Gov. Jerry Brown formally proclaimed California in a drought Friday, saying the state is in the midst of perhaps the worst dry spell it has seen in a century, and the conditions are putting residents and their property in "extreme peril."
Brown made the announcement in San Francisco amid increasing pressure in recent weeks from the state's lawmakers, including Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
The proclamation allows California to request a broad emergency declaration from President Barack Obama, which would expedite some water transfers, provide financial assistance and suspend some state and federal regulations.
"Today, I'm declaring a drought emergency in the state of California because we're facing perhaps the worst drought California has ever seen since records began being kept 100 years ago," Brown said.
The drought and water shortage are creating "conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property" in the state, the proclamation said. For example, some cities are in danger of running out of water, and people in farming communities that will not be able to find work will need assistance getting food.