California governor declares end to drought emergency

That allowed Brown to lift most stipulations of an emergency order he implemented in January 2014, about two years after the conditions crossed the line into drought.

In a related action, state agencies today issued a plan to continue to make conservation a way of life in California, as directed by Governor Brown in May 2016.

Brown, the Los Angeles Times reported, signed an executive order lifting the drought emergency in all California counties with the exceptions of Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne, where emergency drinking-water programs are to remain in force.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday declared an end to the state's drought emergency, signaling the drawback of mandatory conservation targets, while still keeping in place numerous prohibitions on wasting water.

The state's announcement also offered a sobering reminder of the effects of a drought that caused "the driest four-year statewide precipitation on record", from 2012 to 2015.

Stay with KCRA for updates. The plan requires new legislation to establish long-term water conservation measures, plus improved planning for more frequent severe droughts. However, it also keeps a focus on conservation efforts. "Careful, sparing use of water from backyards to businesses and farm fields will help us endure the next inevitable drought".

Experts say that for all the concerns, this drought ended like all the rest in California - years of dryness followed by a lot of rain. Natural Resources Defense Council senior water policy analyst Tracy Quinn argued that the near-failure of a spillway at Oroville Dam demonstrated the vulnerability of the state's water system and reinforces the need for efficiency. "And we have to be concerned about the groundwater supply", which was taxed during the drought.

Californians also responded to the drought with tremendous levels of water conservation, including a almost 25 percent average reduction in urban water use across the state. Water suppliers still must report their water use. By kicking the can down the road, state agencies have failed to heed the governor's call to find ways to conserve more water now. Many have swapped out lawns for drought-tolerant landscapes, attached low-flow shower and faucet heads and have ratted on their neighbors for running sprinklers during a rain storm or nonwatering days. Back in 2014, Governor Brown declared a drought emergency in the state.

The post California's five-year drought is over, governor declares appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

  • Wendy Palmer