Calif. Governor Declares Drought
LGBTs will likely see signs urging water conservation in area gyms and sex clubs in the wake of California Governor Jerry Brown declaring a drought state of emergency.
With the state facing water shortfalls in the driest year in recorded state history, Brown held a news conference in San Francisco to make the official declaration and to urge all citizens to voluntarily conserve 20 percent of their water use.
Brown said he was asking all state residents to help, whether they live in rural or urban areas.
"Hopefully it will rain eventually but we have to do our part," Brown said at the packed January 17 news conference at his office in the State Building.
The governor said the conservation effort was voluntary, for now, but that the state’s millions of residents would be affected.
"From the Mexican border to the Oregon border there are a lot of consumers and a lot of lawns," the governor said.
"It’s important to awaken all Californians to the serious matter of drought and the lack of rain," he added.
According to Brown’s declaration, the state’s water supplies have dipped to alarming levels. Snowpack in the mountains, a leading indicator of drought conditions, is approximately 20 percent of the normal average for this time of year. Additionally, the state’s largest reservoirs have very low water levels for this time of year and the major river systems, including the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, have significantly reduced water flows.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, much of the state, including the Bay Area, is in "extreme" drought conditions.
In recent weeks, weather forecasters have blamed the lack of precipitation on a high pressure ridge off the coast. Forecasting models show little in the way of winter storms on the horizon.
Area political leaders said they were glad the governor issued the declaration.
State Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) pointed out that there are many simple ways to conserve water. Fixing leaky fixtures and appliances, installing water-saving showerheads and taking shorter showers, and only using the dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load are among suggestions he listed in a news release.
Water conservation is already on the mind of at least one San Francisco business catering to gay men. At Eros, co-owner Ken Rowe told the Bay Area Reporter that the sex club is already conserving water.
"We have low-flow shower heads and will be putting up more signage in the shower rooms," Rowe said. "We’ve done this before during dry years but will especially now with the governor’s declaration."
Other businesses that use a lot of water are also doing their part.
Todd Ahlberg, co-owner of Mudpuppy’s Tub and Scrub, which has a location in the Castro, said they have been water-conscious since opening their first location at Point Isabel in the East bay 15 years ago.
"Over that time, we’ve been through a few droughts," Ahlberg said in an email.