Drought Information

California’s Drought Response

In January of 2014, Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency due to the ongoing drought. In April of 2015, the Governor issued an executive order mandating a 25% reduction in potable (drinkable) water use statewide. After an abundant winter rain and strides in water conservation efforts, in February of 2017, Governor Brown lifted the drought emergency in most California counties including San Bernardo County while retaining prohibitions on wasteful water practices.

Executive Order B-40-17

Although most of the state is no longer in a drought, it’s important as Californians to continue to use water wisely and make it a way of life.

Press Release date: 31/5/18

Governor Brown Signs Important Water Efficiency Legislation

Governor Brown Signs Legislation Establishing Statewide Water Efficiency Goals

INLAND EMPIRE, CALIFORNIA – Today, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. signed into law SB 606 by Senator Robert Hertzberg (D‐Van Nuys) and AB 1668 by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D‐Glendale) to help the State prepare for droughts and climate change. Signing these bills establishes statewide water efficiency standards and a framework for the implementation of the new standards, which must be in place by 2022.

The two bills help strengthen the State’s water resiliency in the face of uncertain water conditions. Provisions include:

  • Establishing an indoor water use goal of 55 gallons per person per day until 2025, 52.5 gallons from 2025 to 2030 and 50 gallons beginning 2030;
  • Creating incentives for water suppliers such as IEUA to recycle water;
  • Requiring both urban and agricultural water suppliers to set annual water budgets and prepare for drought.

“This significant action demonstrates how California is coming together to protect this vital resource. Using water wisely – not wasting water – is critical to providing a resilient water supply,” stated IEUA Board President Steve Elie. “These new water efficiency standards follow the Governor’s recent mandate to make conservation a California way of life and shifts our focus to eliminating water wasting practices.”

“As an agency, we will continue to do our part by working closely with our partner and member agencies and the communities we serve to develop action plans and programs that will assist in water use efficiency measures and help preserve our water supply,” continued Elie.

To view the official press release from the Office of the Governor, visit /www.gov.ca.gov.

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

Press Release date: 4/7/17

Governor Brown Lifts Drought Emergency, Retains Prohibition on Wasteful Practices

SACRAMENTO – Following unprecedented water conservation and plentiful winter rain and snow, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today ended the drought state of emergency in most of California, while maintaining water reporting requirements and prohibitions on wasteful practices, such as watering during or right after rainfall.

“This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner,” said Governor Brown. “Conservation must remain a way of life.”

Executive Order B-40-17 lifts the drought emergency in all California counties except Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne, where emergency drinking water projects will continue to help address diminished groundwater supplies. Today’s order also rescinds two emergency proclamations from January and April 2014 and four drought-related executive orders issued in 2014 and 2015.

Executive Order B-40-17 builds on actions taken in Executive Order B-37-16, which remains in effect, to continue making water conservation a way of life in California:

  • The State Water Resources Control Board will maintain urban water use reporting requirements and prohibitions on wasteful practices such as watering during or after rainfall, hosing off sidewalks and irrigating ornamental turf on public street medians.
  • The state will continue its work to coordinate a statewide response on the unprecedented bark beetle outbreak in drought-stressed forests that has killed millions of trees across California.

In a related action, state agencies today issued a plan to continue to make conservation a way of life in California, as directed by Governor Brown in May 2016. The framework requires new legislation to establish long-term water conservation measures and improved planning for more frequent and severe droughts.

Although the severely dry conditions that afflicted much of the state starting in the winter of 2011-12 are gone, damage from the drought will linger for years in many areas. The drought reduced farm production in some regions, killed an estimated 100 million trees, harmed wildlife and disrupted drinking water supplies for many rural communities. The consequences of millions of dead trees and the diminished groundwater basins will continue to challenge areas of the state for years.

The full text of today's executive order can be found here.

California’s Drought Response

The drought that spanned water years 2012 through 2016 included the driest four-year statewide precipitation on record (2012-2015) and the smallest Sierra-Cascades snowpack on record (2015, with 5 percent of average). It was marked by extraordinary heat: 2014, 2015 and 2016 were California’s first, second and third warmest year in terms of statewide average temperatures.

The state responded to the emergency with actions and investments that also advanced the California Water Action Plan, the Administration’s five-year blueprint for more reliable, resilient water systems to prepare for climate change and population growth. To advance the priorities of the Water Action Plan and respond to drought, the voters passed a comprehensive water bond, the Legislature appropriated and accelerated funding and state agencies accelerated grants and loans to water projects.

California also enacted the historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, took action to improve measurement and management of water, retrofitted tens of thousands of inefficient toilets, replaced lawns with water-wise landscaping and provided safe drinking water to impacted communities.

Californians also responded to the drought with tremendous levels of water conservation, including a nearly 25 percent average reduction in urban water use across the state.

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814