Governor Gavin Newsom visited Merced County Monday as he officially declared an additional 39 counties in a drought emergency.
It comes three weeks after Newsom declared Sonoma and Mendocino counties in a drought emergency.
Newsom several recent changes, such as a lack of snowmelt and warming temperatures made the additions necessary.
"In the last few weeks, we've lost roughly 500,000 acre feet of runoff compared to what we had anticipated, which put into language that I hope people can understand is the equivalent of 1 million households receiving water for a year," Newsom said.
The move comes shortly after several counties across the Central Valley declared local emergencies because of the lack of water.
"Fresno County and other Central Valley counties led the charge in declaring a drought. It's great to see that the Governor listened and took this action today," Steve Brandau, Chairman of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors said.
Newsom spoke Monday at the San Luis Reservoir, which state officials said is sitting at less than half of capacity and just 57% of average for this time of the year.
Governor Newsom said it is a common sight at reservoirs across the state.
In addition to the declaration, Newsom proposed a $5.1 billion package for water resiliency and infrastructure.
It would roll out over four years and includes:
Newsom also proposed a $1 billion package to help people pay overdue water bills.
Since the announcement this afternoon, Westlands Water District, and both the California and Fresno County farm bureaus have responded.
All of them saying this was a necessary step, but say California still has a long way to go.
"We know whether there's a water declaration or not it's going to be a rough year for agriculture." said Ryan Jacobsen with the Fresno County Farm Bureau. "Our agriculture community have already struggled through the first year of the drought as well as Covid, and now this year it has been so dry that we're looking at some very dire circumstances for the summer that are going to be very tough to get through."
Farming officials said things are shaping up much worse than we saw in the last drought.
They said they'll work now to make the necessary preparations as we head into the summer months.
Despite the fact that Governor Newsom has declared a drought emergency across 41 of 58 counties, he said, at this point, he is not requiring Californians to conserve water.
However, he encourages people to take a look at SaveOurWater.com for tips on how to conserve where you can.