Justin Bullock, FISM News
California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a regional state of emergency for parts of California experiencing historically high temperatures and extreme drought. Newsom is also asking Californians to reduce their water usage by 15%, as fears of severe water shortages mount throughout the state. The 15% request amounts to a voluntary advisory at this time, but the state government will monitor the situation and may make the request mandatory if extreme water shortages continue.
The southern regions of California are currently the most impacted by the hot weather and drought. The US Drought Monitor has a map live tracking the drought conditions throughout the Western US. Over 50% of California is currently experiencing extreme drought, the second highest category of drought, and much of that area is experiencing exceptional drought, the most severe category of drought. Newsom has declared a regional state of emergency for the areas most impacted by drought which means the local and state government in those areas will be able to exercise greater powers with respect to water usage and distribution.
In many ways Newsom is caught between a rock and a hard place with this announcement as he currently faces a recall election later this year. The reaction to Newsom’s announcement reflects this dilemma, as many state officials believe that Newsom should do more but many Californians believe that Newsom’s actions are further proof of his authoritarian politics. In any case the situation is becoming increasingly grim for California and the rest of the western US, and all Americans in that area are praying for rain.