Local News

Mar 11, 2014 9:39 PM by LiLi Tan, KSBY News

Drought Emergency Declared for SLO County

San Luis Obispo County Supervisors voted unanimously to declare a drought emergency.

"The state has declared an emergency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has. It's time for us to do so," said Adam Hill, SLO County Supervisor - 3rd District.

The board voted 5 to 0 in favor of the declaration, after hearing from agriculture and county experts and from the public. Supervisors say the drought emergency will allow citizens and businesses to apply for federal and state funding, and put the county higher up on the list for FEMA funding, if necessary, in the future.

An official from the USDA farm service agency called SLO County "ground zero" for the drought. During the public discussion portion, people expressed their support for the proclamation; however, they wanted county officials to also focus on reclaiming water and improving existing water infrastructure moving forward.

In the meantime, county officials are encouraging people to conserve water.

"There are always things people can do to cut their water use. Right now it's voluntary and we're going to see what we can do moving forward," Hill said.

The drought emergency is active for 30 days before the Board of Supervisors has to renew it.

SLO County is the 17th county in California to declare a drought emergency. Santa Barbara County declared its emergency in January.

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