Historic California drought over for now, governor says
Historic California drought over for now, governor says.
FRESNO, Calif. — 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.
After years of brown fields and cracked earth, monster storms blanketed California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains this winter with deep snow that flows into the network of rivers and streams that supply much of the state’s water.
California uses more water each year than nature makes available, and one wet winter won’t change the long-term outlook, environmentalists cautioned.
“Water may appear to be in abundance right now,” said Kate Poole, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
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.
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.