California Drought Debate: Critics Push For Statewide Emergency Declaration

By Velena Jones, CBS Sacramento, April 22, 2021

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Two California counties are now in an official drought.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday announced Mendocino and Sonoma counties are in a drought emergency.

“We are experiencing drought conditions throughout the vast majority of the state,” Newsom said.

Despite those conditions, Newsom did not declare an emergency for the entire state. Republican Senator Andreas Borgeas Chair of the state’s Agriculture Committee is pushing for a state-wide declaration.

With California’s major reservoirs at half capacity and this year’s precipitation 50 percent of average. Officials say it’s the state’s fourth driest year on record.

“I believe that you cannot distinguish in different parts of the state because our water systems are so interconnected,” Borgeas said. “There is no reason to wait. This is the type of drought that will absolutely hamper our food production in California.”

The Sacramento River is at 5 feet, a foot lower than the same time last year. Upstream, the Folsom Lake is currently 37 feet lower than last year. Low lake levels across the state and below-average snowpacks have some concerned.

“The conditions over the entire state are the same. We are in deep trouble here,” said Doug Ose.

Former Congressman Ose who is campaigning to replace Newsom believes politics are at play in his drought decision making.

“Every single action that Gov. Newsom is taking for the past six months is a function of this recall,” he said.

Read the full article from CBS Sacramento here.