County: Drought an emergency

Craig Cassidy, The Union Democrat

PUBLIC MEETING: Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors, 9 a.m. Tuesday, 2 S. Green St., Sonora

Tuolumne County leaders are preparing to declare a drought-related "state of emergency," formally acknowledging a scary water situation barely aided by this week's storms.

County staffers earlier this week prepared the draft declaration for the Board of Supervisors to consider at its upcoming Tuesday meeting.

The declaration is partly symbolic - "reinforcing the severity of our situation" - but also could lead to very tangible state and federal assistance.

When the county last declared a state of emergency, during the summer's massive Rim Fire, as yet untallied millions of dollars in federal and state money and resources were routed this county's way - including more than $1 million to replace the burned Hardin Flat bridge. The county's share of the $1.7 million project was just $125,000.

The county also has gotten partial reimbursement for law enforcement and firefighter hours dedicated to the fire.

In the current drought situation, a local emergency declaration could avail the county and residents to state and federal assistance, like help drilling new or deeper wells, shipments of water, and staffing.

The Union Democrat
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