Governor expands drought emergency proclamation, now covering 50 California counties

July 9, 2021 /

The Governor announced Thursday that California is expanding the drought emergency proclamation to include nine more counties, now covering 50 of the state’s 58 counties.

Governor Gavin Newsom held a press conference to discuss the state’s emergency response, preparations for a potential third dry year and proposed investments to address immediate needs and build long-term water resilience. The press conference was held in San Luis Obispo County in front of Lopez Lake, which is only at 30 percent capacity due to the drought.

“We’re here with intention and purpose, and that is to address the ongoing drought condition in California,” Newsom said at the press conference.

Newsome issued a Proclamation State of Emergency in April addressing the ongoing drought conditions in California. The proclamation directed state agencies to take immediate action to prepare for impacts on communities, businesses, and ecosystems.

Governor Newsom speaks about the ongoing drought conditions in the State of California at a press conference Thursday in San Luis Obispo County.

California is in the second year of an ongoing drought, according to Newsom, and the west coast has been living in drought conditions since 2000, the Governor said.

“Conserving water is not just an individual responsibility issue,” the Governor wrote on Facebook Thursday. “We need to put resources behind this fight.”

The plan proposes a $5.1 billion investment over four years for water infrastructure, drought preparedness and response and water resilience.

“During the last drought, we made water conservation a way of life and we can do it again,” Newsom said on Facebook.

To help save water, Newsom signed an Executive Order Thursday that lays out a framework to encourage voluntary water conservation throughout the State.

Newsom is encouraging Californians to reduce their water usage by 15 percent with a goal to save 850,000 acre-feet of water, which is enough to supply more than 1.7 million households for a year.

This goal isn’t just for residential areas. It also involves efforts from industrial, commercial and agriculture industries, according to Newsom.

Some suggestions include limiting outdoor water use and using recycled water for outside projects; taking shorter shower; and running the dishwasher and washing machine only when they are full.

Newsom said, “We are hopeful that people with take that mindset they brought into the last drought and extend that forward.”

For more ideas on how to conserve water, head to

Elizabeth Sanchez

Elizabeth Sanchez is the program associate for South Kern Sol. She can be reached at