In April, Californians in residential areas used 14% less water than they did in 2013. But the State Water Resources Control Board warns that water use is ticking up. April was the first month of 2021 when urban suppliers distributed more water than in 2015 — with an estimated 152 billion gallons compared to 149 billion gallons, said Charlotte Ely, conservation supervisor for the water board at a June water board meeting.
“Historically low winter and spring precipitation has resulted in the highest April numbers since 2015,” Ely said. “We are still well below the 2013 baseline, but the savings between 2013 and (the) present is narrowing.”
Newsom and Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot stressed that while California is no stranger to droughts, climate change is exacerbating conditions. Scorching heat is drying already parched soil and water supplies.
Water providers in Santa Clara and Marin counties welcomed Newsom’s decision.
The declaration “ensures that state agencies are empowered to facilitate critical water transfers and exchanges necessary to continue a reliable water supply for the 2 million people and thousands of Silicon Valley businesses in Santa Clara County,” Tony Estremera, board chair for Valley Water, said in a statement.
Jeanne Mariani-Belding, a spokesperson for Marin County’s largest water provider Marin Water, said “this is a historic drought and it will take all of us working together, and conserving as much water as possible, to get through it.”