Jerry Brown Declares An End To California’s ‘Unending’ Drought
Jerry Brown ended the state of emergency drought order for most of the state, signaling an end to the four-year drought some in the media claimed would be “unending” and “probably forever.” Brown rescinded the state of emergency order Friday, but kept some water conservation measures in place to keep residents from returning to “wasteful” habits, like watering their lawn while it’s raining.
California saw its three warmest years on record (2014, 2015 and 2016) during that time and the Sierra-Cascades mountains saw their lowest snowpack on record, about 5 percent of normal.
News outlets amplified those claims in 2016, running with headlines about permanent drought.
Wired reported that same month: “Thanks El Niño, But California’s Drought Is Probably Forever.” To be fair, more than 90 percent of California was mired in varying levels of drought around that time, with more than 55 percent in extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Flash forward one year and only about 9 percent of the state is in drought.
A few more weeks with rain and snow filled eight of 10 major state reservoirs to well above average.
Unfortunately, rainfall in early February brought so much water, the Oroville Dam’s spillway collapsed, which in turn, nearly caused the emergency spillway to break apart.
The disaster highlighted the need to upkeep California’s critical water infrastructure.
More recently, California went through a major drought in the 1970s and Brown — the very same — imposed emergency measures then as well.