Despite heavy rainfall, natural resources secretary says Californians should still ‘plan for the worst’


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Although recent storms soaked many parts of California, the state’s natural resources secretary said it wasn’t nearly enough.

“We’re going to need several more of these record-breaking storms this winter to get back to normal and to climb out of drought,” said Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot. “Every bit of rain and snow helps, but more than ever, Californians have to step up and conserve water because we are still very much in the drought.”

Despite the recent atmospheric river, Crowfoot said the governor’s statewide emergency drought declaration is still in effect, and reducing water use is still going to be key moving through the next several months.

“It’s all systems go on drought action, including working with local communities to reduce water usage by 15% and plan for the worst, which would be a third dry water year,” Crowfoot said.

The natural resources secretary said state water officials are keeping monthly tabs on water use, with the next report set to come out within the next few weeks.

The most recent report showed Californians reduced water use by about 5% compared to the same time last year when state leaders were aiming for 15%.

Crowfoot said an easy step people can take now is to turn off outdoor irrigation systems.

“Our outdoor plants, our lawns do not need more water,” he said. “If we actually unplug or turn off our irrigation, we’ll continue to improve our water conservation number and save precious water for the coming dry period.”

FOX40’s Ashley Zavala asked Crowfoot at what point state leaders will reevaluate their drought response.

“It will be several more months of understanding how much rain and snowfalls this winter before we consider what’s next on our drought actions,” he responded.

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