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California Mandates First-Ever Statewide Water Restrictions to Cope with Drought

"...demands unprecedented action..."

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: California Gov. Jerry Brown looks on during a news conference at Google headquarters on September 25, 2012 in Mountain View, California. California Gov. Jerry Brown signed State Senate Bill 1298 that allows driverless cars to operate on public roads for testing purposes. The bill also calls for the Department of Motor Vehicles to adopt regulations that govern licensing, bonding, testing and operation of the driverless vehicles before January 2015.Credit: Getty Images

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Wednesday announced that for the first time in history, a state-wide set of water restrictions would be imposed in order to cope with a record drought, a move that includes an order to cut water use in all cities and towns by 25 percent.

Brown's order calls for other drastic changes, such as replacing 50 million of square feet of lawn in the state with "drought tolerant landscaping," and creating a rebate program to get people to replace their older appliances with newer and more water-efficient appliances.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - SEPTEMBER 25:  California Gov. Jerry Brown looks on during a news conference at Google headquarters on September 25, 2012 in Mountain View, California. California Gov. Jerry Brown signed State Senate Bill 1298 that allows driverless cars to operate on public roads for testing purposes. The bill also calls for the Department of Motor Vehicles to adopt regulations that govern licensing, bonding, testing and operation of the driverless vehicles before January 2015.Credit: Getty Images California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) announced significant water restrictions in his state to cope with the drought. It was the first state-wide set of rules to be issued in California's history. Credit: Getty Images

The order also calls on golf courses, cemeteries, college campuses and others with "large landscapes" to reduce water usage. Brown said these and other changes are needed to cope with record drought in California, which is due in large part from the lowest snowpack ever seen in the state.

"Today we are standing on dry grass where there should be five feet of snow," Brown said. "This historic drought demands unprecedented action. Therefore, I'm issuing an executive order mandating substantial water reductions across our state. As Californians, we must pull together and save water in every way possible."

Brown said California has already been coping with the drought for more than two years, and noted that a state of emergency was declared in 2014.

"The state has taken steps to make sure that water is available for human health and safety, growing food, fighting fires and protecting fish and wildlife," Brown's office said in a press release. "Millions have been spent helping thousands of California families most impacted by the drought pay their bills, put food on their tables and have water to drink."

Aside from the mandatory restrictions, Brown's order will also require local water authorities to implement "conservation pricing," which would raise the price of water as more water is used. It will also require farmers to report more about their use of water to state regulators.

Read Brown's executive order here:

One last thing…
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