California governor declares end to drought emergency

Cornelia Mascio
Aprile 8, 2017

Governor Jerry Brown announced today that the California drought is over and lifted the executive order throughout the state except in four counties.

Tuolumne, Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties are still considered under a state of emergency due to continued problems with diminished groundwater supplies. "Careful, sparing use of water from backyards to businesses and farm fields will help us endure the next inevitable drought".

"This drought ... won't be our last or our longest in the years to come", Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, said at a news conference Friday. They add up to a water shortage.

Asking water districts to report data electronically in the same format is a critically important change that can only further our understanding of how agriculture uses water.

"This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner", he said. Jerry Brown declared California's five-year drought is over. So, while reservoirs around most of the state are brimming, bans against hosing down driveways and sidewalks, irrigating landscaping within 48 hours of rainfall and other water-waste prohibitions will remain in effect.

For the winter months measured as December, January and February by meteorologists, California had its second wettest winter on record.

State agencies also issued a plan to make conservation a way of life in California. Historically, California's severe, multi-year droughts have ended when statewide precipitation is about 150 percent of average. California's urban regions' conservation of water during the drought has prolonged its ability to sustain the state during the hotter, drier seasons.Without the notion of a state of emergency, many California citizens will become complacent and revert to a wasteful lifestyle of water consumption, unaware that the drought is very much still active.

Officials with the Coachella Valley Water District support the actions taken to lift the state's drought emergency as well, while shifting the focus to long-term conservation and improved planning for future droughts.

California American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), provides high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to more than 660,000 people.

But what's really disturbing is that most of this year's water - billions of gallons of it - is flowing into the ocean because California hasn't gotten around to building enough capacity to store it. The state will also continue fighting the bark beetle outbreak that has killed millions of trees weakened by drought. Despite the end of the emergency, California will maintain several water restrictions of the past two years. Experts said the naturally occurring cyanobacterium blossomed because nutrients that built up during the drought were washed off hills when rains finally arrived.

During the five-year drought that began in 2011, the state experienced the driest four-year period in state history, the warmest three years and the smallest Sierra snowpack in state history.

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