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Butte County declares local drought emergency

The declaration comes as an effort for the county to receive state and federal funding for water resources.

Posted: Jul 21, 2021 6:30 PM
Updated: Jul 21, 2021 6:45 PM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - The Butte County Board of Supervisors unanimously declared a local drought emergency for the county at Tuesday’s meeting.

The Butte County Drought Task Force came before the board asking them to make this declaration.

The group is seeing wells run dry sooner than usual, and this declaration will allow them to get to work on creating things like filling stations.

"We haven't seen a drought like this in many years and we need to do everything we can at this stage to be prepared for the months to come,” District 3 Supervisor Tami Ritter said.

It means that the county will be able to apply for state and federal funding to help with water resources.

"Possibly with more and more counties proclaiming we will hopefully get the state to open up and maybe offer some reimbursements for costs associated with this,” Butte County Emergency Services Officer Cindi Dunsmoor said.

Gail Ross lives in Chico and is growing concerned about the drought as she knows how essential water is to this community.

"We're an agricultural area and they are using so much water to fight the fires,” said Ross. “People aren't conserving."

Things seem to be getting drier and drier, with no rain in sight.

"Everybody's using more than they are supposed to and what are we going to do without water? Water is an essential for life,” said Ross. “It's extremely scary."

The county's declaration does not make any direct changes to water rules, but that does not mean that it is not a bad idea to start conserving in little ways.

"In the governor's proclamation he asked people try to make the 15% cut,” Dunsmoor said. “This proclamation from the county does not put any water restrictions."

In the meantime, Ross is trying to conserve as much as she can.

"When I take a shower it's like on a boat,” Ross said. “Wipe down, turn it off, soap down, rinse it off. We all have to do our part."
She believes it will take the whole community to make a difference.

"We need to conserve water anyway you can think of,” Ross told Action News Now.

If your well is running dry, the county is urging people to report it to the state. You can find out how to do this here.

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The weather will be pulling a 180 as we head into the evening hours and kick off our work week. A north wind will be taking hold, bringing gusty conditions and increased fire danger to the valley, foothills, and the Sierra Mountains. Gusts between 25-35mph are possible from late this evening through Monday night for the valley while the foothills and the Sierra will continue to see the windy conditions through Tuesday morning. This has prompted a Red Flag Warning for the Valley 11pm tonight through 8pm Monday while the Sierra and Foothills will last through Tuesday morning.
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