July 8 (UPI) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday asked residents to voluntarily cut water usage by 15% amid record temperatures and a drought in the state.
Newsom added nine more counties to the state’s drought emergency declaration, which now covers 50 of California’s 58 counties, adding that the water conservation request was not mandatory.
“The hots are getting hotter and the dries are getting drier — that is the reality of climate change,” Newsom’s office said.
The governor suggested Californians cut water usage by taking shorter showers, only running appliances such as the dishwasher and washing machine when they are full, limiting outdoor water use and using recycled water for outdoor projects.
He added that reducing water usage by 15% would save 850,000 acre-feet of water, enough to supply over 1.7 million households for one year.
“During the last drought, we made water conservation a way of life and we can do it again,” the governor said.
Last month, Santa Clara County mandated water restrictions and turned to “purchasing emergency water” from neighbors.
President Joe Biden also pledged $50 billion to combat wildfires in the Western United States, as California’s wildfire season began early and was forecast to be more severe than the previous year.