By Matt Weiser
mweiser@sacbee.com
Published: Friday, Apr. 25, 2014 – 2:32 pm
Last Modified: Friday, Apr. 25, 2014 – 3:25 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed a sweeping new emergency drought proclamation, cutting red tape for a variety of government functions to help water agencies find new supplies, and to press the public to use water carefully.

“I call on every city, every community, every Californian to conserve water in every way possible,” Brown said in a statement.

The governor first proclaimed a drought emergency Jan. 17. This second proclamation goes further by waiving compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act and the state water code for a number of actions, including water transfers, wastewater treatment projects, habitat improvements for winter-run Chinook salmon imperiled by the drought and curtailment of water rights.

The order also suspends competitive bidding requirements for drought-related projects undertaken by a number of state agencies, including the departments of Water Resources, Fish and Wildlife, and Public Health.

Water agencies and some environmental groups praised the order, saying it strikes a proper balance between emergency response and environmental protection.

Others said it goes too far.

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