California governor Gavin Newsom on Monday expanded the drought emergency to 30% of the state, to 41 counties covering a population of nearly 40 million people. The Democratic governor sought $6 billion in multiyear water spending as the drought threatens another wildfire season across western America.
Newsom said in a presser that, “He is acting under acute water supply shortage,” in northern and central California. However, he added that the state is doing better than the last drought, which ended in 2017. He told that good habits led to a 16% reduction in water wastage.
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The emergency declaration by the governor includes 41 out of 58 counties in California. Governor added that if conditions worsen, there could be a further expansion.
Democratic US Rep. Jim Costa said, “We’re staring down at what could be disastrous summer and fall, with the potential of communities running out water, and fires,” reports AP. Officials are fearing a massive wildfire season like last year, when 16,996 square kilometres of area got burnt.
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Governor Newsom stated, “The hots are getting a lot hotter in this state, the dries are getting a lot drier.” The drought emergency declaration now includes the counties in the Klamath River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Tulare Lake watersheds.
He appealed to the state lawmakers to approve a record $5.1 billion for water projects and another $1 billion for assisting an estimated one million Californians. According to his plans, another $200 million would go in repairing damaged canals.
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Other projects would include fish and wildlife habitat, groundwater cleanup, flood preparedness, water recycling, weather forecasting, and agricultural water use.