California governor declares end to drought emergency

by Abel Hampton April 8, 2017, 1:37

Governor Jerry Brown announced today that the California drought is over and lifted the executive order throughout the state except in four counties. In July of that year, the State Water Resources Control Board implemented an intense set of restrictions on water use.

"This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner", said Gov.

Gov. Jerry Brown advocates for the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 in Riverside on April 4, 2017.

An executive order he signed Friday continued several conservation-related measures that require water-use reporting and prohibitions on water waste such as hosing off sidewalks.

The drought emergency still applies in certain California counties - Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne - "where emergency drinking water projects will continue to help address diminished groundwater supplies".

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a state-established cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving almost 19 million people in six counties.

Since 2012, Californians have suffered through a historic drought that 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). Lowering water demand in Southern California was a big reason why this region managed the drought so effectively.

The full text of today's executive order can be found here.

And it worked. California communities reduced water usage by 22% over a period of two years. 2014, 2015, and 2016 were the state's first, second, and third warmest years on record, statistics that emphasize the challenges ahead. Officials already have started charting long-term rules to make California more resilient as climate change makes weather patterns more severe.

As of Thursday, according to the federal government's Drought Monitor, almost 77 percent of California was drought-free.

As California's population grows, the most efficient way to stretch and ensure water is to conserve, Kostyrko said.

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