder for the valley to access and transfer water, we well as modify reservoir release standards. Magsig says the valley also needs to work ahead of the next drought by installing more dams.

“We need to be investing in infrastructure now – more dams to hold water back – so when we have drought years like this, we’ve got a bank of water stored that can be used in difficult times like this,” he said.

Members of the board say they don’t know when or if Newsom will consider their request, and they’re worried the recall is going to distract him.

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July 23 2021 05:30 pm

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