Gov. Gavin Newsom extended the state’s drought emergency declaration to all counties on Tuesday, including Los Angeles.
Before Tuesday, Los Angeles, Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco and Ventura counties were not under the drought declaration, but the governor said that record low storage in California’s reservoirs prompted the change.
“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 Tuesday. “With historic investments and urgent action, the state is moving to protect our communities, businesses and ecosystems from the immediate impacts of the drought emergency while building long-term water resilience to help the state meet the challenge of climate change impacts making droughts more common and more severe.”
The declaration allows the State Water Resources Control Board to implement water shortage “contingency plans” such as banning the use of potable water for washing sidewalks, driveways, buildings, structures, patios, parking lots, or other hard surface areas.
On July 8, Newsom signed an order asking all Californians to cut their water usage by 15%, with practices such as reducing landscape irrigation, running dishwashers and washing machines only when full, finding and fixing leaks in homes, installing water-efficient showerheads and taking shorter showers.
A shower of less than five minutes would save up to 12.5 gallons per shower, according to the order.
The 15% reduction over the following year has the potential supply up to 1.7 million homes with water for a year, according to state officials.