(KERO) — On Wednesday Governor Gavin Newsom took executive action to help address California's drought. He says the move will help build infrastructure and address climate change, and as far as funding for the actions Newsom says it’s already taken care of.
“A bond was passed a number of years ago - $7.3 billion has been appropriated. $7.3 billion since the last drought has been appropriated for all of the above strategies. $2.5 billion, by the way, for seven large storage projects in the state total.”
Gov. Newsom declares drought emergency in two counties
The governor was in Mendocino County Wednesday where he declared a drought emergency for the area. The spot where he was standing used to be 44 feet underwater.
The governor also extended the drought emergency proclamation to Sonoma County.
Also on Wednesday, Congressman David G. Valadao along with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and Representatives Ken Calvert, Mike Garcia, Darrell Issa, Young Kim, Doug LaMalfa, Devin Nunes, and Michelle Steel released the following statement in response to Governor Newsom’s decision to declare a drought state of emergency for only two counties – Mendocino and Sonoma – while counties in the rest of the state are also experiencing severe drought conditions:
Governor Newsom’s irresponsible decision to declare a state of emergency in only two counties is an absolute outrage. Mendocino and Sonoma face drought conditions that warrant state action. But far more than two counties in California are in desperate need of water.
The Central Valley is responsible for putting food on the table for the rest of the nation, and farmers and ranchers simply cannot grow the food we need without reliable access to water. Our local economies are crippled by water scarcity, and by ignoring the needs of the Central Valley, the lack of action by Governor Newsom in addressing this crisis is a failure to lead.
Agriculture groups, farmers, elected officials, and community leaders at every level on both sides of the aisle have repeatedly requested Governor Newsom issue a statewide declaration of emergency due to the dire drought conditions, and he has made it clear that he is not listening.
For now, it’s unclear what drought-related actions will be taken here in Kern.
23ABC News also spoke with a representative from the California Department of Water Resources to get a better grasp of the conditions in the state. Jeanine Jones says the last two years were exceptionally dry and that it looks like 2021 will trend in the same direction.
"One of the things we’ve noticed this year is that the streamflow of the state’s major river systems is pretty close to what we saw in 2014 and 2015, which were the two driest years of that drought. On the other hand, our snowpack was much better, not average, but much better than those two years. So Hopefully we will end up better in terms of streamflow.”
If you’re wondering why the governor only declared a drought emergency for Mendocino and Sonoma counties, Jones says that’s because the area is the driest in the state at this point. She also says that drought conditions vary across California and that just because one area is dry. It doesn’t mean others areas nearby are in the same position.