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Executive order asks water suppliers to activate drought contingency plans

Coastal rain
Posted at 6:44 AM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 10:01:01-04

As we approach the end of the rainy season, the Central Coast is still in a drought classification.

"We talk about miracle Marches, but March is about over and we really haven't gotten enough rain," Brent Burchett, San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau Executive Director, said.

Even with the rainfall on Monday, experts say we are still behind where we need to be.

"It's important to know that even after we saw ample rainfall, this is not anything that's going to fix the drought," said Dave Hovde, KSBY Chief Meteorologist.

We are roughly 2-6 inches behind where we should be for this rain season. And even thought that doesn’t seem like much, most of the rain this season fell between October and December, creating a long gap between storms.

"The fact that that long gap happened, it really took out much of the high producing rainfall days of our year," said Hovde.

On Monday, in an effort to ramp up conservation efforts due to the ongoing drought, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order asking local water suppliers to activate drought contingency plans.

Burchett is happy to see new restrictions being implemented in an effort to save as much water as possible.

"We know we gotta have water to grow crops, we need water to feed livestock, but do we really need all this irrigation for landscaping?" said Burchett.

Newsom says no. The executive order also directs the water board to consider a ban on the watering of decorative grass around commercial buildings.

"The Governor's proclamation today is a positive in that it should lower the demand for water in certain parts of our community, but that's probably not going to be enough," said Burchett.

Experts say the drought will persist. We may see some improvement within the drought monitor classification, but without any big storms coming our way combined with warmer and drier than average weather, it will be nearly impossible to catch up.

"So any improvement we see in the short run probably is going to be fairly quickly eaten back down again," said Hovde.