Working Together To Minimize the Impacts of Drought
California is in the midst of a serious drought that worsens with each day that we don't get rain. As I have travelled throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, I have seen firsthand the impacts we are experiencing from these severely dry conditions.
Citing a record dry 2013 and a current snowpack that is 20 percent of normal, Governor Jerry Brown last week declared an official State of Emergency regarding California's drought.
The declaration allows state officials to assist farmers and communities that are economically impacted by dry conditions and ensures that the state can respond if Californians face drinking water shortages. State water officials will also have more flexibility to manage water supply throughout California under the official declaration, and state agencies were directed to initiate immediate conservation measures.
We will also hire more firefighters to combat an increased risk of dangerous wildfires. In the state Senate, we are working to get hundreds of millions of dollars of unappropriated bond funds to local communities for projects to improve groundwater management, maximize conservation and increase the use of recycled water.
Mandatory household, commercial or agricultural conservation was not part of the state's general preparation at this time, although many local water agencies have begun those more aggressive steps. You should contact your local water agency about any mandatory conservation steps being implemented in your community.
California state officials will also work to get the word out about water conservation with an expanded public awareness campaign. Details of the public awareness campaign - Save our H2O - can be found at the website http://www.saveourh2o.org/
The campaign's indoor tips include water saving steps to take in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. Outside tips address lawn and garden care, car and sidewalk washing and drought resistant planting.
While we can't control the weather, we can work together to minimize the impacts of this drought and future droughts on the state. As always, I appreciate hearing from you. Stay in touch by email or follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson
State Senator, 19th Senate District