California’s Drought is Officially Over

California no longer finds itself in a state of emergency drought, Gov. Jerry Brown has declared. The governor issued an executive order Friday lifting the emergency declaration for all California counties except for Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Tuolumne. But he stressed the need to continue conservation efforts throughout the state.

“This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner,” Brown said. “Conservation must remain a way of life.”

That means California cities and water agencies must still issue monthly reports to the California Water Resources Control Board on water use. Prohibitions on water waste such as running sprinklers during rain or hosing off sidewalks will remain in effect.

The years-long drought, first declared in 2014, hit the Golden State hard. Nevertheless, “we did remarkably well,” said Jay Lund, director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. Despite a shortage of our most precious resource, California’s economy continued to hum along. Rising nut and dairy prices kept much of the agricultural industry stable.

For all its devastation, California’s drought also left behind a positive legacy. There is now an increased focus on the importance of conservation—as evidenced by all those drought-tolerant lawns—and new regulations on groundwater use.

Read more about the end of California’s drought emergency here


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