April 2, 2015

California Governor Orders Unprecedented Statewide Water Restrictions Due To Historically Low Snowpack

Statement By Adrienne Alvord, California And Western States Director, Union Of Concerned Scientists

OAKLAND, CALIF. (April 1, 2015) – California Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order today mandating 25 percent water reductions across the state. The order, the first ever in California history, followed news that the snowpack—vital to the state’s water supply—has hit a record low in the fourth year of drought.

Below is a statement by Adrienne Alvord, California and Western States Director at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

“The Union of Concerned Scientists strongly endorses Governor Brown's statewide mandatory water reductions that put proper emphasis on conservation measures and the strict enforcement of existing laws. These measures are much needed and we hope that Californians will take to heart the seriousness of this water crisis and do all we can to use less water.

“UCS is especially pleased to see that the governor is requiring water agencies to share groundwater data as required by law, and to share water use data with state regulators.  We know that in order to address the drought effectively we need much better information both on how much water we are using and at what rate. This is a critical requirement that we need to make permanent, since we know that you can't manage what you don't measure.

“While the Governor's water reduction actions are crucial, and even more may be necessary if the drought continues, it is also important for Californians to keep in mind that in a warming climate we are entering a new era, and water managers and state planners need to incorporate future projections into their scenarios. 

“As we have previously highlighted, there are "climate-water disconnects” that waste precious water resources and taxpayer money. UCS believes the state needs to focus on modernizing our water management system to ensure that we are climate-resilient. We can no longer rely on the past as a guide to our management protocols.  We need to use the best available science to help manage a situation that will be changing for decades to come.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.