California governor declares historic drought over _ for now

In a statement, the Democratic Brown said, "This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner". Brown's announcement does away with his 2014 drought emergency order that set in place strict water use guidelines that were unprecedented in the state's history. Nisei Farmers League President Manuel Cunha says local farmers have conserved enough water. Following a series of powerful storms fed by subtropical moisture that began near the end of December and continued on into February, even Digital Journal was asking, "Does this mean the drought is over?"

Marcus goes on to say, "There's a societal change in our attitudes - not just about watering use but what makes for a handsome outdoor ornamental landscape that's part and parcel of a major mind-set shift for many Californians", Marcus said.

Cities and water districts throughout the state will be required to continue reporting their water use each month, said the governor's order, which also bans wasteful practices, such as hosing off sidewalks and running sprinklers when it rains.

California also enacted the historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, took action to improve measurement and management of water, retrofitted tens of thousands of inefficient toilets, replaced lawns with water-wise landscaping and provided safe drinking water to impacted communities.

The end of the state drought emergency was issued for all but four Central California counties who still feel the serious effects of water shortage: Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne. She added that the water content in the snow is 76 inches, compared to 36 inches typically recorded at this time of year.

"Most water suppliers have exceeded that amount". "We will continue exploring and developing water resources that prepare the region for the future water challenges created by inevitable drought and climate change".

"We knew this day would come, but we wanted to make sure we got it right", said Felicia Marcus with the State Water Resources Control Board.

He also made it clear that the need for conservation is not going away.

"We're looking at millions (of dollars from the state) when you factor in the cost of all the labor, materials and water deliveries", Billigmeier said. "Efficiency is the cheapest and smartest way to extend our water resources".

Although the severely dry conditions that afflicted much of the state starting in the winter of 2011-12 are gone, damage from the drought will linger for years in many areas.

Still, lifting the emergency drought order is a largely symbolic measure that doesn't remove most of the restrictions.

The drought that spanned water years 2012 through 2016 included the driest four-year statewide precipitation on record (2012-2015) and the smallest Sierra-Cascades snowpack on record (2015, with 5 percent of average). As of last week, the snowpack stood at 150 percent of normal.

  • Zachary Reyes