Gov. Jerry Brown issues new executive order on drought

Cupertino reservoir
Gov. Jerry Brown ordered on Friday new steps to combat drought conditions across California. This photo shows cracks in the dry bed of the Stevens Creek Reservoir in Cupertino in March.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

SACRAMENTO -- With every part of California suffering from the drought, Gov. Jerry Brown issued a new executive order on Friday in an attempt to provide some relief from the persistent dry conditions across the state.

Brown’s actions run the gamut from suspending some environmental regulations to asking restaurants to stop serving diners water unless they ask for it. He also ordered homeowners associations to stop fining residents for failing to water their lawns.

During a speech at an environmental sustainability conference in Brentwood, Brown said he was calling on all Californians and municipal water agencies “to do everything humanly possible to conserve.”

“Our fire seasons are longer, and the dry season is upon us, so we have to take renewed vigilance,” he said.


In his executive order, Brown also allowed CalFire to suspend competitive bidding when purchasing new equipment, which could help officials acquire critical tools more quickly but also raise the cost of fighting fires.

Other parts of the order simply renew steps Brown has already taken such as instructing state officials to expedite voluntary water transfers.

Steve Fleischli, water program director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, expressed concern about Brown’s decision to suspend some environmental rules. 

“They need to be very cautious there,” he said. “They need to show they’re responsible stewards of the environment with those provisions.”



California declares drought emergency

Severe drought? California has been here before

Drought covers 100% of California for first time in 15 years
Twitter: @chrismegerian

Times staff writers Michael Finnegan and Julie Cart contributed to this report.