Governor Jerry Brown has issued another executive order aimed at easing impacts of the drought, in part by suspending portions of the California Environmental Quality Act for the remainder of this year.
Warning that the driest months are yet to come, Brown says the purpose of his order is to “redouble” the state’s efforts at ameliorating the drought’s effects. It contains 20 provisions. Some are aimed at agricultural users, cutting “red tape” related to water transfers and incentivizing water efficient irrigation systems. Others aim to promote conservation of water while protecting endangered species.
One provision requires state water officials to report back to the public by the end of November about groundwater shortages in basins around the state. Another, in response to reported fines levied by homeowners’ associations against those who decline to water in accordance with drought directives, aims to void that part of a homeowners association agreement enabling fines, in contravention of public policy goals.
In addition, parts of the governor’s order direct state agencies to help homeowners and others prepare against fire risk during what will likely be a dry peak fire season this summer.
While the governor’s order includes language about what private water users “should” do, no part of the declaration imposes mandatory restrictions.