California governor declares historic drought over — for now
California governor declares historic drought over — for now.
Thirsty California lawns faded to brown from a lack of water in four extraordinarily dry years have revived to bright green in neighborhoods across the state.
Dry riverbeds of sand and tumbleweeds that snake their way through farmers’ fields now charge with water swelling up their banks.
The turnaround has been stark.
California uses more water each year than nature makes available, and one wet winter won’t change the long-term outlook, environmentalists cautioned.
Brown declared the emergency in 2014, and officials later ordered mandatory conservation for the first time in state history.
Even now, the governor has kept the drought emergency in place for four counties, most of them at the state’s farming heartland, where emergency drinking water projects will continue to help address diminished groundwater supplies.
In the inland region of Southern California east of Los Angeles, streams and groundwater basins are still at historically low levels, and rainfall has been below average for nearly two decades.
Water conservation will become a way of life in the state, said Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board, who led conservation planning.
Even Brown was circumspect in his dramatic announcement: "This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner."