MONTEREY COUNTY — California Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded his prior drought emergency proclamation to an additional nine counties on July 7, including Monterey County.

Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Salinas), who oversees Monterey County in his district along with Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties, urged residents to conserve water.

“Our community is facing a water emergency,” Rivas said. “As an agricultural region, our businesses and residents are especially reliant on this essential resource to survive.”

The governor’s proclamation was coupled with a call for all Californians to voluntarily reduce water usage by 15%. According to federal drought tracking, Monterey County is included in an area experiencing “extreme” drought conditions.

“I applaud the governor for taking decisive action and extending the emergency proclamation to our area,” Rivas said. “Now local and state agencies in our community can take immediate, elevated action to bolster drought resilience and conserve water. But the government won’t solve this problem for us — we all must do our part. Every individual’s actions to save water now will help us build water resiliency for future generations.”

Tips on saving water can be found at and include such ideas as fixing leaky pipes, filling bathtubs to lower capacity, installing faucet aerators, taking five-minute showers, recycling indoor water to use in the garden and turning off water when brushing teeth or shaving.

Included in Newsom’s executive order were running dishwashers and washing machines only when full, reducing water used on landscapes, taking cars to car washes that use recycled water, using water-efficient showerheads and using shut-off nozzles on hoses.

In April, Rivas joined a bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators requesting the governor to declare a statewide drought emergency declaration and otherwise provide needed relief to farmers.

AB 271, currently awaiting the governor’s signature, would safeguard local water supply by helping ensure the timely, expert completion of the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project in Santa Clara County.

AB 252, currently in the State Senate, would create a pilot program to support repurposing fallowed agricultural land for less water-intensive uses.

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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