TULARE – As California grapples with one of the most severe droughts on record, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. will join growers, equipment dealers, crop supply and service providers and other agriculture professionals tomorrow at the 47th Annual World Ag Expo in Tulare. The Governor will hold a brief media availability following a tour.
When: Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 9:15 a.m.
Where: World Ag Expo, The International Agri-Center, Media Center, 4500 South Laspina St., Tulare, CA 93274
**NOTE: The Governor’s tour and the media availability are open to credentialed media only. Reporters interested in covering the tour and the availability must meet at the Media Center by 9:15 a.m.
Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency last month and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages. Governor Brown has spoken with President Obama about crucial federal support during the ongoing drought, and the state continues to work with federal partners to ensure a coordinated drought response. The administration has also expressed support for federal legislation introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and Representatives Jim Costa, Tony Cárdenas and Sam Farr.
Across state government, action is being taken. The Department of General Services is leading water conservation efforts at state facilities, and the Department of Transportation is cutting water usage along California’s roadways by 50 percent and encouraging Californians to conserve water on its more than 700 electronic highway signs.
In January, the state took action to conserve water in numerous Northern California reservoirs to meet minimum needs for operations impacting the environment and the economy. The State Water Resources Control Board announced it would work with hydropower generators and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to preserve water in California reservoirs. Recently the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Fish and Game Commission restricted fishing on some waterways due to low water flows worsened by the drought.
The state is working to protect local communities from the dangers of extreme drought. The California Department of Public Health identified and offered assistance to communities at risk of severe drinking water shortages and is working with other state and local agencies to develop solutions for vulnerable communities. CAL FIRE hired additional firefighters and is continuously adjusting staffing throughout the state to help address the increased fire threat due to drought conditions. The California Department of Food and Agriculture launched a drought website to help farmers, ranchers and farmworkers find resources and assistance programs that may be available to them during the drought.
Even as the state deals with the immediate impacts of the drought, it’s also planning for the future. Recently, the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and CDFA released the California Water Action Plan, which will guide state efforts to enhance water supply reliability, restore damaged and destroyed ecosystems and improve the resilience of our infrastructure.
Governor Brown has called on all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20 percent, and the Save Our Water campaign launched four public service announcements encouraging residents to conserve and has resources available in Spanish. Last December, the Governor formed a Drought Task Force to review expected water allocations and California’s preparedness for water scarcity. In May 2013, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water and water rights.