Gov. Gavin Newsom at Lopez Lake
Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at receding Lopez Lake in San Luis Obispo County. Courtesy of the governor’s office

Although Southern California is not included in the state’s drought-emergency proclamation, Gov. Gavin Newsom Thursday urged residents across the state to voluntarily cut their water use by 15% amid worsening conditions across the West Coast.

He also called on businesses to slash their water use. According to the governor’s office, a 15% cut in water use would save 850,000 acre-feet of water — enough to supply more than 1.7 million households for a year.

Newsom said residents have responded to drought conditions before, and he was confident they would take steps again to ease their water use.

He urged residents to limit outdoor watering, use recycled water when possible outdoors, take shorter showers and only run dishwashers and washing machines when they are full.

Newsom added nine more counties to the state’s drought-emergency proclamation on Thursday. The move means 50 of the state’s 58 counties are covered by the proclamation, or about 42% of the overall population.

The only counties not covered by the proclamation are Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, San Bernardino, Imperial, Ventura and San Francisco.

Although Southern California is excluded from the proclamation, the general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority said residents need to do their part in reducing water use.

“While the San Diego region is thankfully drought-safe this summer due to sound planning and decades-long ratepayer investments in new water supplies and storage and adoption of water conservation as a way of life, we must also be part of the statewide movement now underway to address water supply challenges created by drought and climate change in other parts of California,” said Sandra L. Kerl.

“The water authority strongly supports the governor’s call for the public to voluntarily cutback water use by 15% in order to allow local, regional and state water agencies to plan and take the steps necessary under these changed conditions to maximize the availability of limited water supplies going forward,” she said.

City News Service contributed to this article.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.