On Friday, April 7, 2017, Governor Edmund G. Brown issued an executive order ending the drought emergency in all but a few California counties. This came about 27 months after he declared a state of drought emergency for California on January 17, 2014. At that point, the state was headed into its fourth straight year of drought. Private wells were drying up, trees were dying, as was ground water. It was going to take the combined efforts of all Californians to change the way we behaved to save our water, and make sure we had enough for tomorrow. It was also going to take an unprecedented level of cooperation and leadership from local, state, federal, private and non-governmental agencies to respond effectively to the mounting problems resulting from the drought, and change the direction California was heading.
A small team from the Cal OES Office of Public Information made it their mission to document various moments and milestones of the state’s efforts to respond to, and recover from, the ongoing drought with video, photographs and interviews. From private meetings to public events, on the ground and in the air, and in interviews with the state’s top leaders in the drought response effort, the visual elements combine to form this documentary, giving viewers access like they’ve never had before to better understand the immense weight that rested upon the shoulders of decision makers. That documentary, State of Urgency: Managing California’s Historical Drought, launched today.