After a long stretch of drought in 2020 and 2021 followed by a surge in rainfall in early 2023, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order on Feb. 13, 2023 to protect the state’s water supplies from the impacts of extreme weather.
In this executive order, Newsom calls for a need to adapt to the sequence of the dry and wet cycles that are becoming more common and creating a revolving situation of inefficient water utilization: “California must adapt to a hotter, drier future in which a greater share of rain and snowfall during the wetter months will be absorbed by dry soils, consumed by plants, and evaporated into the air, leaving less water for communities, species, and agriculture.”
Newsom acknowledges the work that the agricultural community has done to use water efficiently: “Californians continue to make progress conserving water, with urban water users conserving 17.1 percent statewide in December 2022 compared to December 2020 and agricultural producers continuing to invest in more efficient irrigation.”
The executive order focuses on replenishing groundwater reserves with storm water runoff by expediting permitting of recharge projects. However, the restriction on new well permits and modifications to current wells that would increase the amount of water that has been taken in the past will continue.
The Governor wants conservation measures to continue but also allows the State Water Board to consider modifying requirements for reservoir releases or diversion limitations to maximize water supplies north and south of the Delta while protecting the environment.
This Executive Order also modifies May 10, 2021 and July 8, 2021 Proclamations as well as Executive Order N-7-22.
Click here to read Newsom’s full executive order.
May 10, 2021 – Governor Newsom Expands Drought Emergency to Klamath River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Tulare Lake Watershed Counties
July 8, 2021 – As Drought Conditions Intensify, Governor Newsom Calls on Californians to Take Simple Actions to Conserve Water
March 28, 2022 – Executive Order N-7-22