Due to an ongoing drought, Californians are being asked to voluntarily conserve water by 15% in an executive order signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday.
The order states that climate change has led to prolonged droughts in California, forced state of emergency proclamations in 50 counties with severe droughts, nine that were added Thursday, and a need for Californians to conserve water.
“The realities of climate change are nowhere more apparent than in the increasingly frequent and severe drought challenges we face in the West and their devastating impacts on our communities, businesses and ecosystems,” Governor Newsom said Thursday. “The entire state is in a drought today, and to meet this urgent challenge we must all pull together and do our part to reduce water use as California continues to build a more climate resilient water system to safeguard the future of our state. We’re proud of the tremendous strides made to use water more efficiently and reduce water waste, but we can all find opportunities this summer to keep more water in reserve as this drought could stretch into next year and beyond.”
Newsom said there is a “need to augment” water conservation efforts and a 15% reduction of use from 2020 can be achieved with Californians 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 may supply up to 1.7 million homes with water for a year, according to state officials.
After a call to conserve water during the drought that lasted from 2012 to 2016, the state says residents reduced water usage by 21%, which aided the state in following years.