California governor declares drought emergency for entire state
Why it matters: "California is experiencing its worst drought since the late 1800s, as measured by both lack of precipitation and high temperatures," per a statement from the governor's office. This past August was the driest and hottest one on record, "and the water year that ended last month was the second driest on record," the statement added.
- Nearly 88% of California and much of the American West are experiencing an "extreme" or "exceptional" drought, per the U.S. Drought Monitor.
- "By the end of September, statewide reservoir storage had hit 60% of average, with Lake Oroville setting a new record low," notes the nonprofit CalMatters.
Of note: Newsom's new proclamation enables the State Water Resources Control Board to ban wasteful water practices, including the use of potable water for washing sidewalks and driveways.
What he's saying: "As the Western U.S. faces a potential third year of drought, it's critical that Californians across the state redouble our efforts to save water in every way possible," Newsom said in a statement.
The big picture: In April, Newsom declared an emergency executive order for two California counties due to drought. By May, he extended it to cover 41 counties. Now, all of the state's 58 counties are covered by the declaration.
- In July, the governor asked state residents to voluntarily reduce household water usage by 15% as drought conditions worsened. State Water Resources Control Board data released Tuesday showed there was a 5% reduction in urban water use compared to 2020, per the governor's office.
- Studies show human-caused climate change is driving an increase in the likelihood and severity of droughts and heat waves and, consequently, wildfires, per Axios' Andrew Freedman.
By the numbers: Firefighters have battled more than 8,000 fires that have razed nearly 2.5 million acres of land, Cal Fire data shows.
- These include eight large fires now burning in the state, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
Go deeper: California's nightmare summer
Editor's note: This article has been updated with further context on climate change's role in the extreme weather and fire conditions.