Oregon state agencies will have to limit water use on lands and at facilities they manage under an executive order issued by the governor Wednesday.
Gov. Kate Brown is directing state agencies to refrain from watering lawns, washing windows and running fountains at state office buildings and other facilities. The governor’s order also imposes a moratorium on the installation of new “non-essential” landscaping at those facilities.
Brown’s directive comes amid a punishing drought that’s reached every corner of the state.
“Many state agencies already have taken steps to improve the sustainability of their operations, including actions to reduce water usage,” Brown said in a press statement.
“Through this Executive Order, state government can respond to this growing crisis, lead by example, and show Oregonians that drought is a serious issue — but one that can be managed if we all work together.”
The governor has declared drought emergencies in 19 counties as of Wednesday.
Several local governments in Oregon, including the city of Bend, have urged residents to take steps to conserve water by limiting outdoor use. The city has said voluntary water use reductions now could reduce mandatory restrictions later.
Outdoor water use accounts for almost a third of daily residential water use nationwide, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that number is higher in hot, dry regions, especially during the summer.
Nearly 80% of consumptive water use in the U.S. is for farming, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.