MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KGPE) – A drought emergency declared by Gov. Gavin Newsom for an additional 39 counties, including the entire Central Valley.
Newsom made the announcement during a visit to the San Luis Reservoir Monday, also announcing a $5.1 billion plan to fix and invest in water infrastructure.
“The hots are getting hotter – and the dries are getting drier,” said Newsom.
Three weeks ago, Gov. Newsom declared a drought emergency for two northern California counties, sparking pressure from bipartisan Central Valley lawmakers to include more. Newsom noted several changes since then, including the loss of 500,000 acres of water – equivalent to the amount it takes to supply a million homes for a year.
Early warm temperatures and dry soil had lead to less snowpack runoff. The result is less water in major reservoirs. At the San Luis Reservoir, water levels are at just 57% of what they should be this time of year.
“We are also pleased to announce $5.1 billion, a record investment, into water resiliency, and water infrastructure in this state,” said Newsom.
State Senator Anna Caballero says water investments are long overdue.
“It’s time,” said Caballero. “We need to get it done and we have resources available in our budget to get it done”
The Fresno County Farm Bureau has pushed for a drought declaration for weeks. Now that it’s granted, CEO Ryan Jacobsen says farmers can prepare for a tough summer.
“This is a good step forward but it cant be the sole and only solution but hopefully it will put us in better shape for future droughts,” said Jacobsen.
Until then, Gov. Newsom encourages Californians to continue to conserve water.