Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for California as 2014 is en route to becoming the state’s driest year on record.
Water levels in the state have dipped to “alarming levels,” Brown said in a statement Friday, indicated by 80 percent lower than average snow levels in California’s mountains, as well as record low water levels in rivers and reservoirs.
“We can’t make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens,” Brown said in a press statement. “I’ve declared this emergency and I’m calling all Californians to conserve water in every way possible.”
The drought threatens to drastically reduce water supplies for local farms and communities, and increase fires in both urban and rural areas, Brown said.
Under the governor’s emergency proclamation, state officials are required to implement a statewide water conservation campaign to encourage individuals to cut their daily water use by 20 percent.
The proclamation gives state officials power to expedite water transfer applications and implement local water shortage contingency plans, among other things.
California has experienced significantly dry conditions since 2012, and scientists project they may continue regularly in the future, according to the statement.
On Thursday, UCLA released a a Water Action Plan outlining a slew of measures to bring the school’s per capita water consumption down 20 percent from baseline levels by 2020. This means a reduction from 17,084 gallons of water per person per year to 13,667 gallons per person.
Last year, water consumption was at 15,543, 9 percent below baseline levels and almost halfway toward reaching the 2020 target.
Plans in the works include a satellite waste water treatment plant at UCLA, a cogeneration water recycling plant and the installation of artificial turf on the intramural field.
“UCLA has been aware for years that our water supply is decreasing, and the initiatives in the water action plan are going to take our water conservation efforts to the next level,” said Nurit Katz, chief sustainability officer at UCLA.
With a population of close to 70,000 individuals, 12,000 of whom live on campus, Katz said students and staff should also conserve water in their daily lives.
“These actions may seem small, but with 70,000 people on campus, they add up to a lot,” Katz said.
Compiled by Emily Liu, Bruin contributor.