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Gov. Newsom Declares Drought Emergency In 9 Additional Counties; Asks For 15% Water Cutbacks

SAN LUIS OBISPO (CBS SF) -- California Governor Gavin Newsom Thursday declared a state of emergency in nine additional counties because of the extreme drought gripping most of the state, and urged citizens and businesses to voluntarily cut water use.

Among the counties falling under the emergency order are Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo, where Newsom made the announcement in front of a drying Lopez Lake Thursday.

"We have conservation as a way of life as it relates to more effective use and utilization and distribution of water resources, said Newsom. "However, conditions are such they continue to devolve and as a consequence today, we are doing what we had signaled what was likely to happen."

There are now 50 out of 58 counties, or about 42% of the state's population, under the declaration, which will allow for local water agencies and state partners to combine forces in addressing water issues in a more efficient manner, Newsom said. The order is similar to previous ones issued in April and May.

Separately, an executive order from Newsom establishes a framework to encourage voluntary water conservation throughout the state. A 15% cut in water use is being sought from residences, businesses, and agriculture, Newsom said.

The governor said he is confident that Californians would take the voluntary cutbacks to heart and do what is required to conserve water just like in past droughts.

"I want to note that we had mandatory water conservation efforts during the last drought," said Newsom. "Interestingly, per capita, we reduced water consumption by roughly 21% in this state between 2013 and 2016."

With more record temperatures forecast across California and western states, Newsom said the state is in a position to invest in addressing the state's water issues and infrastructure for future drought conditions brought about by climate change.

"Climate change is here and it's real," said Newsom. "It is climate-induced impacts with reservoirs at lows. Record-breaking temperatures. These are the effects of climate change. I have no patience for climate deniers."

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