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California Gov. Gavin Newsom expands drought emergency statewide

California Gov. Gavin Newsom expands drought emergency statewide
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (C) issued a statewide drought emergency on Tuesday amid the worst drought the state has experienced since the 1800s. Photo courtesy of California Gov. Gavin Newsom/Twitter

Oct. 20 (UPI) -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded a drought emergency statewide on Tuesday as the state has failed to meet its goal to decrease water usage.

The Democratic governor in July had expanded a drought emergency to 50 counties while urging Californians to voluntarily reduce their use of water by 15% to protect reserves.

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However, the State Water Resources Control Board said Californians only achieved a 5% reduction in August compared to a year earlier.

"As the Western U.S. faces a potential third year of drought, it's critical that Californians across the state redouble our efforts to save water in every way possible," Newsom said a statement Tuesday announcing the statewide emergency.

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The proclamation adds the remaining eight counties of Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco and Ventura to the drought emergency, which arms the water board with more powers to cut wasteful uses of water, including to wash sidewalks, driveways, buildings, cars and irrigate landscapes within 48 hours of rainfall.

It also makes available resources to limit the effects of the drought and to prevent communities from running out of drinking water.

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The proclamation also requires local water suppliers to implement contingency plans responsive to local conditions and plan for a potential third dry year.

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According to the governor's office, California is experiencing its worst draught since the 1800s with August having been the hottest August on record while also being the second driest.

Newsom first issued the emergency drought on April 21 for two counties of the Russian River watershed, which was then expanded in May to 41 counties and 50 in July.

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