BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA.com) — California’s ongoing drought is forcing Governor Jerry Brown to consider drastic measures.
The governor revealed Wednesday he’s prepared to move water from Southern California to drier areas of the state as conditions worsen.
Speaking exclusively to KCAL9 political reporter Dave Bryan outside an engagement in Beverly Hills, Brown said it could be necessary to implement drastic measures to alleviate communities at risk of running out of water.
“Make no mistake, this is a mega-drought. It’s serious. We don’t know how long it will go on, but we have to take real precautions going forward,” he said.
Brown also discussed a conversation he had with President Obama about getting federal assistance on Wednesday – a day when 17 water agencies across California are in danger of running out of water altogether in the next 60 to 100 days.
“The president called me today. He offered to do whatever he can do. He obviously can’t make it rain,” he said. “But there are some parts of California that are more privileged from the point of view of water availability than others. So we have systems. We can transfer it. But there are a lot of water rights, a lot of rules, so we’ve got to cut through that and make sure that those who need it most get the water to the extent we have it available.”
The White House put out a press release about the phone call to Brown from President Obama, in which the president “reinforced his commitment to providing the necessary federal support to the state and local efforts.”
Although the governor did not discuss the logistical details about the water transfers, he expressed a sense of urgency in getting it done.
“I’m meeting with some water officials tomorrow. I’ll be going to Sacramento and meeting with officials there. So as quickly as we can we will make it happen,” he said.
As the drought crisis seemingly grows worse by the hour, the political news for Brown meanwhile appears to get better and better.
His job approval rating among likely voters in a new poll by the Public Policy Institute has now reached 60 percent.
Some republicans believe it’s because Brown has stolen their thunder on budget issues
“He’s benefiting from the fact that while he is a registered democrat, all of his rhetoric lately has been republican. He has been Mr. ‘No New Taxes’, albeit he has signed a lot of taxes, but he’s creating a situation where he’s giving republicans as well as democrats a reason to like him,” Jon Fleischman, Founder and Publisher of Flashreport.org, said.
Now many political analysts, like Cal State L.A. professor emeritus Jaime Regalado, believe Brown is a shoe-in for a second term if he wants it.
“I think what they [voters] really like… he seems to be the steady, mature hand in the state. And they’ll reward him because of that,” Regalado said.
State agencies are taking action this week on the drought.
CalFire has hired 125 additional firefighters to deal with the problem of wildfires spreading.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife has also banned fishing now in some low water rivers and streams to protect the native fish in the area.
Gov. Brown echoed his thoughts on the severe drought with Southland water leaders in a closed-door meeting Thursday morning in Los Angeles.