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Drought emergency declared in California by Governor Brown

Governor Brown of California announces emergency drought in state
Governor Brown of California announces emergency drought in state
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

With a lack of rainfall not seen in over a hundred years, and uncontained raging fires burning in Los Angeles county, Governor Jerry Brown declared California to be in an official state of emergency drought.

The governor made the announcement in San Francisco today and asked all Californians for a voluntary "20% conservation of our water use" statewide.

Farmers and activists have been asking for the emergency proclamation after an extremely dry winter brought county reservoirs to critically low points. According to the California Department of Water Resources, California lakes and reservoirs are at less than 40 percent capacity as of December 31, 2013.

California had its driest year on record in 2013, according to statistics from the National Weather Service (NWS). Among the cities shattering their previous record dry year in 2013 were San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Fresno.

A 2,000 acre region in the Central Valley of California, long known as the nations "food basket", produces almost half the fruits, vegetables and nuts on America’s tables. With food shortages and water shortages in the near future, consumers from around the nation will be affected by higher food prices and shortages as California struggles to deal with a lack of rain.

“We’re in the middle of what potentially is looking like a huge catastrophe,” said Ryan Jacobsen, chief executive of the Fresno County Farm Bureau. “We’re looking at some very harsh realities, as far as water allocations.”

Governor Brown stated today that this is, "Perhaps the worst drought that California has ever seen since records began about 100 years ago."

Extreme weather, droughts and fires have been on the rise as climate change continues to cause weather and climate anomalies around the globe. Just in 2011 and 2012 alone, the United States experienced 25 floods, storms, droughts, heat waves, and wildfires that each caused at least $1 billion in damages. Combined, extreme weather events were responsible for 1,107 fatalities and up to $188 billion in economic damages.

In 2013 over 880 extreme weather events cost about $125 billion.

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