California Governor Gavin Newsom knows that with the recall election approaching he probably shouldn’t do anything that would cast him in a negative light. But the current drought is drying up the water supply and hard decisions need to be made.
So instead of enforcing water mandates, he is urging people to cut back on their water usage. On a voluntary basis, of course.
“We’re hopeful that people will take that mindset they brought into the last drought and extend that forward with a 15% voluntary reduction, not only on residences but industrial commercial operations and agricultural operations,” Newsom said in a news conference, according to The Los Angeles Times.
He suggested watering the lawn less, taking shorter showers and fixing leaks. “We’re not trying to be oppressive,” Newsom stressed, The Times reported. “Again, these are voluntary standards.”
“This is jaw-dropping, what’s happening in the West Coast of the United States,” Newsom said Thursday at Lopez Lake, a reservoir in San Luis Obispo County formed by a dam on the Arroyo Grande Creek that is at 34% capacity.
With his recall election just weeks away, the governor has so far avoided mandating water limitations.
The Sept. 14 recall became official earlier this summer after elections officials confirmed the required number of signatures on the recall petition.
Newsom would be recalled if more than 50% of voters casting ballots in the fall say they’d like him replaced and the challenger with the most votes would take over as governor.
The recall was prompted by Republicans and other critics of Newsom’s pandemic restrictions and will be the second in the state’s history following 2003 when former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected.
The historic drought is gripping the western United States comes five years after California declared its last dry spell which exhausted groundwater supplies and changed how people use water, with many people and businesses replacing certain landscaping with more drought-tolerant plants.