California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday urged residents to voluntarily reduce their water use this summer amid the drought and high temperatures, according to reports.
“We hope that people will embrace this mindset that they brought in during the last drought and extend that with a voluntary 15% reduction, not only on residences, but also on industrial and agricultural business operations,” Newsom said at a press conference, according to The Los Angeles Times.
With his recall election in two months, the governor has so far refrained from imposing water restrictions.
Newsom has also extended the regional state of emergency to nearly half of the state, according to the newspaper.
He suggested watering the lawn less, taking shorter showers, and fixing leaks. “We are not trying to be oppressive,” Newsom said, The Times reported. “Again, these are voluntary standards.”
The September 14 recall became official earlier this summer after election officials confirmed the required number of signatures on the recall petition.
GOVERNMENT OF CALIFORNIA. GAVIN NEWSOM FIXED RECALL VOTE FOR SEPT. 14
Newsom would be recalled if more than 50% of voters voting in the fall say they would like him to be replaced and the challenger with the most votes would take over as governor.
The recall was prompted by Republicans and other critics of Newsom’s pandemic restrictions and will be the second in state history after 2003, when former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected.
Recent polls have shown strong support for Newsom.
Firefighters have battled several wildfires in northern California this week, and California’s largest reservoirs are already at dangerously low levels and will likely hit historic lows later this year. Lake Oroville in northern California is at 30% capacity, and state officials fear water levels will get so low they may have to shut down a hydroelectric plant later this year . Along the Russian River, officials fear Lake Mendocino will empty later this year.
“It’s breathtaking what’s happening on the west coast of the United States,” Newsom said Thursday at Lake Lopez, a reservoir in San Luis Obispo County formed by a dam on the Arroyo Grande creek that is at 34% of its capacity.
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The historic drought linked to climate change is hitting the western United States and comes just a few years after California declared its last drought in 2016. The previous drought in California has depleted groundwater supplies and changed the way people use water, with many people and businesses ripping up landscaping and replacing it with more drought tolerant plants.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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