State lawmakers urge Governor Brown to declare drought emergency

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Republican and Democratic lawmakers across the state are urging Governor Brown and President Obama to take steps to alleviate California's water woes.

After an unusually dry start to the rainy season, two California lawmakers are urging Govenor Brown to declare a drought emergency.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, sent a letter to the governor's office this week, saying the state is facing its third consecutive year of scant rainfall that could deplete state reservoirs and leave farmers without enough water to grow their crops.

The lawmakers hope a drought declaration will not only raise awareness of dry conditions and prompt local water agencies to conserve, but motivate state and federal regulators to ease regulations restricting water use.

Feinstein and Costa also want the governor to seek federal disaster aid.

Republican leaders are urging the governor and the President to use executive authority to take immediate actions to mitigate the catastrophic effects of another natural drought exacerbated by environmental regulations.

Dry conditions in California have been exacerbated by environmental restrictions placed on water supplies in the Delta, leaving California reservoirs in terrible shape for 2014.

The Kern County Water Agency has been a key participant in a development plan to improve California's water supply.

It's a habitat conservation plan that is designed to do more than just mitigate environmental impacts; it would actually contribute to the recovery of many of the Delta's endangered species while improving water supplies for the State Water Project and Central Valley Project.

In the meantime, state water officials urge residents to begin conserving water now.

Late last month the California Department of Water Resources announced that the state water project will significantly reduce the amount of water flowing into Kern County, initially affecting farmers and possibly residents

"The extremely low initial allocation is alarming and woefully inadequate for Kern County residents, farmers and businesses, and provides no hope for replenishment of ground water banking reserves that have been tapped to provide agricultural and urban water during previous dry years," said Ted Page with the Kern County Water Agency.

 

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